The estranged wife of Zimbabwe’s vice president was on Monday wheeled into court on a stretcher bed to help back up her lawyers’ plea that she is not well enough to stand trial.
Mary Mubaiwa’s husband, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, is a retired military general who masterminded the coup that brought the late Robert Mugabe’s rule to a dramatic end in November 2017.
Reportedly critically ill with an unknown ailment, Mubaiwa was briefly hauled into a Harare magistrate’s court where her legal team argued she was not well enough to stand trial for allegedly assaulting a domestic worker.
“We were requesting that we be given a period up to January 28, 2021, to give her time to recover,” said Beatrice Mtetwa, a prominent rights lawyer in the southern African country.
Mubaiwa, 39, whose arms bore lesions and were severely swollen, could barely raise her head, according to an AFP journalist in court.
After being transferred into a wheelchair, the former model sat quietly, attached to intravenous drips and beeping monitors.
She did not look up even once during the 20-minute hearing and the gallery was tense.
Mubaiwa has had a string of prior brushes with the law.
In December, she was charged with attempting to kill Chiwenga while he was being treated in a South African hospital.
He filed for divorce later that month, but the split is not yet final.
Mubaiwa has also been charged with improperly converting Zimbabwe dollars into foreign currency, as well as money-laundering and fraud.
As her woes mounted, Mubaiwa was in June declared mentally unfit to have custody of the couple’s three minor children.
Mubaiwa, who denies all the charges, was also kicked out of her marital home after a court ruled she cannot reside under one roof with her estranged husband.
She claims the charges were fabricated and that Chiwenga, 64, brought the attempted murder charges in an attempt to force her hand in the divorce proceedings.
The magistrate’s court granted Mtetwa’s request, remanding the assault case to 28 January. AFP