Wednesday 3 May 2023


The legal proceedings over the divorce of Bona Nyepudzai Ouma Mugabe, daughter of former President Robert Mugabe, and Simbarashe Mutsahuni Chikore are likely to involve complex disputes over how assets they hold individually and jointly, as Chikore has listed 21 farms, more than 25 upmarket residential properties, cash, plus companies and movable properties worth millions of US dollars.

While Bona Mugabe in her original divorce petition sees the marriage as irretrievably broken down, Chikore thinks in his response that the couple’s marriage is capable of restoration provided they get genuine counselling and family support, although he qualified this by suggesting there is interference from third parties and personal agendas.

Since Zimbabwe adopted the no-fault civil divorce in the early 1980s, for all practical purposes if one person in a couple sees no hope of reconciliation then the divorce goes through. The courts in recognising or organising the subsequent settlement start off with the minor children, with custody, visiting rights and the like being set according to the best interests of the children, and as they get older taking ever more account of their own wishes.

Since there can be no punishment of either partner in awarding custody or ensuring children are supported, the rules are fairly simple.

The division of income needed for the support of each child, and in many cases for the adults, also follows well-laid down precedents, with complexities like the use, or even division of income-producing assets, coming into play at this point. 

While Bona Mugabe wanted the asset division issues postponed, with the divorce, child support and custody issues sorted out first, Chikore, who is being represented by Mr Rogers Matsikidze, has drawn up a long list of properties in his counter claim, and wants this untangled so the two are not stuck together in property issues as if they are in a joint venture.

 As can be common with couples where there could be a lot of assets, Chikore accuses Bona of “unreasonably” refusing to settle, and lots of falsehoods have been channelled insinuating that he is after her property, yet he is claiming what the couple acquired during the subsistence of their union. The property claimed is just a drop in the ocean, according to Chikore, if it is to be compared with what is certainly Ms Mugabe’s.

“Defendant (Chikore) is not claiming even a thread thereof. Defendant contributed to acquiring the properties acquired through his savings from his former jobs as a pilot and the farming venture,” read Chikore’s plea.

In addition, Chikore says he contributed through earnings and donations from his father-in-law for work, jobs and special assignments done on behalf of his father-in-law.

“There is much input through direct and indirect contribution wherein the defendant contributed to the assets, both movable and immovable, acquired during the subsistence of his marriage.”

Bona Mugabe filed for divorce from Chikore in March this year, on the grounds that there was a total breakdown with no prospects for restoring the union. She is seeking an order for a decree of divorce.

The couple tied the knot on March 1, 2014, in a lavish ceremony at her father’s private home in Harare’s plush Borrowdale suburb. Thousands of people attended the no-expense-spared family event broadcast live by the ZBC-TV.

The wedding also drew the attention of the world after it was attended by African heads of State and government and other high level dignitaries.

According to the court papers, the parties have lost all love and affection for each other and have been living apart for more than nine months. Bona Mugabe cited Mr Chikore’s activities outside marriage as one reason for the breakdown.

The couple have three children aged seven, five and two. Ms Mugabe is also seeking full custody of the children arguing that it was in their best interests but with Chikore granted access to them every alternate weekend, but Chikore wants the opposite. The courts will have to decide on what is best for the children.

She also seeks maintenance for the children of US$2 700 monthly per child until they attain their majority or become self-sustaining, whichever occurs first.”

Ms Mugabe said during the subsistence of the marriage, the parties jointly and individually acquired movable and immovable property but dealing with the property issues in the divorce suit would delay the grant of the divorce decree.

 In his counter claim, Chikore wants all properties acquired during the subsistence of their marriage or donated to them as a couple to be shared equally.

According to Chikore before and during the marriage, he claims to have acquired or was given shares or owns solely or jointly, through donations and or in inheritance, the following residential properties:Herald


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