By Never Kadungure (Political Correspondent)
The explosive and high profile divorce case pitting Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Constantine Chiwenga, and his estranged wife Jocelyn Mauchaza Chiwenga finally kicked off at the High Court on Monday.
Jocelyn is demanding $40 million from Chiwenga’s new wife as damages for allegedly offending her feelings and cohabitating with her partner. The army chief married Mary Mubaiwa, a former supermodel and ex-wife of former Zimbabwe soccer international player, Shingirai Kawondera.
Last year in November Jocelyn Chiwenga, claimed her marriage involved periods of physical and emotional abuse by her husband. She claimed that her husband used to beat her up and then send her to Malaysia for treatment.
Jocelyn said Chiwenga also threatened to shoot her if she ever reported the assaults to the police. “If anything happens to me after the publication of this story, the nation should know it came from Chiwenga,” Jocelyn said at the time.
Last week the couple both made an appearance for a pre-trial conference that was presided over by High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu. The media has been gagged from covering the potentially explosive case.
Chiwenga is represented by lawyers Thakor Kewada and Advocate Richard Fitches while Jocelyn is represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Susan Brunet. Jocelyn who married Chiwenga in 1998, says by marrying him during the subsistence of her marriage, Mary had greatly disrespected and hurt her.
“Defendant (Mary) has in full knowledge of plaintiff (Jocelyn)’s marriage to Constantine Guveya Chiwenga commenced cohabitating with Constantine Guveya Chiwenga and entered into an adulterous relationship with him,” reads part of Jocelyn’s summons and declaration filed in the high court.
“The gross impudence and insult to the plaintiff caused by the public and open conduct of the defendant in purporting to have married Constantine Guveya Chiwenga having aggravated the damages sustained by plaintiff,” she said.
Out of the $40 million that Jocelyn is demanding, $20 million is for contumelia inflicted upon her by Mary while the other $20 million is for loss of consortium. Jocelyn maintains that her marriage to Chiwenga is still valid because the pair never terminated their marriage.
In 2008 Jocelyn harangued and harassed Tsvangirai and journalists who had accompanied the MDC leader on a tour of supermarkets in Harare after Mugabe’s scorched earth policy of price freezes which left shop shelves empty.
She caused a scene at the Makro Wholesalers at Hillside in Harare, where she threatened to ‘take away’ Tsvangirai’s ‘manhood.’ In a fit of rage, she also slapped freelance photographer Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, while two other journalists sustained minor injuries in the ensuing fracas.