By Desmond Chingarande
The marriage between vice president Constantino Chiwenga and his estranged wife Marry Mubaiwa ended in November 2019 when emissaries that were sent by Chiwenga paid a token of divorce as per the traditional custom, the High Court has ruled.
Justice Tagu ruled that the marriage was terminated when Chiwenga sent his emissary, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania, Rtd Major General Anselem Sanyatwe, with US$100 as a token of divorce on November 24, 2019.
Justice Tagu said when Chiwenga filed for divorce, their union had already ended.
“The application is allowed with costs. It is declared that by the time proceedings in HC 9837/19 were instituted, the customary union between the parties had ceased to subsist. The ancillary issues relating to custody, maintenance and property rights of the parties are stood down for determination at trial, which shall be set down by the defendant as and when she is able to prosecute the matter,” Justice Tagu ruled.
Mubaiwa admitted that their marriage was irretrievably broken, Chiwenga, also through his lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri, complained that the High Court that it was taking too long for the divorce hearing to go to trial because of Mubaiwa’s poor health.
Chiwenga asked the court to leave other matters including division of assets and child custody for when Mubaiwa’s health has improved, and to make a determination on whether their marriage was terminated.
Mubaiwa however opposed the application, saying determining the matter separately would affect her rights and those of their three children.
The judge said it was public knowledge that Mubaiwa is sick and trial had not started because of her poor health in prejudice to Chiwenga.
He said it would be fair if the issue of property sharing and children custody will be dealt with when she gets better.
Mubaiwa is battling Lymphoedema.
However justice Tagu’s ruling that Mubaiwa was sick and that it was the reason her trial delayed brings the justice system into question as her trial at the magistrates court was ordered to proceed saying she was fit to stand trial.
Mubaiwa is facing several allegations that include money laundering, attempted murder and fraud.