South Africa

Zimbabwe vice-president divorce takes turn after wife charged with poisoning

Zimbabwe vice-president divorce takes turn after wife charged with poisoning

Harare - Zimbabwe's Vice-President General Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife, Marry Mubaiwa, was being charged with poisoning in an eyebrow-raising divorce, unfolding while a former South African president was visiting the country.

Problems have piled up for Mubaiwa, who was on Monday charged with illegally transferring more than $1million (R14.4m) offshore, fraud and attempted murder, which is being investigated on fresh allegations of grabbing vehicles awarded to Miss Zimbabwe winners, as the messy case takes a new twist.

This comes as Thabo Mbeki visited the country on Monday, where he held meetings with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC president Nelson Chamisa in a bid to broker dialogue between the two leaders.

Chiwenga remains a major player in Zimbabwean politics, following his leading role in the 2017 coup that ousted then president, the late Robert Mugabe.

Mubaiwa, a former beauty queen, was remanded on allegations of attempted murder of Chiwenga, illegally externalising over $1m, laundering $990000, and fraudulently seeking to upgrade her customary union to a civil marriage, without her husband’s consent.

Mubaiwa, whose marriage is on the rocks following allegations of infidelity and attempted murder, has fallen out of favour with Chiwenga upon his return from China.

The army general is said to have been treated there for three months for suspected poisoning.

The pair have not been seen together since Chiwenga returned from China.

In court papers, Mubaiwa is accused of attempting to kill her husband by disconnecting his life support while he was undergoing treatment in a South African hospital this year.

The court heard that Mubaiwa travelled to South Africa with her husband in June, and attempted to prevent him from seeking medical attention.

Chiwenga reportedly barred Mubaiwa from visiting him in hospital in China, and ordered her to vacate their Borrowdale mansion, north of Harare, before unleashing the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on Saturday.

Zimbabweans on social media believe that Mubaiwa is a victim of abuse of power, while analysts argue that the case was predetermined because of Chiwenga’s powerful links with the country’s judiciary.

“Marry has fallen out of favour with Chiwenga. She has been removed from the circle of the untouchables. She is fighting a losing battle. You might call it persecution, but she crossed the path of Number Two - the face behind the 2017 coup,” said political analyst Eldred Masunungure.