BULAWAYO – Former police chief Augustine Chihuri has sensationally accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of having a non-consensual affair with his pregnant ex-wife.
Chihuri, now exiled in South Africa following a 2017 military coup that ousted former President Robert Mugabe, makes the shock claim in papers filed at the Harare High Court on Friday, challenging moves to seize his properties over allegations that they were proceeds of corruption.
The former police Commissioner General who loyally stood by Mugabe and refused to join the coup plot claims he is being targeted by a vindictive Mnangagwa.
“I wish to put it on record that the social relationship between Mnangagwa and myself has been broken since the liberation struggle and has degenerated into personal hate…,” Chihuri said in an affidavit accompanying his application seeking the quashing of an unexplained wealth order against him.
Chihuri falls short of accusing Mnangagwa of raping his ex-wife, after they got married at a war camp in Chimoio in Mozambique in 1976, before she fell pregnant a year later. The woman and Chihuri divorced in 1988, and she now lives in the United Kingdom.
“The current President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, aware of this union and pregnancy and using his position, got my then wife transferred to Shai Shai where Mr Mnangagwa had a forced affair with her as she alleged,” Chihuri claims.
Chihuri says when he attempted to end his marriage, ZANU’s political commissar Mayor Urimbo warned him that Mnangagwa was a “dangerous man and would behead me as he was not hesitant to kill.” Urimbo apparently feared that when reasons for the separation became known, this would cause embarrassment to Mnangagwa who was one of the senior leaders of the guerrilla movement at the time.
Mnangagwa instructed Chihuri’s wife to terminate the pregnancy, the former top claims, but the attempted abortion failed.
Chihuri says he was informed by one of Mnangagwa’s aides in ZANU’s security department that Mnangagwa had vowed that Chihuri would “pay” for not giving up on his wife.
Through his lawyer Addington Chinake, Chihuri says moves to seize his properties stem from a “personal matter being turned into a national spectacle for the purpose of victimisation.”
He claims his family has been targeted for personal annihilation, in part for “my refusal to participate in the November 2017 coup.”
Justice Felistas Chatukuta granted an application by prosecutor-general Kumbirai Hodzi for an order compelling Chihuri and his wife, Isobel Halima Khan, to explain how they acquired their properties as part of a process to seize them.
Chihuri is accused of pilfering US$32 million from the Zimbabwe Republic Police that he allegedly used to acquire a massive portfolio of properties.
He denies corruption and claims he ran successful businesses which he started with a loan from a local bank.
Chihuri raises several constitutional questions about the manner in which the National Prosecuting Authority has set about hunting down his assets, and freezing them.
Chihuri says the June 12 ‘unexplained wealth order’ which requires him to prove his innocence against alleged criminal activity violates his right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty, guaranteed by section 70 of the constitution.
“By allowing the court to make an ex parte order which is final in nature against the applicants without affording them a right to be heard, section 37B(1) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act violates the applicants’ right to protection of the law as enshrined in section 56(1) of the constitution… and the right to a fair hearing as enshrined in section 69 of the constitution,” Chihuri says in the application also filed on behalf of his wife, children and five companies.
“By limiting itself only to people who hold property whose value is greater than US$100,000, section 37C(1) of the Act unfairly and discriminately targets the applicants on the basis of their social and economic status in violation of section 56(3) of the constitution.
“Section 37(B)1 as read with section 371 of the Act violate the applicants’ property rights as enshrined in section 71(2) of the constitution by taking away their liberty to deal with their property as they please on the basis of an unexplained wealth order which was filed, heard and granted in breach of the audi alterum partem rule.”
Chihuri denies corruption, and instead says he started his companies with the help of a loan from a local bank, and made millions from farming activities.
He also defends his wife who was a supplier for the ZRP, insisting that other spouses of police and military commanders were also granted such tenders – like Jocelyn Chiwenga who supplied the ZRP with traffic police sleeves and Mary Chiwenga who was the government’s travel agent.