By Anna Chibamu
ZANU PF legislator for Mberengwa North Tafanana Zhou Thursday called for the removal of Harare West MP Joanna Mamombe from parliament after doctors confirmed she suffered mental illness.
Mamombe has been in and out of hospital since her much-publicised abduction and torture by alleged state security agents in May this year.
Together with two female fellow MDC Alliance youth activists, Mamombe was arrested and charged with falsifying the abduction in order to invite local and international resentment towards the Zanu PF led administration.
Doctors have confirmed she suffered mental illness after lawyers claimed she was not fit to stand trial in her condition.
But Zhou felt this could also be enough reason for the Harare lawmaker to be excused from her parliament post.
“Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of privilege arises from our national Constitution, Section 129 (1) (m) that states that, ‘The seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member is certified to be mentally disordered or intellectually handicapped under any law in force in Zimbabwe’…
“Honourable Joanna Mamombe was certified as mentally ill by two government doctors.
“I therefore honourable Speaker Sir, ask that a Privileges Committee be set to look into the matter,” said Zhou.
However, Speaker Jacob Mudenda came to Mamombe’s rescue and told Zhou that Parliament would only act after receiving confirmation of the mental examination and compare the results with those of her doctors.
According to Mudenda, the issue was still with the courts to verify.
“We should be able to get an official response from the judiciary and the doctor’s reports accordingly and compare with whosoever is the sponsor of the honourable member.
“However, because the matter is still with our courts and the courts have not pronounced themselves as to the results of the medical findings, we shall have to be cautious in proceeding accordingly until such time that the matter has been fully ventilated by the courts.”
The High Court early this month ordered the release of Mamombe from Chikurubi prison where she had been incarcerated for mental examination for two weeks.
Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande then ruled the opposition lawmaker needed to be examined by two neutral doctors to determine her fitness to stand trial before being taken to Annex at Parirenyatwa Hospital in the capital.