- Mubaiwa is accused of laundering about $1 million to South Africa in pretense of paying for goods that were never brought to the country.
- Mubaiwa is also accused of trying to deny the vice president access to medication when he was flown to South Africa in July for emergency treatment.
- Zimbabwe’s Anti-Corruption Commission pursued a number of top profile figures last year, jailing some.
The wife of Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, has been charged with fraud, money laundering, and attempted murder of her husband. Marry Mubaiwa, who waved to journalists as she entered the court’s holding cells, appeared before Harare Magistrates Court on Monday, whereby the magistrate ordered that she remains in custody pending a bail hearing. Mubaiwa, who was described by the state-run newspaper Herald as “the estranged wife” of Chiwenga, was arrested on Saturday and spent the weekend in custody.
Mubaiwa is accused of laundering about $1 million to South Africa in pretense of paying for goods that were never brought to the country. According to the charge sheet, Mubaiwa is also accused of trying to deny the vice president access to medication when he was flown to South Africa in July for emergency treatment. She insisted that he stay in a hotel room rather than a hospital. The charge sheet stated that the security officers then took Chiwenga to hospital.
On July 8, it is alleged that Mubaiwa went to the hospital, asked the security detail to leave, and that “while alone” with the vice president she “unlawfully removed the medical intravenous drip as well as central venous catheter,” causing him to bleed profusely, according to the charge sheet. It is alleged that she then forced her husband off the hospital bed and tried to leave the ward before she was intercepted by the security officers.
Chiwenga, the former head of the armed forces, who suffers from “idiopathic esophagus stricture,” later went to China for medical treatment for four months and returned to the country last month. The former beauty queen has not been seen in public with the husband since he returned from China. She was seen to be very close to the husband before and immediately after he led the military coup that ousted the late former president, Robert Mugabe. The 63 year old Chiwenga is a controversial figure who has been blamed by many for the current repression in the country.
Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has described fighting corruption as a top priority since assuming power in 2017. Zimbabwe’s Anti-Corruption Commission, which brought out the money laundering and fraud charges against Mubaiwa, pursued a number of top profile figures last year, jailing some. However, critics have said that the commission is politicized and targets enemies of senior officials in the government.
Zimbabwe is suffering a profound economic crisis, a situation brought about by poor governance under Mugabe. It reminds many of the economic collapse over a decade ago, when shelves ran dry and the country had to abandon its currency. At the moment, many people in the country rely on food aid. Aid workers have said that in the rural areas the situation is worse even though malnutrition has also hit the cities.