By Mary Taruvinga
THE scandalous marriage between Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and his estranged wife, Marry Mubaiwa, took a further turn Tuesday after former judge president George Chiweshe and High Court judge Munamato Mutevedzi denied having ever solemnised the union.
Chiwenga is claiming Marry fraudulently obtained a marriage certificate at a time he was seriously ill and indisposed.
Mubaiwa isnow being accused of forging Chiwenga’s signatures in a bid to formalise their marriage.
The trial started Monday before Harare magistrate, Lazini Ncube.
Chiweshe said it was Mutevedzi who solemnised the marriage.
The now Supreme Court judge said Mubaiwa only approached him as her uncle at his office at the High Court and asked to be solemnised, but he referred her to Mutevedzi.
He said he did not suspect any foul play since the parties were living together, married traditionally and had children.
“I wouldn’t have known the discussions the two had at their home about upgrading their marriage. I assumed it was a request from the couple. Don’t forget Chiwenga had paid lobola, living together and having children so I had no reason to suspect. I had no reason to suspect what Mary was asking for had not been discussed with her husband,” Chiweshe said.
During cross examination with Beatrice Mtetwa, Mubaiwa’s lawyer, Chiweshe said he cannot say there was misrepresentation of facts by Mubaiwa since he was not aware of her plans with Chiwenga.
Chiweshe said he could not know many things in their marriage because when she married to the general and vice president Mubaiwa she stopped communicating with him.
Chiweshe said when Mubaiwa asked for that request, he directed her to Mutevedzi and he was expecting Mutevedzi to call the couples and fill the forms.
However, Chiweshe said it could not be possible to solemnize couple when one is not knowing or available.
Mubaiwa denies the allegations.
In her defence she stated that from the time of the payment of lobola on July 2, 2011, they had agreed that they would formally wed and as is the custom, a wedding was requested from her family upon the conclusion of the lobola ceremony.
“As she was pregnant with the parties’ first child at the time of the roora, no date was agreed to as at the time of the payment of roora. She delivered the parties’ first child on the 4 November 2011, and she fell pregnant soon thereafter and gave birth to their second child on the 15th November, 2012 with a third pregnancy following soon thereafter with the parties’ last child being born on the 13th February, 2014,” Mtetwa submitted on behalf of Mubaiwa.
“Owing to the successive pregnancies within a short period of time, she will say that her back was considerably weakened, and she suffered from back pain, resulting in the intended wedding being shelved until her back had become better. During the same period, the complainant suffered from various illnesses which included an operation for severe sinusitis. Although they spoke about the wedding from time to time, a date was never set due to their various medical conditions, the complainant’s busy schedule and the bomb blast they were involved in.”
She said when Chiwenga was in India in 2019 where he was receiving treatment, they agreed that they would have a small wedding.
Mubaiwa said they ordered wedding rings from Chiwenga’s client, and she couldn’t have done that without him knowing.
She said she could not coerce an adult into a marriage without his consent.
“She will contend that the prosecution is part of her continued persecution through the use of the criminal justice system all done in an endeavour to force her to abandon her rights in the pending matrimonial action before the High Court. In particular, she will deny that she did anything which can remotely. be categorised as a contravention of Section 35 of the Act,” Mtetwa submitted.
Mutevedzi however said he is shocked where the National Prosecuting Authority picked information that he solemnised the marriage.
“I don’t know where the state got that l issued a marriage license. There was no such an application under oath before me. Taking of oath and signing the license was never done as far as l know. A part on marriage cannot consent on behalf of the other part without that person physically on the ground,” he said.
Mutevedzi however confirmed that the issue was brought to his office by former judge president George Chiweshe.
“When he made that request, l then said l will personally solemnise that marriage. l took that decision because judges are not marriage officers in Zimbabwe. I had became the highest ranking judicial officer in Zimbabwe and sending any other junior magistrate would have been disrespect to the vice president.”
Mutevedzi told court that he then requested identity particulars of the couple to marry from Justice Chiweshe and they were brought to his office by a person whom he cannot remember.
He further said there were documents that were needed to be completed under supervision and there were application for marriage license, affidavit of the couple consenting to wed.
“The couple were intended to get married on July 2, 2019. When l realised that there were information missing about the residential address, l called JSC secretary Walter Chikwana and l thought its prudent to access those details for me through that office since it was a superior office,” Mutevedzi said.
Mutevedzi said on July 2, 2019 he was accompanied by Thembinkosi Msipa of JSC to vice president Chiwengas residence in Borrowdale Brook.
However when they arrived at the residence they waited in vain before they decided to go back to their office.
Mutevedzi said two days later he canceled the application for marriage license and unissued marriage certificate
“In summary nobody then contacted me until investigations started being made,” he said
Trial continues Wednesday.