The wife of Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has been charged with attempting to murder her husband.
Marry Mubaiwa appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court on Monday where she was also charged with money laundering and fraud.
Mubaiwa, who on Monday was described by the state-run Herald newspaper as “the estranged wife” of Chiwenga, waved to journalists as she entered the court’s holding cells.
The magistrate ordered that she remain in custody pending a bail hearing.
She is accused of trying to kill her husband in South Africa in July. First, she tried to deny medical treatment to Chiwenga by insisting he stay at a hotel instead of a hospital when he was flown to South Africa for emergency medical treatment, according to the charge sheet.
Security officers later took Chiwenga to hospital, the charge sheet said.
Mubaiwa allegedly went to the hospital on July 8, asked the security to leave the room and “while alone” with Chiwenga, she “unlawfully removed the medical intravenous drip as well as a central venous catheter”, causing him to bleed profusely, according to the charge sheet.
She forced her husband off the hospital bed and tried to lead him out of the ward before being intercepted by his security details, it was alleged.
Chiwenga later went to China where he received medical treatment for four months and he returned to Zimbabwe in November. On his return from China, Chiwenga said he was suffering from “idiopathic oesophageal stricture”.
Mubaiwa is also accused of laundering about $1m to neighbouring South Africa by pretending to pay for goods that were never brought into Zimbabwe, according to the charges. She was arrested by security forces on Saturday.
She was seen as close to her husband before and immediately after he led the military coup that forced the late former president, Robert Mugabe, to resign in 2017.
Mubaiwa faded from the limelight as she and her husband began to suffer ill-health, both with visibly swollen hands. She has not been seen in public with Chiwenga since he returned from China in November.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described fighting corruption as a top priority since assuming power in 2017. But critics and the opposition say the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is mainly targeting people viewed as dissenters.