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Zimbabwe’s VP estranged wife to be tested for mental health before trial

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Zimbabwean Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife, Marry Mubaiwa, has been sent to remand prison for 10 days to allow state doctors to determine if she is mentally fit to stand trial.

Mubaiwa, 40, a former model, is facing charges of violating the Marriages Act by fraudulently obtaining a marriage certificate without Chiwenga’s consent in 2019 when the vice-president was ill in a South African hospital. She is also facing criminal charges for, among other things, attempting to kill Chiwenga while he was in the hospital.

Two doctors who had previously examined Mubaiwa gave conflicting opinions on her mental state.

Dr Fungisai Mazhandu, a psychiatrist at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, told the court that Mubaiwa was suffering from depression and anxiety, rendering her unfit to stand trial. But another medical practitioner, Dr Charles Nyamukachi, head physician at the same hospital, told the court that Mubaiwa was physically fit to stand trial.

Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube ordered Mubaiwa’s continued detention after the conflicting evidence on her health status.

“A report by a psychiatrist indicated that the accused has a mental disorder. The trial cannot, therefore, proceed at this stage in light of the evidence that this court has been furnished with that the accused has a mental disorder. This matter will therefore be postponed,” ruled Ncube.

“The court will direct that two medical practitioners should examine the accused and inquire into her mental state. For the purpose of that medical examination, the accused shall be in the custody of the officer in charge at Harare Remand Prison. The examination should be done within 10 days of this order.”

Mubaiwa, who is ill with an unspecified ailment, was previously wheeled into court on a stretcher bed, and is the middle of other court battles where she is accused of plotting to kill Chiwenga, money-laundering, fraud and assault.

Mubaiwa is expected back in court on November 26.

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