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.
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:
Stand 287 Helensvale of 3,497ha valued at US$314 730.
Stand 288 Helensvale of 1,4207ha valued at US$305 000.
Stand 268 Helensvale of 1,3226ha valued at US$284 000.
Stand 306 Carrick Creagh of 1,8034ha valued at US$386 500.
Stand 307 Carrick Creagh of 2,5133ha valued at US$539 000.
Stand 308 Carrick Creagh of 1,3733ha valued at US$294 000.
Stand 309 Carrick Creagh of 1,6775ha valued at US$359 464
Stand 312 Carrick Creagh of 2.3311ha valued at US$499 500
Stand 313 Carrick Creagh of 2.6676ha valued at US$571 628.
Stand 347 Carrick Creagh of 1.3733ha valued at US$294 000.
Stand 348 Carrick Creagh of 0,712ha valued at US$152 571.
Stand 349 Carrick Creagh of 1.4407ha valued at US$308 721.
Stand 99 Carrick Creagh valued at US$180 000.
Stand 61 Helensvale valued at US$4 300 000.
Stand 40 Helensvale of 8,6257ha valued at US$1 848 364.29.
The remainder of Helensvale of 73.3819ha valued at US$40 000 000.
Stand 466 Carrick Creagh called Teede Land of 54,8726ha valued at US$11 758 414,29
Stand 27 Quorn Avenue valued at US$550 000.
Stand in Milton Park valued at US$330 000.
Lot 5 Helensvale of 2.4019ha valued at US$514 692.86.
The Mansion 657 Dubai has an estimated value of AED 30 million.
Chikore in his counter-claim also says he acquired or was given shares or owns solely or jointly, through donations and or in inheritance, the following twenty-one (21) farms and properties:
Rosam farm of 104.2335ha.
Smithfield Farm of 3280.5898ha.Gushungo Estate/remainder of Foyle 1200ha.
Iron Mask farm 207,8205ha.
Cressy Dale 945,037ha.
Cressy Dale Lot Two 184,534ha.
John O’Groats 669,5ha.
Lot 1 Swan dale 155,482ha.
Lot 2 Swan dale 101,84ha.
Vusumuzi Banket farm 3182ha
Teviotdale Kaseplan farm 310,6189ha.
• Remainder of Teviotdale 186,46ha.
Buckland Estate 280ha.
Yarrow Dale Farm 2516,3358ha.
Lemon Pool 102,5766ha.
Lot B of Greater B 404,6744ha.
Benissa Farming Company 1248,8033ha.
Chikore further claims that before and during the marriage he acquired or was given shares or owns solely or jointly, through donations and or in inheritance, a Rolls Royce car with a value of AED 2 900 000.
He then lists immovable properties which he says are owned jointly with the shareholding registered in both names:
Stand 152 Lunar Road of 12.0748ha valued at US$8.5 million.
Stand Number 153 Lunar Road of 12,509ha valued at US$5.1 million.
Stand 1820 Chishawasha valued at US$50 000.
Stand 1837 Chishawasha valued at US$87 000.
Mwenewazvo/Sigaro farm of 873 hectares plus cash of US$760 000 in a bag removed by Ms Mugabe from their residence. In addition, the sum of US$129 000 that Chikore says he gave to Ms Mugabe for farm sales.
The parties also acquired the following vehicles jointly:
Range Rover Autobiography $140 000
Nissan NP300 AES 7205 $10 000
Nissan NP300 AES 7177 $10 000
NP300 AES 7203 $10 000
Nissan El Grand AFM 8548 $7000
Dodge Nitro ADI 6535 $7000
Toyota Landcruiser AFM 8549 $27 000
Range Rover Sport AEF 5922 (accident damaged) $30 000
Range Rover Sport AEC 6243 (2009) $10 000
Toyota Landcruiser AFM8550 $25 000
Mercedes S500 AEN 0355 $12 000
Mercedes S430 ADV7053 $8000
Bentley 101 (non-runner) $15 000
Mercedes GL 320 (non-runner) $7000
Yamaha motorbike $6500
Mercedes GL550 Dubai $13 000
Also on the near endless list is the farming equipment and machinery worth millions of United States dollars.