TOP BILLING DIVORCE: Bona’s husband wants the prince’s slice of the cake
Their lavish, no expense spared wedding in the Spring of 2014, arguably became Zimbabwe’s wedding of the decade. Organised at a cost of nearly 5 million dollars, it was a top billing event attended by African heads of states, diplomats, celebrities, politicians and close family and friends.
Broadcasted live on state TV, this was a moment of collective national pride as the First Daughter was walked down the aisle by her revered statesman father, Robert Mugabe, crossing into the world of matrimony and be united with the love of her life, Simba Chikore, to love and to hold, and live happily ever after.
But, in perspective, happily ever after could be just but a tall tale of fantasy, for – hardly a full decade into the union, one party has already had enough of it and wants out.
It was Bona who kicked off the ball and setting the divorce match underway in March 2023 when she quietly filed for divorce at the High Court, claiming their marriage had broken down beyond redemption.
She had hoped for an amicable settlement, away from the public eye. In her initial filing, Bona had requested that the High Court deals with the estate issues separately from the divorce at a later date. What she prayed for in the immediate was the full custody of their three kids, with Simba being granted access every alternate weekend. She also demanded USD2700 per month per child.
But her hopes for a stealth, peaceful settlement was scuttled the moment her estranged husband, Simba, filed his plea papers at the High Court. In a flash, the couple’s divorce row was top news across local news platforms, drawing the interest of the common man and woman in the street. With the way things have kicked off, it’s only natural and sufficient that this divorce is receiving the same grand prominence given to the wedding nearly ten years ago and touting it as the “divorce of the decade” is not an exaggeration.
THE LONG THREAD OF WEALTH WHICH IS NOT EVEN A THREAD THEREOF
In his High Court papers seen by the media, Chikore claims ownership of the vast wealth the couple held during the subsistence of their ten-year-old marriage. Some, he maintains, was acquired by way of savings from his pilot job, proceeds from farming ventures, donations from his father-in-law, remunerations, and rewards from the late statesman for work and “special assignments” done on his behalf.
“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”, read Chikore’s papers.
And in support of the claim, the papers listed the properties which the defendant claims to have ownership in. The list, which seemed to cascade endlessly, shocked many Zimbabweans, and ignited raging wildfire conversations on social media about wealth accumulation by the powerful elites versus a broken-down economy which makes basic property acquisition for the common citizen, like a modest residential stand, an unattainable dream.
And Chikore maintains what he is claiming “is not even a thread” of what her outgoing partner Bona owns individually.
Part of the properties listed by Chikore include 21 farms, some located in the periphery of Harare and others in the highly productive Mazowe Valley, more than 25 residential properties spanning from Harare’s opulent Borrowdale suburb to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, cash amounting to USD 760 000 moved by Bona from the couple’s Qourn Street home, USD 129 000 from farm sales, shares in companies, expensive motor vehicles ranging from Rolls Royces to Bentleys.
Even though he concedes that the marriage has broken down, Simba still has hoped the union can be salvaged from the rocks it’s currently sitting on. He cites the influence of third parties as the biggest hindrance to their reconciliation, but still, believes professional counseling, if given a chance, can save what’s left of the relationship.
However, the divorce can still proceed even when Simba had other hopes. Zimbabwe upholds the no-fault civil divorce instrument which allows for divorce to sail through if the other part of the couple sees no hope of reconciliation and claims to have lost all affection for the other.
The couple are said to have been on separation for nine months prior to the divorce filing. Bona cites Simba’s activities outside wedlock as the contributor to the marriage’s failure.