By Mary Taruvinga and Leopold Munhende
MARRY Mubaiwa most definitely has the right to go to her preferred destination for medical reasons, be it China – as her estranged husband has – or anywhere else.
She, of a truth, has the right to be treated and come back refreshed and free from her illness just as the good vice president did.
There is no denying the fact that Marry is in dire need for medical attention and she needs help, not from ill equipped Zimbabwean hospitals, but well-funded ones such as the ones which managed to bring Constantino Chiwenga back to seemingly good health at a time most were preparing a visit to the national shrine.
It is disheartening to see her, or anyone else, wincing in pain as she sits in the dock, with an aide by her side, sometimes falling asleep during court proceedings.
That said, emphasised and done away with, it is very necessary to use Mubaiwa’s life and decisions as teachable moments, not just for the current crop of young wives to Zanu PF oligarchs, but the whole generation of young ladies and gentlemen.
Mubaiwa, just like every other citizen who is alleged to have committed a crime or crimes, is being dragged to court from time to time.
There is nothing special.
What has made the ‘second lady’s’ situation special however is her abrupt fall from grace, from glamour to gloom.
From the dizzy heights of power to being ridiculed, pitied, ignored and conveniently talked about by the ordinary person who used to marvel at her association with the powerful former army general.
But What Did She Do?
Marry’s marriage to Chiwenga is her third. She dumped her first husband Terrence Mandizha for a then football star at the prime of his career, Shingi Kawondera.
Kawondera at that time plied his trade in Cyprus and once became a darling of the national team, the Warriors.
He led the lines with aplomb and left in any football fan’s mind enduring memories with some spellbinding performances.
His brace against Angola ahead of the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations at the National Sports Stadium sealed his place in the hearts and minds of many a Warriors fan.
But as the years went by, the fate of every footballer caught up with him and he lost his place in the Cyprus team as well as the Warriors due to age.
Not long afterward, he lost his wife in 2011 to the untouchable Chiwenga.
Despite spending over a decade playing football abroad, Kawondera in 2012 admitted he did not have a penny to his name. In 2014, after failing to come to terms with his new circumstances, he suffered mental complications and spent four months in psychiatric rehab.
Marry, now having moved on into the super luxury and security provided by the man under whose command the entire military lay, initiated procedures to terminate her marriage to a hapless Kawondera.
A decree of divorce was granted by the High Court on May 19, 2011, all behind Kawondera’s back.
Languishing in a psychiatric unit, he was unaware of what was happening. He was not even served the divorce papers.
This only came out in 2019 when he gained the strength to fight back. He sued Marry for US$700 000, claiming she had cheated him out of marriage.
“The defendant (Marry) had issued summons out of the same court on June 2010 seeking an order of divorce and ancillary relief under case number HC 805/10. Plaintiff (Kawondera) was never served with the summons as required by the rules of court,” reads part of his founding affidavit.
For eight years Kawondera lived in pain. The mother of his only daughter had left him wallowing in poverty.
With sound backing of the powerful Chiwenga, Marry became the law unto herself. She allegedly forged his signature and took away everything they had worked for together as a couple.
The divorce was done and finalised while he was unaware. Busy with work in Cyprus, he did not know she was busy plotting his demise.
“Mubaiwa fraudulently caused a return of service to be issued by the deputy sheriff at Harare falsely claiming that plaintiff had been personally served with the summons on June 22 2010 at Harare,” Kawondera told the High Court in 2019.
“Further to that she also fraudulently issued with the honourable court, a consent paper dated July 7 2010 wherein the plaintiff’s signature was forged. Plaintiff never entered into a consent paper with the defendant regarding the divorce proceedings under HC 3805/10.”
In the said divorce proceedings, Kawondera claims, Mubaiwa also relied on an affidavit of waiver and amended affidavit of waiver which purported to have been deposed to her by him.
As if that was not enough, Marry went on to claim that her estranged husband had acquired legal services from a top local law firm, yet Kawondera never gave instructions to any lawyer.
As a result of the “irregular and fraudulent” obtaining of a divorce order by his ex-wife, Kawondera was left with nothing to his name because as Marry remained with all the immovable and movable properties that the parties had acquired during the subsistence of their marriage.
Kawondera said there was never distribution of the parties’ matrimonial assets and she walked away with everything, including his very clothes.
According to Kawondera, the couple had started a company called Latchelle (Private) Limited. He never benefited from the venture.
The footballer complained that because of Mubaiwa’s fraud, he has been impoverished.
After an “illustrious” career, losing everything is what got the former Warriors forward into a mental institution.
Now Chiwenga is raising similar allegations against her.
The difference this time around is that the man she allegedly attempted to cheat is too powerful and capable of destroying her without any iota of mercy. He is yet to realise “power is not permanent” as she said in one of her Twitter rants about her condition and their relationship.
In addition to the properties and belongings, Marry went away with their daughter Destiny and never allowed Shingi access to her in a decade. The closest he was to her was last week when he was shown photos of her after visiting Marry in hospital.
For ten years, the former model barred him from accessing his daughter and the same fate has befallen her.
Three years after she fell from grace, she is yet to set eyes on the three minor children she had with Chiwenga, who has blocked her from accessing them claiming she is mentally unfit. Talk about tasting one’s own medicine.
It is not yet proven that the former super model indeed forged signatures on a marriage certificate in a bid to upgrade her customary marriage with the former army general as the matter is still pending in court.
However what is on court record is that she indeed tried to do so.
Marry is said to have misrepresented to former judge president Justice George Chiweshe that an ailing Chiwenga had directed that their marriage be solemnised.
Chiweshe, who is now a Supreme Court judge, told the court in December 2020 Marry only approached him as her uncle at his office at the High Court on the matter and he referred her to High Court judge Munamato Mutevedzi, who at that time was a magistrate.
No marriage certificate was however signed according to witnesses who have so far stood in court.
Chiweshe said he did not suspect any foul play at the time since the parties were living together, married traditionally and had children.
Mutevedzi said although he did not solemnise the union, he had intended to after Chiweshe told him Chiwenga had asked him to solemnise his marriage to Mubaiwa.
“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 disrespectful to the vice president,” said Mutevedzi.
“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 Judicial Services Commission (JSC) secretary Walter Chikwana and l thought it prudent to access those details 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 Chiwenga’s residence in Borrowdale Brooke but were not let in as no one within the home answered the security detail’s call from the gate.
After two days, he cancelled the application for marriage licence and unissued marriage certificate.
Added Mutevedzi: “In summary nobody then contacted me until investigations started being made. The only people that l talked to were Chikwanha and the judge president.”
Office of the Second Lady
Despite being represented by able lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Marry’s situation has been worsened by the silence from women rights organisations, some of whom told NewZimbabwe.com her issue was too political.
Marry Chiwenga refers herself as the “second lady of the republic of Zimbabwe”. This country… pic.twitter.com/1lExj2iuK9
— Nqaba Matshazi (@nqabamatshazi) March 7, 2018
Some have gone as far as raising issues from her time as “the second lady,” questioning whether she at any point stood up for women. Informal interactions with their members have been punctuated by jibes at her for, among other ills, beating up her maid.
Mubaiwa almost broke the internet in 2018 when a copy of her letter with an “Office of the Second Lady” letterhead made its way onto social media. It was a first for the country since independence in 1980.
Her Relationship With The Media
When Marry first appeared in court, her family manhandled journalists and demanded that they stop taking pictures or videos of her. They did not need the media then and they made that clear when her mother Helga Mubaiwa and one of her brothers used unprintable words towards them.
As her cases dragged on and her condition deteriorated, images of her getting to court in ambulances, falling numerous times at Rotten Row courts and of the worsening swelling on her arms, taken by the same journalists are what raised attention to her plight, their articles are what got human rights organisations to speak out.
After Everything Has Been Said And Done
Being humane means being able to feel for the next person, even when something does not directly affect you.
The pain inflicted on a parent by denying them access to their child cannot be justified under any circumstance.
In an emotional letter to Chiwenga, Mubaiwa wrote: “You have the comfort of going to China for your condition and you block my every effort to get money from the bank to get treatment locally. I wish you could wake up and smell the coffee, I wish for you to make right your wrong. My children suffer because of your abuse, blocking them from me and blocking me from them.”
The former power couple has three children; Tendai, Christian, and Michael.
Marry Mubaiwa might not be an outright victim but she deserves to live and after that, face the consequences of her actions in a just manner, as is the fate of everyone. She deserves access to her offspring.