Wife of Zimbabwe’s VP charged with attempting to kill him

HARARE, ZIMBABWE (AP) – The wife of Zimbabwe’s Vice President has been charged with attempting to kill her husband.

Marry Chiwenga, a former model and wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, appeared at the Harare Magistrate’s Court yesterday where she was also charged with money laundering and fraud.

Wearing a floral dress, she waved to journalists as she entered the court’s holding cells.

The magistrate ordered that she remain in custody pending a bail hearing.

She is accused of trying to kill her husband in South Africa in July. First, she tried to deny medical treatment to Chiwenga by insisting he stay at a hotel instead of a hospital when he was flown to South Africa for emergency medical treatment, according to the charge sheet.

While Chiwenga was in the hospital on July 8, she went to his room, asked security to leave and, while alone with him, removed an intravenous drip and a catheter, causing him to bleed profusely, according to the charge sheet. She then forced him off the bed and tried to bring him out of the ward before being intercepted by his security detail, the charges said.

Chiwenga later went to China where he received medical treatment for four months and he returned to Zimbabwe in November. On his return, Chiwenga said he was suffering from a condition that narrowed or tightened his esophagus.

Marry Chiwenga is also accused of laundering about USD1 million to neighbouring South Africa by pretending to pay for goods that were never brought into Zimbabwe, according to the charges.

She was seen as close to her husband before and immediately after he led the military to force the late former president, Robert Mugabe, to resign in 2017.

She faded from the limelight as she and her husband began to suffer ill-health, both with visibly swollen hands. She has not been seen in public with Chiwenga since he returned from China in November. Yesterday, the state run Herald newspaper described her as “the estranged wife” of the vice president.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described fighting corruption as a top priority since assuming power in 2017. But critics and the opposition say the anti-corruption commission is mainly targetted people viewed as dissenters.