Tendai Kamhungira 12 July 2017
HARARE – One of the country’s decorated liberation war icons, retired Air
Vice Marshal Henry Muchena, is entangled in an acrimonious divorce with
his wife of 31 years, who is claiming in court papers that the ex-Zanla
fighter has abandoned his family and moved in with a “mistress” who used
to be his subordinate while he was still in service, the Daily News can
According to the High Court papers, Muchena who retired from the Air Force
of Zimbabwe (AFZ) in June 2010 to join the Zanu PF commissariat department
as principal director, effective January 2011, is the one who filed the
application, claiming that the marriage with Mildred Muchena, nee
Ndunduma, had irretrievably broken down.
He told the court that the two customarily married in August 1986, before
the marriage was solemnised in terms of the Marriage Act (Chapter 5:11) on
December 19, 1987.
“The marriage between the parties has broken down irretrievably and there
are no prospects of the restoration of a normal marriage relationship . .
.,” Muchena said, adding that they have not lived together as husband and
wife since 1999.
During the subsistence of their marriage, Muchena said that they acquired
a Toyota Landcruiser, household goods, a residential property at number 51
Newstead Road, Marlborough, Harare and Seruwi Drift Farm.
However, Mildred, in her summary of evidence said the challenges in their
marriage began when Muchena started dating a subordinate, which she became
aware of in 1999.
During that time, she said Muchena started commuting between his
matrimonial home and his mistress’ residence, adding that the mistress
would harass her through abusive phone calls.
Her appeals to Muchena to censor his mistress failed to yield results, the
court heard, before he totally moved out of the matrimonial home.
She said she thought the affair was a passing phase but was shocked to
receive divorce summons.
“She will testify that the affair coincided with the plaintiff (Muchena)
starting to neglect his family to an extent that the parties’ child who
had been sent to Cyprus for tertiary education could not finish her course
as plaintiff had not paid her fees, a development which stressed the child
“The child had to return to Zimbabwe and still owes the Cyprus institution
some money and she has since registered herself for a degree through
Zimbabwe Open University where she is self-funding,” Mildred said.
She further told the court that when Muchena left the matrimonial home, he
took all the motor vehicles to an extent that she and the children started
using public transport, while her husband’s mistress and son were allowed
free access to the cars.
“She will testify that the assets of the parties ought to be equally
shared, particularly given the plaintiff’s gross marital misconduct in
embarking on an affair, ill-treating her and the children by making
inadequate provision for their well-being, frittering away income that
would have accrued to the family by renting northern suburb houses for the
mistress’ accommodation, failing to pay the children’s fees and generally
failing to treat the family with the love and compassion as is expected
amongst family members,” Mildred said.
She said she retired from the City of Harare in September 2016, without
receiving her terminal benefits and is diabetic, has high blood pressure
and has also been diagnosed with breast cancer.
When she retired, she said that she had not been paid for eight months and
is currently relying on $180 that she receives from Nssa on a monthly
basis, adding that the money is not adequate for her upkeep, medical fees
She said she requires $500 as contribution towards her maintenance and
$250 each for their two children.
“She will dispute the plaintiff’s pleas of poverty and will point out that
plaintiff operates a farm, which is supposed to be a commercial venture
and that he gets income there from.
“In addition, he sits on various remunerative boards where he receives
regular board fees in addition to receiving a salary from his employment
with the ruling party. His pension is therefore a small part of his
income,” she said.
She contested the list of property by Muchena, claiming the listed assets
were not the only assets they acquired during the subsistence of their
She demanded the Marlborough and Gweru properties, a Nissan Hardbody,
Mercedes Benz E200, Mercedes Benz C200 and that they share equally the
Glen Lorne property.
The matter was brought for a pre-trial conference before High Court judge
Erica Ndewere on Monday.
Muchena is one of the ex-combatants who distinguished themselves during
the war of liberation that ended with the attainment of independence from
Britain in April 1980.
He was a Zanla combatant, who joined the Zimbabwe National Army at
independence, and later transferred to AFZ, where he served until his
retirement in June 2010.
One of his major highlights in his illustrious career in the force was his
appointment as Air Vice Marshal in 2002.
Upon retiring from active military service, Muchena was appointed
principal director in the Zanu PF commissariat department, with
responsibility of revamping the ruling party’s structures.
Soon after the 2013 polls, unverified reports suggest that the old guard
in the commissariat section were shunted aside, hence Muchena, along with
other veterans, have been floating at the Zanu PF headquarters with no
Muchena currently serves on several boards, among them Zimpost and the
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
He is the latest in a list of Zanu PF bigwigs to be embroiled in an
acrimonious divorce with their wives.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo and his wife, Sibonokuhle Getrude
Moyo, had a nasty divorce that ended their 32-year marriage, which they
agreed had irretrievably broken down.
The decree of divorce was granted by Harare High Court judge Justice Ben
Hlatshwayo after both parties accepted that their relationship had broken
down to an extent that there were no prospects for the restoration of a
Former deputy Finance minister David Chapfika is also divorcing his wife
of over 32 years, Abina (nee Mutimusakwa), who is accusing Zanu PF Mutoko
South Member of Parliament of being a womaniser, who was threatening her
with “bloodshed” if she went public with the issue.
Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo also divorced his former wife
Marian, who has since fallen on hard times and cannot afford to pay back a
long-standing debt to CBZ Bank after she was declared “a person of no
Other high-profile divorce cases that spilled into the public domain in
recent years include that of Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantino
Chiwenga, who divorced his ex-wife Jocelyn (nee Mauchaza).
Former Environment minister Francis Nhema also divorced his wife of 20
years, Louise Sehlule, who was daughter to revered liberation war hero,