MARRY Chiwenga (nee Mubaiwa)’s critical and fragile health situation as a result of lymphoedema, a chronic condition that causes swelling of body tissues and is sometimes associated with cancer treatment, has brought her estranged husband, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga under scrutiny.
While Chiwenga is in China for medical review, Marry, facing charges of money laundering, fraud and murder as well as assault linked to their acrimonious divorce, is battling in the courts to have her bail conditions varied and to secure her passport to travel to South Africa for urgent treatment
The state this week consulted officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, headed by Chiwenga, to ascertain whether Marry, whom he is accusing of attempting to kill him, really requires medical treatment outside Zimbabwe despite her visible illness.
Marry – who is visibly gravely ill – appeared at the High Court in Harare where she applied for variation of her bail condition and for her passport to be released to enable her to get urgent medical treatment in South Africa.
The state is opposing the release of her passport and says she should be treated locally. Ironically, Chiwenga is in China, receiving medical review and attention.
Prosecutor Sharon Fero, leading the state, yesterday said Marry could get help in Zimbabwe, based on an opinion from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals acting clinical director Tsitsi Magure who had been directed by the Health permanent secretary Jasper Chimedza.
However, Magure only said she would need to first assess Marry’s condition to ascertain what kind of specialist care she needed.
Meanwhile, High Court judge Benjamin Chikowero reserved judgment in the matter, saying he needed time to consider the arguments put forward before making a ruling.
Initially, Chikowero had requested for Marry to present herself in court at 2pm yesterday, only to recant on the position after the visibly ill former model struggled to walk into court. Chikowero said it was no longer necessary as he would be unable to make a determination on her condition since he is not a medical doctor.
Medical specialists in Zimbabwe and South Africa say Marry needs specialist care for lymphoedema and worsening wounds outside the country as there are no local specialists to deal with the condition. This includes specialist neurological surgeon Sydney Makarau who attended to Marry.
Lymphoedema is a chronic condition that causes that causes swelling in the body tissues. It can affect any part of the body, but usually develops in the arms or legs.
Marry’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said she should be given a fair chance to seek urgent medical help before she could face trial, just as Chiwenga who had been flown out to China for treatment many times.
“The complainant is getting medical attention in China and they should get the same opportunity to be in a good state of health to stand the rigours of trial,” said Mtetwa.
She said there was no need for a team of officials from the Health ministry to assess her condition so that they could ascertain what specialist care Marry needed as a credible specialist surgeon had already made the assessment.
“It would be scandalous that a specialist can misrepresent facts. Is the state suggesting that she (Marry) has deliberately allowed her state to worsen? When you get a Minister of Health leaving his own health facilities in Zimbabwe, it means the state has failed to provide adequate healthcare,” Mtetwa said.
The National Prosecuting Authority and the clerk of the criminal court at Rotten Row are the respondents in the matter.