Joana Mamombe forcibly removed from private hospital at night, returned to Chikurubi

HARARE – MDC Alliance MP for Harare West Joana Mamombe was forcibly removed from a private hospital in the dead of the night Thursday and returned to Chikurubi Maximum Prison even as she was still receiving treatment.

Joana Mamombe

Mamombe, who has been languishing in jail for 46 days with fellow opposition activist Cecilia Chimbiri, was admitted to Parktown Hospital on Wednesday with “acute stomach pain” after negotiations with prison authorities.

But jail wardens spirited her away in an ambulance last night without clearance from doctors, the MDC Alliance said, adding Mamombe was still in bad shape and set to see a specialist on Friday.

“She’s still unwell and her doctors have referred her to a specialist who is scheduled to see her tomorrow (Friday). They say they have ‘instructions from above,’” party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere tweeted.

Mamombe and Chimbiri were arrested and charged with violating Covid-19 regulations after addressing a news conference in March calling for the release of fellow activist Makomborero Haruzivishe who is now serving a 14 months’ jail sentence for “resisting arrest and inciting public violence.”

The two have been denied bail several times by both the Magistrates’ Court and the High Court. The opposition says this is part of concerted efforts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to crackdown on its members ahead of elections in 2023.

MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti said Mamombe’s forced removal from hospital was “particularly sickening,” adding, “This regime is completely pathological. Joana, Netsai, and Cecilia have suffered enough.”

And the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), which represents Mamombe, said it was “gravely concerned” about its client’s “inhuman treatment” by Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) authorities.

Meanwhile, Harare magistrate Denis Mangosi denied a bail request by opposition activists Legwani Mavhunga and Munyaradzi Mafararikwa, who were tortured while in police custody last week.

The two were arrested after attending a court hearing for MDC Alliance national deputy chairman Job Sikhala last Thursday and charged with “obstructing or endangering free movement of persons or traffic”.

They were hospitalized at Parirenyatwa with severe torture wounds, barely able to walk. Their first court hearing was held at the hospital where the magistrate ordered an investigation into their treatment by the police.

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