As women’s rights organisations we are concerned and worried at the ongoing saga involving the Vice President Dr CGN Chiwenga and his wife Mary 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 have had a blissful marriage life which has been blessed with children and prior to the ugly turn of events they appeared in public blossoming in the sunshine of their love. It is therefore disturbing that since their fall out things have turned terribly nasty especially for Mary 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 for then justice will take its course but in the meantime, she should enjoy her presumption of innocence.
While we are not medical practitioners, our sense of humanity informs us that Mary 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 HHHonourable Vice President CGN Chiwenga to allow Mary Chiwenga access to their children. As women, some of us being mothers, we understand the pain of being separated from children hence our call for the couple to find common ground where they can share in the growth of their 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 Mary Chiwenga 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, while stature attract 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 the statement was issued by the following organisations, WALPE, FEMPRIST, Rural Young Women Support Network and CHITREST.