AFTER a captivating month where Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and his estranged wife, Marry, threw brickbats at each other in riveting court applications in their ongoing divorce proceedings, the public might have had their last as the couple has decided to resolve its differences outside the courtroom.
The move came at a time graphic details of their strained relationship, alleged drug abuse, accusations of witchcraft and illegally acquired vast wealth were laid bare through affidavits deposited by each party at the High Court, where the divorce proceedings were set to be heard.
Chiwenga set the ball rolling last month, when upon his return from a four-month long stay in China where he was hospitalised, he caused Marry’s arrest on allegations of externalisation, money laundering and attempted murder and eventually locked her out of their matrimonial home in Harare’s leaf Borrowdale Brooke.
The former general also forcibly took over custody of the couple’s children, accusing Marry of being a drug addict and too sickly to look after them.
Upon her release from remand prison, Marry took Chiwenga to court demanding the return of the children and access to the house.
She then followed that up with a huge maintenance bill – broken down as US$40 000 per month maintenance for her upkeep and a total of US$7 500 per month for their three children, among other demands.
She also exposed the retired general’s alleged presidential ambitions even before President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tenure has expired and how Chiwenga had been captured by Sakunda Petroleum’s Kuda Tagwireyi, a prominent fuel dealer who pampered him with top of the range vehicles for personal use.
Yesterday, Marry was at the High Court in the company of her lawyer Taona Nyamakura where they met Chiwenga’s lawyers Wellington Pasipanodya and Advocate Lewis Uriri with a view to have the matter deliberated on, but the hearing was deferred.
“The matter has been deferred to Tuesday, January 21 for possible argument or confirmation of settlement. We exchanged positions as legal practitioners acting for both sides in the matter and the tentative position is that this is a matter that we both agreed should be settled and not argued,” Nyamakura said, soon after exiting Justice Christopher Dube-Banda’s chambers.
“It will be in the best interest of the children that the parties find each and that the law is followed. But it’s a tentative position, if we cannot reach a settlement by Monday, then it means we proceed with oral argument on Tuesday as directed by the judge.”
Early this week, Chiwenga openly accused Marry of having caused his illness and attempting to end his life in a bid to take over his vast property empire. The Vice President also accused Marry of being a drug addict and consulting witchdoctors in a bid to bewitch him.
Marry hit back revealing that the collapse of the couple’s nine-year customary marriage was brought about by Chiwenga’s alleged paranoia, poor health and the influence of “heavy doses of drugs”. She also claimed Chiwenga harboured ambitions to take over the presidency.
Ironically, Chiwenga had earlier also accused his wife of being a “drug addict” but Marry dismissed the claims, saying she was a better, healthy parent as opposed to an absentee father who stays more in hospitals than at home.
Juju and drugs
Black magic, drug addiction, attempted murder and a wrestling match over luxury cars and overseas properties.
Zimbabwe is riveted by the explosive charges being made in the divorce of First Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and his wife Marry.
A glimpse of the luxurious lives of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite, as the rest of the country grapples with economic collapse, hyperinflation and hunger, is emerging in the divorce papers filed in court.
Chiwenga, who as Commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces led a coup against former president Robert Mugabe in 2017, is seeking to divorce his wife, a former model, and gain custody of their three children. His wife is also facing charges of trying to kill him when he was in a South African hospital last year.
“Marrying her was the worst mistake I made,” said Chiwenga in court papers lodged this week. He accused her of using “cunning behavior” to “secure a place in my life” and claimed she used “black magic” and was an abusive and violent “addict” who could not be trusted to take care of their children.
“I took them on holiday abroad and initially they had signs of trauma as they explained the black magic rituals they were subjected to … The various tools of trade by the witchdoctors, which were unexpectedly left behind by the applicant (Marry) after a her arrest, told a horror story,” said Chiwenga.
Chiwenga spent four months in China for medical treatment last year and claimed his wife tried to kill him while he was on a hospital bed in South Africa before he was airlifted to the Asian country.
He is also refusing to give her the Mercedes Benz and Lexus vehicles she is demanding, claiming they belong to the government, while one was given to him by a local businessman who has lucrative government contracts.
In her papers, Marry accused Chiwenga of suffering from “acute paranoia brought about by his poor health” and “his being under heavy doses of drugs, including un-prescribed opiates.”
She is demanding close to $50,000 a month for living expenses and to take care of the children, while claiming the vice president had registered his properties locally and abroad in the names of his relatives to circumvent United States sanctions.
Marry is on bail after being charged with attempted murder, fraud and money laundering last year. She said Chiwenga has used soldiers to deny her access to their luxury matrimonial home where she was ordered by the court to reside as part of her bail conditions.