Mugabe forces Chombo's wife to give in

HARARE – President Mugabe has forced his corky Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo's estranged wife Marian to narrow her claims to the family's property on divorce amid reports of threats being made to her life by State spy agents.\r\n

A pre-trial conference at the High Court cleared the way on how to split most of the property in dispute after an intervention by President Mugabe, sources said.

Sources said on Wednesday night, President Mugabe who is related to Dr Chombo, summoned the warring couples and pressured Marian to take what was available.

He also warned her not to use the media in their dispute. The poor woman was threatened of unspecified actions if she pursued an agenda the President said would tarnish the party and his image ahead of crucial general elections.

The major disagreement in the initial summons and pleas was over just what property did exist that had to be split.

But many items on the list submitted by Mrs Chombo in her reply to Dr Chombo’s summons have now been dropped and the divisions already agreed, or still in dispute, are generally those on Dr Chombo’s list with a few additions.

Both parties now agree Dr Chombo can keep a Norton stand, one of the two Queensdale blocks of four flats, a two-bedroomed flat on Mutare Road, a Mica Point stand in Kariba, a Glen View house, a Ruwa stand, two stands in Chinhoyi and all implements bought on hire purchase at Allan Grange Farm.

Mrs Chombo will get, by agreement, one bus, six truck horses, three trailers, a tanker, an 8-tonne truck, a Land Cruiser, a green Mercedes-Benz, a twin-cab Hardbody, a Nissan Wolf, the Greendale matrimonial home, the other block of four flats in Queensdale, the other Mutare Road two-bedroomed flat, two Shawasha Hills stands, the other Glen View house, the Ruwa plot and machinery on it, and all furniture at Allan Grange and an Alexandra Park house.

Dr Chombo refused to surrender 20 Borrowdal stands. 

Marian will also gets half the livestock on Allan Grange Farm.

Still to be decided by a judge is whether five other properties are subject to division and if so how should they be distributed.

These are a Mount Pleasant house, which Dr Chombo says he leases but does not own, a flat in the Avenues and a house in Avondale West, which Dr Chombo says belongs to his son and a relative, a house in Alexandra Park that Dr Chombo wants to keep, Allan Grange Farm and its equipment, and the Government and parliamentary vehicles.

The judge will also have to decide if Mrs Chombo will receive any maintenance; she is now asking for US$500 a month, down from her original claim of US$2 000.

Dr Chombo sued his wife for divorce last year, offering her a list of property very similar to what was finally agreed, minus the bus.

He also listed the property that he would like to keep as his share.

Mrs Chombo replied, but appended a much longer list of property she said had to be divided.

Dr Chombo replied stating that four of the vehicles on Mrs Chombo’s list were actually Govern-ment or party vehicles, and so could not be subject to the divorce settlement.

He denied owning, or even knowing about, quite a lot of the property listed by Mrs Chombo.

Dr and Mrs Chombo were married in 1993 under the Marriages Act, although they had an older customary union, and have two grown-up children. They split up around three years ago, but had an agreement made after their marriage that if they divorced they would split the property they had acquired evenly.

Dr Chombo is represented by Manase and Manase, while Mrs Chombo is represented by Sinyoro and Partners.