Zim Court Orders Detention of Mamombe in Prison to Assess Mental Aptitude

Harare Magistrate Bianca Makwande, on Thursday 24 September 2020, ordered Harare West constituency legislator Hon. Joanah Mamombe to have her mental state examined by two “neutral” doctors while being detained in remand prison.

Magistrate Makwande granted the order after Prosecutor Michael Reza filed an application seeking to have Hon. Mamombe examined in accordance with provisions of the Mental Health Act, after she recently failed to appear in court to stand trial on charges of communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state.

The Magistrate said Hon. Mamombe should be placed under the supervision of the Superintendent of Harare Remand Prison while some “neutral doctors” assess her mental aptitude before her trial commences.

Hon. Mamombe who had been out of custody on bail, was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police members together with opposition MDC-Alliance party Youth Assembly leaders Cecelia Chimbiri aged 31 years and Netsai Marova aged 25 years, and charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state as defined in section 31(a)(ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state as defined in section 31(a)(iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The trio was also charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184(1)(f) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Magistrate Makwande told Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova that she vetoed their bail application after being convinced that there were compelling reasons not to admit them to bail.

Hon. Mamombe who is represented by Alec Muchadehama, Jeremiah Bamu, Roselyn Hanzi and Tinomuda Shoko of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, went missing together with Chimbiri and Marova on 13 May 2020, when they were abducted in Harare and were only found on 15 May 2020 after being dumped in Bindura in Mashonaland Central province.

The trio has already been charged with committing public violence after they were arrested on 26 May 2020 for allegedly participating in an anti-government protest against hunger during the national lockdown period as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and for contravening section 5(3) (a) as read with section 5(1) of Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 of Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)