By Dr Masimba Mavaza | In the past weeks the social media was awash with words of sympathy for Mary Chiwenga who is said to be being unfairly treated by the Vice President of Zimbabwe. Many women in the UK believe that the treatment of Mary Chiwenga reflects the government treatment of women.
It is one of the points taken up by the MDC in the UK who are adding that on the list of their grievances and demonstrate against cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa when he comes to Scotland.
This is one of the clear signs of desperation exhibited by the MDC and all those who purport to be human rights advocates.
The starting point is that the Mary Mubaiwa issue has nothing to do with govt. Chiwenga despite being the VP, has a private life and it must be respected. We must all understand that where an individual may be considered by some to be a role model, that individual’s private life may not be less deserving of protection than yours or mine. Behind Gen Chiwenga there is a human being and his personal life and which wife he marries must not reflect a policy on women. Zimbabwe does not need to be measured by personal actions of one man.
The respect of women by the Zim government is far beyond the way they are respected in other countries. We as Zimbabweans must beat our chest with pride for encompassing the women and women’s rights.
The VP decided to end his relationship with Madam Marry Chiwenga; that was his choice it has no input from the government.
Ending a long term relationship is always hard but sometimes it gets ugly really ugly despite the most courageous efforts for it to be otherwise.
It doesn’t always take two to tango unless you count one to set the pace and one to get dragged along in a savage tailwind. Of course, when there are two people acting to maim, the ugliness will be all the uglier, but it only takes one person being nasty, unreasonable and manipulative to turn a relationship malignant.
Ending a bad relationship doesn’t make the toxicity immediately wash away. Sometimes it will get worse before it gets better but always, if the relationship was a bad one, it will be worth it. Walking away takes self-respect, self-love and courage and is the only way to position yourself (and your kids if you have them) for the life you deserve. Gone are the days when divorces are only done and managed by men. These days women do cause and make the divorce ugly.
You can’t change other people, but you would know that by now it’s probably this wisdom that walked you out the door. If your divorce has turned into a slugfight, there are ways to look after yourself (and your kids) until you reach solid ground which you will.
Sometimes as a father you have this need to protect your children so you keep them away from the battle ground. This is important. It’s also really hard to keep your children away from their mother but we can not blame Constantino Chiwenga without looking at the case on the ground. Ask yourself, with an open heart, if you will be doing everything you can to be reasonable in a divorce. None of us are perfect and a divorce can make the best of us act how to put it without losing you in ways that we might not be proud of.
In every divorce, high emotion, shame and heartache can steal you some people do hand over their dignity by acting in ways that are beneath them. Sometimes it’s the only thing they can’t touch. Be honest, brave and always self-respectful.
Many times people divorce but we never put the cruel tag on their companies they work for. Why do we put a tag on ZANU PF for a personal war in the Vice President’s bedroom.
A divorce is many things, politics is not one of them. The end of a relationship doesn’t mean your decision to be with your ex-partner in the first place was flawed. The success of a relationship isn’t determined by how long it lasts. The investment of love and energy in a relationship will always be worth it, but it won’t necessarily guarantee forever. The past is the past and sometimes love, time, commitment and desire don’t stretch as far ahead in years as we’d like them to – and that’s okay. People change. Circumstances change. Relationships change. Psychology researcher Daniel Gilbert and colleagues found that “people underestimate how much they will change in the future. We change a lot. Sometimes it’s in the same direction as the person we love and sometimes we veer sharply in a different one.
Sometimes we wake up next to each other and realise we couldn’t be further apart. It happens. It’s part of being human.” So Chiwenga and Marry made their decision, which cannot be measured by the party or nation Chiwenga represents. Zanu pf has a limit. It ends where your door starts. Once you are in your house it is not a rally or a parliament. It is a house.
In Zimbabwe you have the right to live your life privately without government interference and without the press dragging your life to the public domain.
This covers things like your right to determine your sexual orientation, your lifestyle, and the way you look and dress. Life changes sharply when a relationship breaks down. You don’t have to do everything the way you used to. You don’t have to do everything, fullstop. You just have to do enough. Figure out what that looks like and go with it. You deserve the freedom that comes from that. So people must not expect Marry Chiwenga to be given the treatment she got when she was the 2nd Lady.
Before we judge Chiwenga we must remember that when a marriage or relationship breaks down it will likely bring shame, and breathe life into every fear of not being good enough, normal enough, successful enough and perhaps most heartbreakingly, loveable enough. People have all sorts of responses to shame, some of which are completely unfathomable to those of us looking in from the outside. When shame is involved, people will do anything to protect themselves.
Being the wife or husband of the President of a country can’t exactly be an easy role to take on and yet the partners in the first or second families have no other option. Having a husband who is the head of a country comes with its own benefits, sure, but it also comes with a lot of pressure and public scrutiny. It has to be especially tough for the partners divorcing while they are used to live in the spotlight.
People tend to make decisions and judge without looking in the case on the round.
Presidential partners also have to follow a strict set of rules and guidelines that affect everything from how they act in public, to where they go, to their daily life at home. Some of these rules can be, and have been, broken by the president’s wives but that decision can come with a lot of backlash.
Marry Chiwenga nee Mubaiwa is an ex-model and the ex wife of Vice President of Zimbabwe, Constantino Chiwenga who is a Retired Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. She was once married to Shingi Kaondera, a footballer who played for Caps United Football Club. She was the patron and chairperson of the Miss Zimbabwe Trust until her resignation in February 2018.
In December 2019, Marry Chiwenga was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on fraud, money laundering and misrepresentation charges. The laundering charge involved buying a home in South Africa. The misrepresentation charge emanated from an apparent misrepresentation of her husband, vice president Chiwenga.
The problems of Marry Chiwenga and the law have nothing to do with her former husband the Vice president. The fact that the courts are making it hard for Marry to see her children and that the court demands her to come to court as and when she is wanted does not mean that the courts are compromised.
Chiwenga has no control of what happens in the courts. What is happening in the courts now simply shows the world that Zimbabwe respects the rule of law. Every one in Zimbabwe is equal before the law. Even if you are the ex of the Vice President you will be required to submit to the law. In this case there’s probably been a shift in power from one ex-partner to another. It’s likely Madam Mary will be feeling disempowered, ineffective and small. Cruelty is an attempt to reverse this by shrinking her ego.
But this is not done by the Party.
Marry Chiwenga must know that she is not out of control – just out of his control. Any choice she makes in independence will send a message like a slap that your’re no longer under their influence. As with anything, when what people have always done (control, disrespect, manipulate) stops working, they will do it even more before they stop. It’s human nature. Now we have the MDC manipulating the Chiwenga saga to their own advantage. The MDC now wants to use a private case as a reason to demonstrate in Scotland. Manipulation is a way for people to get what they want without being rejected, by taking away the option to say, ‘no’. For people who manipulate, ‘no’ doesn’t feel like a rejection of a request, it feels like a rejection of them. As a result, they’ll do whatever is necessary to get their needs met without putting themselves in the position of being rejected.
What is happening with Marry Mubaiwa and Constantino Chiwenga is a messy divorce. A messy divorce is one that’s particularly complicated, either through the couple’s ties to each other, or their varied attempts to sever them.
So trying to draw parallel lines between a private life of Chiwengas and government policy on women’s rights is too low even for the MDC. We must not measure the human rights levels of Zimbabwe with the happenings in Chiwenga’s private life.