BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
A COALITION of women’s rights organisations has pleaded with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to allow his estranged wife, Marry, to have access to the couple’s children.
Marry claims that she has been denied access to her children for over 17 months following her separation with Chiwenga.
The organisations accused Chiwenga of using State institutions to settle their marital dispute, which they said had negative effects on the development of the couple’s children.
The women’s organisations include Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence, Female Prisoners Support Trust, Economic Justice for Women Project and Chitungwiza Residents Trust.
“As women’s rights organisations, we are concerned and worried at the ongoing saga involving the Vice-President Dr CGN Chiwenga and his wife, Marry Chiwenga,” the organisations said in a joint statement.
“We note that private matters such as divorce should remain within the realm of private life. It is equally important that parties involved treat these issues as such. It would be worrisome if parties used their proximity to State institutions to push these to settle personal challenges with their spouses.
“Further, we appeal to the Honourable Vice-President CGDN Chiwenga to allow Marry Chiwenga access to their children. As women, some of us being mothers, we understand the pain of being separated from our children, hence our call for the couple to find common ground where they can share in the growth of their kids.”
Last month, Marry said she appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene in the marital dispute so that she could be able to see her children, but her efforts were futile.
Marry faces a slew of charges including attempting to kill Chiwenga, money-laundering and assault.
Her trial on all the charges has been stalled because of her poor health.
The women’s organisations also blasted the courts for denying her access to her passport so she could seek medical care abroad.
“She has been arrested and arraigned before the courts and eventually granted bail after long proceedings at the High Court,” the organisations said.
“If she is guilty of the offences for which she was arrested, then justice will take its course but in the meantime, she should enjoy her presumption of innocence.
“Therefore, it is distressing that courts should seem to be working on a presumption of guilt so much as to deny her the much-needed medical attention she requires.”
Marry is suffering from lymphoedema, a condition which causes swelling of hands and legs.