State Institutions must not be used to settle domestic challenges

By Pride Mkono

As women’s rights organizations we are concerned and worried at the ongoing saga involving the Vice President Dr. CGN Chiwenga and his wife, Marry Chiwenga, we note that private matters such as divorce should remain within the realm of private life. It is equally important that parties involved treat these issues as such.

It would be worrisome if parties used their proximity to State institutions to push these to settle personal challenges with their spouses.

Since the Chiwenga couple’s divorce proceedings commenced over the last several months, the nation has been gripped by what is turning out to be an embarrassing yet disquieting turn of events.

It must be noted that the couple has had a blissful marriage life which has been blessed with children and prior to the ugly turn of events, it appeared in public blossoming in the sunshine of its love. It is therefore disturbing that since their fall-out, things have turned terribly nasty especially for Marry Chiwenga.

She has been arrested and arraigned before the courts and eventually granted bail after long proceedings at the High Court. If she is guilty of the offences for which she was arrested, then justice will take its course but in the meantime, she should enjoy her presumption of innocence.

Therefore, it is distressing that courts should seem to be working on a presumption of guilt so much as to deny her the much-needed medical attention she requires.

While we are not medical practitioners, our sense of humanity informs us that Marry Chiwenga is visibly unwell and in need of medical attention which may not be readily available in Zimbabwe.

It is therefore in the best interest of her right to life that at a minimum, she goes for treatment. We understand that this is a matter before the courts and will therefore only give our opinion and not instruct the courts as to the determination they must make on this matter.

Further, we appeal to the Honourable Vice President CGN Chiwenga to allow Marry Chiwenga access to their children. As women, some of us being mothers, we understand the pain of being separated from our children hence our call for the couple to find common ground where it can share in the growth of its kids.

In the final call, we also note that State institutions must not be used to settle domestic differences.

This is in respect of allegations by Marry that some sections of the security forces were used to remove her property from one of the couple’s homes. We therefore urge the couple, whose stature attracts national attention, to resolve their differences amicably and to give their children an enabling environment for them to grow and attain their full potential as they themselves have been able to do.

For and on behalf of:

Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE)

Economic Justice for Women Project (EJWP)

Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST)

Female Pensioners Support Trust

Rural Young Women Support Trust