BY MOSES MATENGA
INCARCERATED Harare mayor Jacob Mafume’s condition reportedly further deteriorated yesterday morning amid fears he could have contracted the deadly COVID-19 virus, NewsDay has learnt.
Mafume’s lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara said prison officials had allowed him to bring in a private doctor to assess his condition.
“It is not well. We have arranged for a doctor to go after prison officials allowed us to get one. Will get an update later,” Bhatasara said.
“They agreed with us that according to the Constitution, an inmate is allowed to bring a private doctor. He is displaying symptoms that include fever and chest pains,” he added.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa said Mafume deserved proper medical attention from a doctor of his choice.
“The mayor of Harare, councillor Jacob Mafume’s health has deteriorated drastically while being held in remand prison. The right to health is fundamental for all citizens, including even for those in prison. Mayor Mafume deserves proper medical attention by a doctor of his choice,” Chamisa said.
“The mayor must be treated with the dignity that every citizen deserves. Right to life is inalienable.”
Mafume was arrested in December for allegedly trying to bribe a potential key witness in a criminal abuse of office charge he is facing.
Chamisa berated the arrest of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and MDC Alliance vice-chairman Job Sikhala.
“The arbitrary arrests represent dictatorial rule, severe abuse of power and a wanton attack on the rule of law. Persecution through prosecution reflects the authoritarian tendencies of this dictatorship,” he said.
“The regime is hell-bent on selective application of the law, with law being weaponised against political opponents and critics. These arrests on spurious charges during a severe pandemic are designed to expose political opponents to hazards. This is sadistic, heartless and abominable.”
Chin’ono and Sikhala were arrested on Friday for allegedly publishing or communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State. They will appear in court today.
The European Union in Zimbabwe said: “The circumstances around the rearrests of Hopewell raise many questions about fairness, equitable application of rule of law and proportionality. We hope he stays safe.”
l Follow Moses on Twitter @mmaten