BY CHARLES LAITON
VICE-PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife, Marry, has revealed that the retired army general harbours an ambition to take over the presidency.
Marry said 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”.
Marry made the remarks in her claim in reconvention in response to Chiwenga’s application for divorce last month.
The matter is still pending in the High Court.
“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
poor health, his being under heavy doses of drugs including un-prescribed 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,” Marry said in her claim.
Ironically, in his response to Marry’s urgent application for custody of the pair’s three children, Chiwenga also accused his wife of being a “drug addict”.
But in her response, Marry dismissed the claims, saying she was a better, healthy parent as opposed to the Vice-President.
“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,” Marry said.
Turning to the issue of the couple’s assets, Marry claimed that Chiwenga had all his assets registered in his relatives’ names in an effort to avoid sanctions that were imposed on him by the United States government.
“Defendant pleads that all assets acquired during the subsistence of the marriage were acquired with the full knowledge and participation of the plaintiff, 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,” Marry 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.”
Marry further dismissed claims that her marriage with Chiwenga was terminated through the production of a divorce token, saying she did not accept the token as it had been paid in foreign currency.
“The defendant further claims in reconvention that the plaintiff has failed to follow proper customary law procedures to end the customary marriage and that, instead, plaintiff sent (Anselem) Sanyatwe to give her a United States dollar bill which she declined to accept on the basis that it is unlawful in Zimbabwe to transact in United States dollars and that it was (up to) the plaintiff to give her gupuro (divorce token) after following all proper customary protocol. Consequently, the customary marriage continues to subsist,” she said.
Marry said she was claiming the equivalent of US$40 000 per month as maintenance from the retired army general for her upkeep and a total of
US$7 500 per month for her three children, which money she said should be paid at the interbank rate.
“Defendant claims in reconvention maintenance for the three minor children, the equivalent of US$2 500 calculated at the interbank rate prevailing on the date of payment until each child attains the age of majority or becomes self-supporting … defendant claims in reconvention personal maintenance in an amount equivalent to US$40 000 per month payable in Zimbabwe dollars calculated at the interbank rate prevailing on the date of payment until her death or remarriage,” she said.
Besides the claim of monthly maintenance, Marry also said her VP husband should be ordered to pay for the family’s holidays, school and medical expenses and casual clothes all running into thousands of United States dollars.
“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 said.
“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 US$25 000 per person.”
Besides all the monthly claims, Marry also demanded that her husband compensates her for the injuries she sustained during a bomb explosion at a Zanu PF rally in Bulawayo before the 2018 general elections.
“That the plaintiff pays the defendant’s cost for reconstructive surgery and all other medically associated costs arising from the injuries she suffered from a bomb blast in Bulawayo while she accompanied plaintiff on his party activities and that the plaintiff provides the defendant with an internationally recognised medical aid cover until her death,” she said, urging the court not to entertain Chiwenga’s application on the basis that he approached the court with dirty hands.
“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,” she said.