HARARE – Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s ailing wife has petitioned the High Court on an urgent basis seeking the release of her passport to allow her to travel to South Africa for treatment.
A South African doctor who has been seeing Marry Mabaiwa since 2018 says the 37-year-old former model has a “severe lymphoedema” whose origin has not been determined.
Dr Sydney Makarawo, who has been treating her in Harare, said the condition happens when “lymphatic fluid” in tissues is not drained away when it builds up resulting in swelling.
“The condition leads to prolonged pain in the wound and significantly retards wound healing by interfering with inflammatory processes which are part of wound healing,” Dr Makarawo said in a note supporting Mubaiwa’s application.
He observed that Mubaiwa has “gross swelling of both hands”, “gross swelling of both feet” and “large open wounds on both arms with some degree of granulation.”
Mubaiwa, however, traces her medical troubles to a bomb explosion during a Zanu PF rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo in June 2018.
Her two passports are held by prosecutors as part of her bail conditions after she was arrested on a slew of charges last year including the attempted murder of her former army general husband, money laundering, fraud and assault.
“When I was arrested, I was undergoing treatment for wounds that I suffered in a bomb blast in Bulawayo in 2018 and treatment was undertaken by Dr Johan van Heerden,” Mubaiwa said in an affidavit.
She told the court she could not travel to South Africa after her arrest because of bail conditions adding that it also became impossible for her to travel due to travel restrictions in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“I nevertheless continued to seek treatment from local doctors but regrettably, the condition of my wounds became worse and my legs and feet continued to swell to a point where I have difficulty in walking. The wounds on my arms have become worse and in this respect I am prepared to attend court so that the court can see for itself the extent of the wounds and how I definitely require immediate and urgent treatment.”
Dr an Heerden said he first treated Mubaiwa when she presented with “severe lymphoedema of all limbs and multiple wounds on both legs, feet, arms and hands.”
“She has previously been taken to theatre for debridement of the wounds. The origin of the lymphoedema and spontaneous formation of abscesses have not been determined and the histological findings have been inconclusive,” the doctor said in a medical note supporting Mubaiwa’s application.
The doctor said Mubaiwa currently has a “large open wound on the right forearm and will need a skin graft to close that defect.”
He added: “She will first need specialised wound care and lymph therapy to prepare the wound bed for a skin graft. This treatment needs to be administered by a wound care specialist and Ms Chiwenga will need to travel to South Africa multiple times to receive this treatment.”
Her post-operative care until the skin graft and donor site are healed will take approximately three months, according to Dr van Heerden.
Her lawyer Wellington Musengwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai said Mubaiwa has a “life threatening condition that can only be treated by specialists in South Africa.”
“This Honourable Court is enjoined by the operation of section 48 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe to grant the order sought,” wrote her lawyers.
The first respondent in her application is the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) while the Clerk of Court is cited as the second respondent.
Mubaiwa said her lawyers were ready to present photographic or video evidence to the court showing the extend of her wounds. On Monday, she was wheeled into court on a stretcher bed, accompanied by two nurses, after a warrant of arrest was issued when she failed to attend court for the start of her trial on charges of assaulting their child minder.
“I am in extreme pain. I now have to carry a gadget which drains the liquids from the wounds, without immediate specialist care, the wounds are becoming more and more septic and it is paramount that I receive immediate urgent attention to these injuries. As the only specialist who has attended to them in South Africa, there is simply no other way I can receive the necessary treatment in Zimbabwe,” she said in an affidavit.
The application is yet to be heard. – Zimlive