THE old adage that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” has come to haunt Zanu PF politburo member and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo as his ex-wife, Marian, has thrown her hat into the political ring in the Zanu PF primary elections for the Zvimba North constituency, currently held by Chombo.
Report by Staff Writer
Marian’s candidature turns Zvimba North primaries into a dramatic and unpredictable three-horse race as Edwin Matibiri and Chombo are already vigorously campaigning to represent the party in general elections expected later this year.
Zanu PF insiders in Zvimba North confirmed Marian and Matibiri were attempting to break Chombo’s 18-year stranglehold on the constituency.
Chombo first won the right to represent the seat uncontested in 1995 and has gone on to be re-elected in 2000, 2005 and 2008. He never faced primary elections in the previous four polls, but that has changed this year.
“Marian has entered the race to challenge Chombo,” said a party source. “She has set up a team which started moving around the constituency campaigning for support for her ahead of primaries widely expected in February.”
Marian was married to Chombo for about 20 years until they acrimoniously divorced last year.
The divorce papers which became a major talking point after being carried in the media, gave a glimpse of Chombo’s fabulous wealth, much of it accumulated after he became a government minister in the 1990s. Before that he was a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. The couple finally decided on an out of court settlement to avoid further revelations of their vast wealth.
Under the settlement Marian walked away with properties including the 1 200-hectare New Allan Grange Farm in Raffingora and all farming implements, as well as an unspecified number of vehicles.
The farm is at the centre of Zvimba North constituency, giving Marian easy access to the area.
Both Marian and Chombo were not readily available for comment with Chombo said to be on his annual holiday in Dubai. However, an insider said Marian and Matibiri are receiving much support from some of the party’s Mashonaland West provincial executive members. The provincial executive is deeply divided along factional lines which once resulted in chairman John Mafa being suspended for two years before his re-election in 2012.
“Both Chombo’s challengers are receiving support from some senior party members and we are likely to see a drawn-out battle among the three,” the source said.