Three High Court and Supreme Court judges yesterday dealt with three separate appeal hearings concerning Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife, Marry Mubaiwa.
The appeals were against being denied bail on an assault charge, VP Chiwenga’s appeal for a variation in bail conditions on her earlier charges and an appeal against an order granting her custody of the couple’s children.
On her appeal against the denial of bail on an assault charge, Mubaiwa will remain in custody until tomorrow when High Court Judge Justice Erica Ndewere will hear her appeal against the weekend decision by Harare regional magistrate Ms Bianca Makwande not to grant her bail.
She is being accused of assaulting the family’s maid at Hellenic School in Borrowdale following an altercation over custody of children last week.
Ms Makwande agreed with the State that Mubaiwa showed a propensity for violence.
The High Court yesterday noted that the matter was not on the roll, but deferred the hearing to allow the State to file its response.
Mubaiwa’s lawyer, Ms Beatrice Mtetwa wanted the hearing to be conducted today, but the State represented by Michael Reza was not ready.
Mr Reza sought postponement of the matter to tomorrow.
In another High Court ruling on the original bail conditions, Justice Pisirayi Kwenda yesterday upheld the appeal made by Vice President Chiwenga for variation of Mubaiwa’s bail, particularly that she lives in a different house from the VP and that she surrenders her diplomatic passport.
Justice Kwenda agreed that Mubaiwa should not return to their matrimonial Borrowdale home, which was a condition of her bail in the earlier charges, until all matters before the courts were finalised, since it would be impossible for the couple to co-exist peacefully, as VP Chiwenga is the complainant in the attempted murder case.
He said he only became aware of the effect of the bail conditions making the couple live together through the present application.
“I would not have allowed a situation where the parties live under the same roof and expect them to peacefully co-exist under one roof, especially considering that there is a pending attempted murder against the respondent,” said Justice Kwenda.
“I, therefore, find that it is in the interests of justice to vary the accused person’s residence on the two bail orders under the circumstances. Consideration must be given that the respondent cannot reside at two different addresses at the same time.”
The court then ordered Mubaiwa to reside at her parents’ home in Glen Lorne.
With consent of both parties, she will surrender her passport which was in the VP’s possession.
Vice President Chiwenga’s urgent chamber appeal hearing challenging the recent High Court decision to allow Mubaiwa to have custody of the couple’s minor children will be heard next month.
This was after both parties’ lawyers consented to have the appeal treated as urgent.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who presided over the matter sitting in his chambers, accepted the position taken by the parties’ lawyers.
“The application for the urgent hearing of the appeal in case Number SC26/2020 be and is hereby granted,” said Chief Justice Malaba.
He directed that VP Chiwenga’s lawyers file their submissions no later than 4pm on February 19 and then Mubaiwa’s lawyers respond by March 4.
Chief Justice Malaba directed that the matter will be heard any time after March 14, when Mubaiwa’s lawyer was expected back from Rwanda, where he has other commitments.
VP Chiwenga’s appeal follows Justice Christopher Dube-Banda’s ruling granting Mubaiwa the custody she sought, and restraining the VP from interfering with her access to the Borrowdale Brooke mansion.
Mubaiwa had approached the High Court seeking custody of children after VP Chiwenga allegedly took the children and barred her from accessing the matrimonial home.
But VP Chiwenga did not agree with the High Court ruling, resulting in him approaching the superior court with an urgent appeal.