Acting President Constantino Chiwenga goes through most days high on prescription drugs and suffers acute paranoia, his estranged wife Marry Mubaiwa has told the High Court as both sides trade dirt in an ongoing divorce battle.
Marry says in court papers that their nine-year customary marriage collapsed due to Chiwenga’s drug-fuelled instability and poor health, and his over-reliance on fortune-seeking opportunists surrounding him.
She also claims the vice president harbours vaulting ambitions to be president, which he thinks he can spur by divorcing the 38-year-old former model.
Chiwenga filed for divorce from Marry last December, accusing her of practising witchcraft, being a druggie and out of control. “Marrying her was the worst mistake I made,” Chiwenga said in an affidavit filed with the High Court. “This was all to the cunning behaviour she employed to secure a place in my life. She needed moulding, but I later found you could not teach an old dog new tricks.”
Chiwenga wants, as part of the divorce settlement, to keep their three children on the basis that Mubaiwa is unfit and also to retain possession of several properties, including the Borrowdale mansion the couple shared.
But in a court filing this week in reconvention, Mubaiwa says it is Chiwenga who has a drug problem.
“Defendant (Marry) avers in reconvention that the demise of the customary law union was brought about by plaintiff’s (Chiwenga) acute paranoia brought about by his poor health, his being under heavy doses of drugs including unprescribed opiates, his surrounding himself with persons who want to take advantage of him and his belief that his ascendency to the position of Presidency might be in jeopardy,” Mubaiwa’s lawyers said.
“Defendant denies that she is a drug addict and pleads that the children were under her exclusive care for long periods of time without any adverse consequences on them, and it is denied that the children’s best interests would be served by custody being awarded to a sickly absentee parent who is more in hospital than out.”
Mubaiwa revealed that Chiwenga had sought to circumvent United States asset freeze sanctions by registering dozens of properties he owns, locally and abroad, in the names of relatives.
Specifically, Mubaiwa says two houses she acquired in South Africa, which form part of the money laundering charges she faces after she was arrested on December 14, were acquired using money from Chiwenga’s business associates, and with his full knowledge.
“Defendant pleads that all assets acquired during the subsistence of the marriage were acquired with the full knowledge and participation of the plaintiff (Chiwenga), whose name could not be used and who on advice from the bank, procured his relatives to assist in the acquisition of the assets on the basis that plaintiff’s name could not be used as he was on the sanctions list,” her lawyers said.
“Defendant further pleads that all the monies used to acquire assets were availed by the plaintiff from some of his business partners and that the amnesia he has developed is part of the contrived criminal proceedings against her.”
Chiwenga has told the High Court that following custom, he sent an emissary, retired Major General Anselem Sanyatwe, with a divorce token in the form of a bank note to terminate the marriage.
But Mubaiwa says she rejected the token after Sanyatwe tried to hand her a United States dollar bill.
“She declined to accept on the basis that it is unlawful in Zimbabwe to transact in United States dollars, and that it was for the plaintiff to give her gupuro (divorce token) after following all proper customary protocol. Consequently the customary marriage continues to subsist,” she argues through her lawyers.
Mubaiwa is demanding the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent of US$40,000 as maintenance from Chiwenga for her upkeep every month “until her death or remarriage”, and a further US$7,500 per month for her three children aged eight, seven and five until they turn 18, which money she said should be paid at the interbank rate.
Mubaiwa also wants the retired army commander to pay for the family’s holidays, school fees, medical aid and shopping.
“The plaintiff must pay the entire school account in respect of each child at a Catholic school including school fees, levies, top-ups, costs of extra-lessons, costs of all extra-curricular activities, costs of school and sports uniforms, sports equipment and all other school related costs,” she is asking the High Court.
“That plaintiff pays for the defendant and her children annual holidays; one fully-expensed international holiday per annum at a five star facility inclusive of spending money of not less than the equivalent of US$25,000; one fully-expensed regional holiday per annum at a five star facility inclusive of spending money of not less than the equivalent of US$15,000; one fully-expensed local holiday per annum and spending money of not less than Z$25,000 per person.”
The former model, currently out on bail, is also demanding compensation from Chiwenga for injuries suffered when a grenade exploded at White City Stadium in Bulawayo in June 2018 during a Zanu PF campaign rally.
She is demanding that Chiwenga pays for reconstructive surgery and other medical costs arising from the injuries she suffered while accompanying him “on his party activities”.
She also wants an internationally-recognised medical aid cover until her death.
Mubaiwa wants the High Court to come hard on Chiwenga for grabbing their three children after he caused her arrest by filing a police complaint accusing her of attempting to kill him while he was hospitalised at a South African hospital in July.
“Plaintiff has already purportedly awarded himself custody of the children and is in contempt of the law. The pending action that he has come to court with, with dirty hands, ought not to be heard until he has purged his various contempts,” her lawyers said.
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