Marry Mubaiwa has been found guilty of marriage fraud.

By BLESSING MASAKADZA in Harare

ZIMBABWEAN vice president Constantino Chiwenga’s ailing ex-wife Marry was yesterday convicted on charges of supplying false information that he had consented to wed her at a time he was seriously ill.

 With the State calling for her incarceration saying she was greedy and hoped Chiwenga would die and inherit his estate, Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube found her guilty saying there is overwhelming evidence that she lied about the marriage.

Lazini said the lies had prompted the Judge President, Justice George Chiweshe, to believe her, leading to him solemnising the marriage. Marry was remanded out of custody for sentencing today with her lawyers calling for a non-custodial sentence saying condemning her to prison would be fast-tracking her paralysis.

Allegations against Marry are that in July 2019 she made a false representation to then Judge President of the High Court, Chiweshe, that Chiwenga had consented to wed her under the Marriage Act 5:11 on July 2, 2019 at their place of residence in Harare.

Marry allegedly submitted copies of national identity documents of both parties to Chiweshe without Chiwenga’s knowledge and consent.

In her defence, Marry had argued that she could not have coerced a whole adult to enter into a marriage without his consent.

She insisted that the prosecution was part of her persecution through the use of the criminal justice system.

Her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the offence her client was convicted for was not heinous and that the statutory provision provides for an option of a fine.

She said sending Marry to jail would be akin to fast-tracking her paralysis as she is battling an imminent limb amputation.

Mtetwa submitted that society was of the view that Marry was being politically persecuted and, therefore, the court should not be swayed in sentencing her to jail because the complainant is powerful.

“Societal perception is that the accused is a victim of political persecution using the criminal justice system because the complainant is a powerful Vice-president.

“Sentence should not be influenced by the identity of the complainant. Sentencing is not for punishment or retribution but to reform. Sending an ill woman to jail will not serve that reformation,” she submitted.

 “Before her arrest, she was receiving treatment together with the husband who has continued receiving treatment. She has been denied that treatment and is facing the threat of a loss of a limb. This would be a case justified for a fine.

“She continues to be under medication and she attends to Doctor Chiwetu’s chambers daily for the management of her arm.

“Throughout the trial she has been assisted as she cannot operate on her own. Sending her to jail would be in effect an attempt to fast track her paralysis which the doctors are fighting to stop. She wouldn’t be allowed her mother or sister in prison to get assistance.

“Her being sent to jail will not serve anyone, a fine of $20 000 will suffice as no one was harmed by what the court found happened. It was an act of love which ought not to be punished,” she submitted.

The State however argued that although she was a first offender, Marry had started at the deep end of crime and a fine would trivialise the offence. 

The State said the defence was trying to bring politics in a non-political matter and that her health issues were of no consequence and Marry should be sent to jail.

“A fine will trivialise the offence. Her actions undermine the institution of marriage which should be entered into by consent and not misrepresentation. She was calculative and knew who to approach.

“Her actions were not motivated by love but greed. She sought to benefit from the estate of the husband. She thought he was going to die. She started at the deep end and the court must not feel pity for her,” the State said. – Daily News