Court spanks VP Chiwenga… as it accuses him of abusing the law to fix his wife Marry
VICE President Constantino Chiwenga, pictured,’s estranged wife Marry scored a significant victory in the High Court yesterday after she was allowed access to the couple’s children, cars and plush Borrowdale Brooke home in Harare, the Daily News reports.
Apart from granting Marry her wishes yesterday, the High Court also lashed Chiwenga for abusing the law to fix his wife — before warning him that his actions risked undermining the rule of law in the country given the powerful position he holds.
However, Chiwenga immediately lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the ruling — meaning that the couple’s public brawling may be far from over.
This comes as Marry and the VP are embroiled in an acrimonious divorce case which has set tongues wagging around the country as it plays out in the High Court.
At the same time, Marry continues to face a slew of charges which include attempting to kill her powerful husband during the time that he was gravely ill in South Africa last year.
Yesterday’s ruling came after Marry approached the High Court after she was denied access to the couple’s children, home and cars — soon after she was released from remand prison where she had been languishing during the entire festive season.
In ruling in her favour, Judge Christopher Dube-Banda also accused Chiwenga of abusing his executive powers to fix his estranged wife.
“In my view, applicant (Marry) has succeeded to establish on a balance of probabilities that indeed she has been despoiled (wronged).
“In the result, I order as follows: the respondent (Chiwenga) is hereby ordered to restore the custody of the minor children (names withheld) to the custody of the applicant within 24 hours of this order.
“The respondent is hereby interdicted and restrained from interfering with applicant’s access to use and enjoyment of the property known as … (physical address also withheld) Borrowdale Brooke, Borrowdale, Harare,” the judge ruled.
“The respondent is hereby interdicted and restrained from interfering with applicant’s access to use and enjoyment of the property known as Orchid Gardens, Domboshava, Harare.
“The respondent is hereby interdicted and restrained from interfering with applicant’s access to, use and enjoyment of the motor vehicles, namely Toyota Lexus, Mercedes Benz S400, Mercedes Benz E350 (black).
“Respondent is interdicted and restrained from denying or refusing applicant access and/or possession of her clothing,” Dube-Banda added, while also slapping Chiwenga with the costs of the suit.
The judge said while Chiwenga might not want to stay with Marry, he had no right to bar her from accessing the property in the absence of a court order.
“The conduct of the respondent has the potential to render the applicant destitute, frustrate her compliance with bail conditions and place her in serious jeopardy and bring the standing of the status of the rule of law in Zimbabwe into serious disrepute.
“It must not be forgotten that the respondent is no ordinary citizen, and his conduct is particularly objectionable as he has taken oath to uphold the laws of Zimbabwe,” Dube-Banda ruled further.
In addition, the judge said Marry had been removed from the Borrowdale Brooke property without her consent and the following of due process.
“In fact it is unacceptable and anathema to the constitutional values of this jurisdiction that the military may be used to settle a matrimonial dispute.
“This is frightening and undermines the values inherent in our Constitution — which are the rule of law, supremacy of the Constitution, gender equality, fundamental human rights and freedoms and good governance.
“What happened to applicant must be a cause of fear and concern to all law-abiding citizens, wherever they are and their station life,” Dube-Banda thundered.
“It is in such situations that this court must step in, without fear or favour, to defend the Constitution and … the rule of law.
“There cannot be in a constitutional democracy a law for the powerful and a law for the weak. It is in such instances that this court must come to the rescue of the weak and down-trodden.
“It is in such instances that this court must stand firm and apply the law without fear or favour,” Dube-Banda said further, adding that “no one is above or below the law”.
When the couple’s matter came before the High Court last week, lawyers representing both parties appeared at the time to be in agreement that there was need for an out-of-court settlement.
However, the move collapsed somehow at the weekend, leaving the High Court to rule on the application brought by Marry — which prompted yesterday’s stinging ruling.
In the application, Marry also sought an order for her to be allowed to access the couple’s Orchid Gardens property in Domboshava, as well as a directive for one Lieutenant Colonel Mangezi to return all the furniture and goods that were removed from the property — allegedly using a Zimbabwe National Army vehicle.
She has also accused Chiwenga of employing “cowboy” tactics and abusing his position as the country’s vice president — by using the army to bar her from accessing their properties.
In response, Chiwenga said he had taken custody of the couple’s children after Marry was arrested, as they had no one to stay with.
“The applicant was arrested and their children left alone. It became incumbent on the respondent (Chiwenga) to take the children.
“I took them on holiday abroad and initially they had signs of trauma as they explained the black magic rituals they were subjected to by the applicant (Marry).
“The various tools of trade by the witch doctors which were unexpectedly left behind by applicant after her arrest told a horror story.
“My clothes in some instances were heaped together and sprayed by applicant with some unknown substances.
“I had to take the children away to cleanse memories of the horrors they experienced,” Chiwenga said.
The former Defence Forces commander also said “witchcraft was all over the house”, adding that this was embarrassing in this day and age.
Chiwenga also said that his estranged wife had never made a request to see the children, adding that he was better suited to have custody of the children as Marry was allegedly unfit to look after them.
He said a medical report showed that Marry should be under the care of a physician, a surgeon and a psychiatrist.
He also accused the former model of using “cunning” tactics to enter into his life.
“Marrying her was the worst mistake I made. This was all due 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,” he said.