A Harare magistrate has confined recalled Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, Joanna Mamombe, to prison pending a mental evaluation.
Bianca Makwande ordered Mamombe, who claims that she was abducted and sexually abused by suspected state security agents early this year, to be evaluated by two doctors.
Mamombe was arrested when she did not appear in court last week after she was admitted to a local hospital complaining of some health issues. The warrant for her arrest was canceled when her doctor submitted evidence that she was unwell. Prosecutor Michael Reza then sought an order from the court for her mental evaluation.
Mamombe’s attorney, Alec Muchadehama, said, “What it means is that she is now a prisoner. She was on bail but now she can no longer get medical help on her own. We are taking this matter further to ensure that she is tried while on bail.”
MDC Alliance deputy national spokesperson, Clifford Hlatyayo, said, “When someone is sick he is she is supposed to be taken to hospital and not jail. This is just an indication that the courts are captured. They want to inflict pain on Mamombe and others because they want to prove a falsehood that they were not abducted.”
Mamombe and her colleagues – Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova – are accused of lying that they were abducted by suspected state security agents almost five months ago when they were protesting against lack of food for households under the country COVID-19 lockdown.
Home Affairs Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, recently claimed that three activists, who were allegedly abducted, tortured and sexually abused by suspected state security agents, submitted inconsistent statements with indications that the disappearances were stage-managed by “regime change” proponents.
Kazembe claimed that they links with people and organizations like the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who coached them to claim that they were abducted and tortured by unknown assailants.
He said, “… Needless to say, without at all preempting due process of the law, their three statements show glaring signs of rehearsal and even possible coaching which may not stand up to rigorous cross examination.”
He claimed that the three women’s injuries were not consistent with “the drama” associated with their abduction.
“There is no relationship whatsoever between the findings of the medical examination that was carried out on them by the government medical officer in the presence of two human rights doctors of their choosing on 15 May 2020 and the injuries they claim to have suffered as a result of being subjected to beatings with ‘open palms, booted feet, fists, rifle butts and other blunt objects, including being thrown out of a moving car and being cut up with broken bottles and razor blades on their backs.
“There was no evidence of any swelling, fresh lacerations, wounds or even fractures consistent with the kind of manhandling they claimed to have gone through. This being the case, it is important to advise the public that, in a bid to ascertain if there was any rape or sexual assault, samples were taken and results are pending.”
Mamombe was recently recalled from parliament by the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe.