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Court blocks media, public from Chiwenga testimony

VP and Health Minister Chiwenga

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Vice president Constantino Chiwenga will testify against his estranged wife, Marry Mubaiwa, in camera after Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube ruled that his office has to be protected in terms of the state’s request.

Chiwenga took Mubaiwa to court in 2019 accusing her of forging his signature on a marriage certificate in a bid to upgrade their marriage without his knowledge.

She is denying the allegations.

Mubaiwa’s trial commenced last week and was heard in an open court. Six witnesses have testified and Thursday, the state said it is calling three more witness, Chiwenga included.

On Wednesday the state requested that Chiwenga’s testimony be heard in camera because he holds high office.

The application was challenged by Mubaiwa’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa who complained that there should be no preferential treatment

She argued the matter should be heard in a public court as it has been always open to the public.

But magistrate Ncube ruled that the defence did not put anything before the court to show what prejudice would be suffered if the matter is heard in privacy.

“In such request, the other part need to show the prejudice that will be suffered if the matter is heard in camera,” Ncube said.

“The defence has a duty to put questions to the complainant, which was still going to happen of it was in an open court. It is my view that nothing has been put in place to show the prejudice the complainant would suffer if the case is heard in camera. The state has made it clear that it is the office of the complainant that need to be protected. In this premises the application is hereby granted and the case will therefore be heard in camera,” he ruled.

Prosecutors said they will be contacting Chiwenga’s office to hear when he can be available.

-New Zim

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