Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has served his 36 year-old wife, Mary, divorce papers and also asked her to leave their matrimonial home, leaving behind their two children.
Local newspaper reports said the retired army general cut ties in July with Mary after a hospital bedside row in Pretoria, South Africa as he battled a mystery illness. Chiwenga, who as the head of the army toppled Robert Mugabe, believed he was poisoned by his wife.
Mary reportedly drew Chiwenga’s ire when she asked for a Marriage Act union as the 63-year-old battled for his life in the hospital.
Both married in 2011 in a traditional way and have two children together. The marriage is recognised under Zimbabwean law but carries complexities which notoriously bring grief to widows.
According to Zimlive, Mary, a former model and ex-wife of footballer Shingi Kawondera, was forced to return home as Chiwenga was flown to China where he received lengthy treatment before returning home on November 23.
Chiwenga, 63, has not been home to see Mary or their children after moving into their other property in Chisipite, from where he has been plotting his divorce.
Zimlive reported that a day after returning home, on November 24, the vice president sent an emissary to serve Mary with “gupuro” – a traditional Shona divorce token, typically a coin.
He also instructed Harare lawyer Wilson Manase to finalise his separation.
A letter was then delivered to the 36-year-old Mary directing her to vacate the property and leave behind their two children together – a boy and a girl aged eight and seven. The couple had been living with two other children, a boy and a girl, from Mary’s previous marriage.
A source close to the developments said Mary had also called her lawyers to fight the planned eviction.
Chiwenga had divorced his first wife, Jocelyn, in 2010 to clear the path for his marriage to Mary. He also at the time evicted Jocelyn from their matrimonial home, using soldiers.