Ex-model is now suicidal, facing destitution and desperate to see her children
Marry Mubaiwa, the glamorous former wife of Zimbabwean Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, has broken her silence after her acquittal by a Harare magistrate last week on charges of assaulting her children’s nanny.
The former model, who suffers from lymphoedema, a disease that causes the limbs to swell, told the Sunday Times in an exclusive interview that she is destitute and people must not be surprised if she committed suicide.
Mubaiwa, 40, who had her arm amputated after a court forbade her from travelling to South Africa for medical treatment, said her life is hell since she has not been allowed to see or speak to her children — aged between eight and 11 — for three years.
In 2011, Mubaiwa was married by traditional rites to the now 66-year-old army general and they had two sons and a daughter. Their relationship soured in 2019 when she was arrested for allegedly disconnecting Chiwenga’s life-support machine while he was receiving treatment in a South African hospital.
She will appear in court at the end of the month on a charge of attempted murder.
I spent nights and days crying, asking God: ‘Why did you let this happen to me?’ Everything I am accused of, I didn’t do it
Further charges were added, including marriage fraud, for which she was found guilty and sentenced by the Harare Magistrate’s Court in April to a year in jail, reduced because of ill-health to fine of Z$60,000 Zimbabwe (about R3,000). Mubaiwa was found to have forged her husband’s signature on documents that upgraded their marriage from a customary one to a civil union, which gives women more rights in the event of divorce.
She also faces charges of money laundering and violating exchange control laws for which she is still standing trial.
Matters became even worse for Mubaiwa in 2020 when she was arrested for slapping nanny Delight Munyoro across the face outside Harare’s elite Hellenic school as she was collecting her son. Harare magistrate Learnmore Mapiye acquitted her after agreeing with her lawyer that the evidence provided was unreliable because witnesses gave many different versions of events.
This week, Mubaiwa told the Sunday Times by phone that her health was deteriorating and she was in great pain.
“I am not well at all and I feel that if I had gone out of the country to seek better treatment I would be better, but the court refused to give me my passport as part of bail conditions,” she said.
Since her first arrest in 2019, Mubaiwa said, she has not been able to see her children and has spiralled into depression.
“Especially not seeing my children is very painful to me. Sometimes I start having thoughts of committing suicide — and don’t be surprised [if I do]. I have not spoken to my kids and I have not seen them since 2019,” she said.
“In a couple of days, it will be my daughter and my son’s birthdays. I have not spoken to them even over the phone.
“My lawyers have written to [Chiwenga’s] lawyers many times for me to get access to my children but that has not helped.”
Contacted for comment, presidential spokesperson George Charamba said: “My brother, I don’t intrude in people’s homes.”
Chiwenga’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
Mubaiwa said: “Our children have nothing to do with what is happening between us … These are young children. I always ask myself what he says to them about me. These are kids who need their mother.”
Mubaiwa insists she is innocent. “I spent nights and days crying, asking God: ‘Why did you let this happen to me?’ Everything I am accused of, I didn’t do it.”
“Right now, I am so sick. I am having challenges with my legs that are swollen and so painful and the doctors told me after the amputation of my right arm that my body has too much fluid.”
Mubaiwa said she is penniless. “I stay at my parents’ home because I have nothing. I don’t have a house and even a car, so I am under my parents’ care. I have a well-equipped clinic which I had built from my personal funds in Domboshava [outside Harare] but I was blocked from accessing it.”
Asked if she had appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa for help, she said she didn’t want to involve him in a personal matter.
Chiwenga, meanwhile, has moved on, tying the knot with army Col Miniyothabo Baloyi, 46, in June.
In a statement, cabinet secretary Misheck Sibanda said Mnangagwa and his wife, Auxillia, wished the couple “a lifelong partnership full of love and affection”.
Asked how she felt about Chiwenga’s remarriage, she said: “I wish them all the happiness in the world.” –The Sunday Times