BY BLESSING MASAKADZA
VICE President Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife Marry’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa yesterday described the charge her client is facing as a “legal nullity” and “nonsensical”.
Marry is currently standing trial for allegedly providing false information that Chiwenga had consented to their marriage at a time he was seriously ill.
Mtetwa made the remarks during the cross examination of State witness, High Court judge, Justice Munamato Mutevedzi, who was then chief magistrate and marriage officer at the time the offence is said to have been committed in 2019.
Mutevedzi had told the court that Chiwenga and Marry never reached the stage of consent as the couple was supposed to appear before him and swear to affidavits and append their signatures.
He said consent is a requirement of the law and a marriage would be incomplete without signatures and declarations of the parties under oath.
“The administrative preparations were done, but legal preparations had not been done. I never spoke to them or met them. I was to administer the oath, but did not reach that stage,” Mutevedzi said.
This prompted Mtetwa to point out that the charge was “nonsensical” since the issue of consent was never reached. This was also echoed by the Judicial Services Commission secretary Walter Chikwanha who testified that consent comes from the signatures and declaration by both parties and that according to the Marriages Act, both parties have to be physically present.
Meanwhile, there was a bit of drama during the trial yesterday as State witnesses contradicted each other. Marry’s personal assistant Nyarai Bwanya told the court that while in India, the former model was in contact with Chikwanha, who then introduced her to Mutevedzi to arrange the wedding.
This was disputed by Chikwanha, who said he got to know of the wedding after he was called by Mutevedzi, indicating that he had been called by the then judge president George Chiweshe, who informed him Chiwenga wanted his marriage solemnised.
Mutevedzi had also indicated that he never spoke to Marry or the vice president and never met them, resulting in Mtetwa accusing Bwanya of lying and being roped into a “scheme to lie against” Marry.
Prosecutors allege that in 2019, Marry made a false representation to Chiweshe that Chiwenga had consented to wed under the Marriage Act 5:11 on July 2, 2019 at their place of residence in Borrowdale Brooke, Harare.
Marry allegedly submitted copies of national identity documents of both parties to Chiweshe without Chiwenga’s knowledge and consent.
In her defence, Marry argues that Chiwenga knew about the wedding having agreed to it at the customary roora ceremony. She claims he even suggested the date of the wedding and even wanted President Emmerson Mnangagwa to be his best man on the day. – Daily News