General Chiwenga marriage on the rocks

One of President Mugabe’s closest personal advisors is said to be trying to mediate
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The marriage between General Constantine Chiwenga and his wife, Jocelyn, is on the brink of collapse.

Government insiders confirmed this week that the relationship between the Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander and his wife has “turned sour and almost broken down” due to sharp differences.

The issue has become so problematic that one of President Robert Mugabe’s closest personal advisors is said to be mediating.

“The two are having serious marital problems. They are in the middle of a bitter quarrel which has forced them to consider divorce. The issue is not yet with lawyers because a senior aide to President Mugabe is trying to resolve the issue but the situation is almost beyond retrieval,” a senior government official said.

This was corroborated by a close family member who said: “It’s common knowledge within our family and circle of friends that they are having serious matrimonial problems and could end up divorcing.”

The relative said the problem has been “a series of misunderstandings on marriage relationship matters”.

Repeated efforts to get comment from the Chiwengas were unsuccessful.

“I’m aware of the situation and there are people trying to manage it to avoid a public quarrel which could embarrass them and the president as well,” a government official close to their family said.

“Family members and one senior government official close to the president are dealing with the situation. It’s very difficult to resolve because the couple’s differences are almost irreconcilable.”

Lawyers have not yet been brought in as Mugabe’s advisor is still mediating.

The Chiwengas are among Zanu-PF’s wealthy elite and they own several businesses and farms. They live in Borrowdale.

The general has generally kept a largely low public profile, being overshadowed by his vociferous wife, Jocelyn, who has had tiffs with white farmers, journalists and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

In 2008 she harangued and harassed Tsvangirai and journalists who had accompanied the MDC leader on a tour of supermarkets in Harare after Mugabe’s scorched earth policy of price freezes which left shop shelves empty.

She caused a scene at the South African-owned Makro Wholesalers at Hillside in Harare, where she threatened to “take away” Tsvangirai’s “manhood”.

In a fit of rage, she also slapped freelance photographer Tsvangirai Mukwazhi.

Two other journalists sustained minor injuries in the ensuing fracas.

In April 2002 she reportedly showed up at a farm outside Harare with an armed gang and ordered the white owner to turn over his property to her or he would be killed. “I have not tasted white blood for 20 years,” she reportedly said.

The following year Jocelyn accosted Gugu-lethu Moyo, a lawyer for the closed Daily News newspaper, and beat her so severely that she needed medical treatment. “Your paper wants to encourage anarchy in this country,” she yelled at the lawyer.

General Chiwenga, 54, maintained a low profile until Mugabe’s political career came under threat from Tsvangirai.

He declared that he would not salute Tsvangirai even if he won the elections and became president.

Known as Dominic Chinenge before 1987, the general is now seen as one of the hardliners in the military who want Mugabe to die in office.

Since taking over as commander of the ZDF, Chiwenga has become a very powerful figure in Zimbabwe. Mugabe now mainly depends on him for political survival.

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