That is the shock outcome of a pre-trial conference that was held in Harare on February 17 in the absence of Marian. The move, which is devastating to Marian who has been fiercely campaigning for a fair share of Minister Chombo’s wealth, has prompted her to launch an urgent chamber application in a bid to accomplish two things: to stop the case from becoming a damp squib and to have another judge preside over the matter.
Marian made the application last week, through her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, arguing that letting the matter go to court as uncontested was tantamount to walking away from 26 years of marriage with nothing.
Judge President George Chiweshe ruled the divorce case be set down for March 1 on an unopposed roll at a pre-trial conference that was held on February 17.
“The Honourable Judge President breached one of the most fundamental rights in making a decision that affects my rights without affording me the right to be heard on why I was absent at the pre-trial conference,” said Marian.
In her founding affidavit, she said it was painful that the matter was set down as an uncontested matter, yet it was a known fact that she was contesting the matter.
An uncontested motion would mean that she would only get what the minister offered, yet Marian has produced a long and shocking list of properties that she says belong to her estranged husband.
Chombo however denies the authenticity of the list insisting that it was an exaggeration. He is on record saying the value of his property is nowhere near that list, adding that he legitimately acquired whatever is in his name.
Marian further revealed that she was advised that a pre-trial conference was not obligatory, and to have her defence struck off without any proper notice, constituted a gross misdirection on the part of the judge.
Justice Chiweshe is a relative, says Marian
Marian said she always feared she would not get a fair divorce hearing.
“I say this as I am aware that the Respondent (Chombo) and the Judge President know each other very well and when I got married to the Chombo family, the Chiweshes were introduced to me as vana sekuru (uncles).
“I now formally request that the judge President not deal with this matter at all in any capacity, including allocating it as I do not have the confidence that he would do so dispassionately and in the normal course given the fact he was happy to grant the order in the circumstances described above.”