ZIMBABWEAN Vice-President retired General Constantino Chiwenga seems to be chasing former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s record in serial marriages — or divorces — after it emerged he has a new wife, army Colonel Miniyothabo Baloyi, following his much-publicised acrimonious divorce with former model Marry Mubaiwa.
Chiwenga divorced Mubaiwa in 2019. Before that, he had left another former wife, Jocelyn Mauchaza, in 2010 for Mubaiwa. Prior to that, Chiwenga was married to another woman.
This means his marriage to Baloyi is the third in 12 years — an average of a new marital union or divorce every four years. Schroeder — a controversial figure in the Western political world due to his colourful personal life — is now in his fifth marriage after he tied the knot with his partner, Korean Kim So Yeon (48), on 2 May 2018 when he was 74.
That was the fifth marriage for the centre-left German politician, and the second for the Korean, an economic expert, not to be confused with the eponymous 37-year-old Korean actress.
The wedding was celebrated in grand style in Berlin. Schroeder split from his wife of 18 years, Doris Köpf, in 2016 and moved out of the family home into a separate apartment. In the process, Schroeder earned the nickname “Audi chancellor” during his political career, as he had worn as many wedding rings as the German car-maker’s four-ring symbol.
His other nickname is The Lord of the Rings, which now aptly fits Chiwenga. Schroeder wed Kopf, a former journalist, in 1997, but left their home in the upmarket area of Hanover in 2016.
The two had adopted two Russian children, Viktoria and Gregor, from orphanages in St Petersburg in July 2004 and 2006 respectively. Schroeder has now been married four times to: Eva Schubach (1968-1972); Anne Taschenmacher (1972-1984); Hiltrud Hampel, aka Hillu (1984-1997); Köpf (1997-2018) and now So Yeon.
Schroeder identifies himself as a protestant, but does not appear to be religious. He did not add the optional phrase So wahr mir Gott helfe formula (so help me God) when sworn in as chancellor for his first term in 1998. When he campaigned for re-election in 2002, the issue of his endless marriages and divorces — Chiwenga-style — was spoken about in political circles, although it was not part of the real issues.
Throughout the build-up to the 2002 German election, Schroeder’s Social Democrats and the Green Party under Joseph “Joschka” Fischer trailed the centre-right candidate, Bavarian and Christian Social Union leader Edmund Stoiber until the catastrophe caused by rising floodwater in Germany led to an improvement in his polling numbers.
Furthermore, his popular opposition to a war in Iraq dominated campaigning in the run-up to the polls. In the 22 September 2002 vote, Schroeder shook off his broken marriages tag and secured another four-year term, with a narrow nine seat majority down from 21.
One of The NewsHawks’ current editors covered the Germany elections for weeks in 2002, mainly following Schroeder’s campaign trail.
Baloyi walks into Chiwenga’s life — the lion’s den — against a backdrop of the former military general’s vicious acrimony and toxicity with his previous wife Mubaiwa, whom he had seized from former footballer Shingi Kawondera.
After a glittering modelling career, Mubaiwa got married to someone else — the father of her first child — before tying the knot with Kawondera, whom she later literally deserted for Chiwenga.
While she moved from rags to riches in marriage and dominated the social scene as Chiwenga’s wife, it all ended in tears, amid arrests, prolonged detention and charges of attempted murder, fraud, money laundering and assault — a tragic downfall.
On top of that, Mubaiwa has not been able to see her minor children with Chiwenga for four years now. It has been a harrowing and traumatic experience for a woman at one time referred to as “Zimbabwe’s Second Lady” when she had the world under her feet and lived in the lap of luxury.
Since her arrest in 2019 after surviving the 2018 Bulawayo grenade attack with Chiwenga and other top Zanu PF leaders, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and co-deputy leader Kembo Mohadi, Mubaiwa has been on a slippery slope, lurching from one crisis to another, including life-threatening experiences.
She is now bed-ridden and faces the gruesome prospect of amputation of one of her arms, amid a life-threatening condition.
A medical report by specialist trauma and orthopaedic surgeon John Nyahunzvi in March revealed Mubaiwa needed amputation.
“Her current condition is critical (life-threatening) and has necessitated hospitalisation and stabilisation with a plan for emergent right high above elbow amputation as soon as she is deemed medically stable. She has severe sepsis secondary to deep infection after revision surgery to fix a re-fracture of the right humerus shaft against a background of chronic sepsis in her forearm. Careful in-patient clinical management of her current state is required and a multi-disciplinary team is in attendance,” Nyahunzvi said.
Meanwhile, Baloyi’s star has been rising. She has now consolidated her position as Chiwenga’s new wife after he reportedly paid lobola to her parents in Filabusi, Matabeleland South, last month in an event characterised by pomp and fanfare.
A source close to the family says Chiwenga paid “a herd of huge fat beasts” to the Baloyi family last month.
While Baloyi is originally from Nkayi in Matabeleland North, the family moved to Filabusi, where she grew up between her home area and home town, Bulawayo. Various confirmations show Baloyi is now staying with Chiwenga at his new Borrowdale home after he left his Borrowdale Brooke home — where he lived with Mauchaza and Mubaiwa — and the Chinese Villa, also in Borrowdale.
Chiwenga’s new property is located along Manombe Close in Carrick Creagh Estate in Borrowdale and has reportedly been lavishly fitted with imported furnishings. Carrick Creagh, which overlooks the upmarket Borrowdale Brooke neighbourhood, is a prime suburb, where a 2 000-square-metre stand can cost around US$100 000, according to independent realtors.
In a leaked recent video, Chiwenga, also Health minister, is captured telling a Zimbabwe Statistical Agency enumerator that he is currently staying with Baloyi, referring to her as his spouse. She now wears a marriage ring.
“I am staying here with my spouse, Baloyi and the children,” Chiwenga says answering a question on who had slept at his home on census night, 20 April.
Who is Baloyi?
Since news broke out that she is now Chiwen ga’s wife, questions have been asked as to who Miniyothabo Baloyi is.
Born on 9 September 1976, when Chiwenga was fighting in the liberation struggle as a Zanla guerrilla in Tanzania and later Mozambique, Baloyi — commonly known as Minnie — originally hails from Nkayi in Matabeleland North province, although the family moved to Filabusi, where the lobola cattle were paid.
She grew up in those localities and between her home town of Bulawayo. Baloyi did her primary schooling in Filabusi and went to Ekusileni Secondary School in the same area from 1990-1993, where she completed her Ordinary Levels.
Those who went to school with her in the early 1990s speak of a quiet young lady who was calm and focussed. Some of the information is also confirmed by her social media profiles, including Facebook.
“She went to Ekusileni Secondary School for her ‘O’ Levels, from 1990-1993. She was cool, calm and collected; not bothered by many things, and focussed,” a former schoolmate told The NewsHawks.
“That is still her character and demeanour up to now — an introvert, quiet and hardworking.”
This appears to be the opposite of Mubaiwa who was a jovial, talkative and an extrovert — she flamboyantly enjoyed life — before running into seemingly insurmountable problems, including life-threatening health afflictions.
After Ekusileni, Baloyi in 1994 went to JZ Moyo High School, formerly Majoda, in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, 12km north of West Nicholson. She completed her Advanced Levels there and proceeded to tertiary studies. In 1996, she studied with the Institute of Administration and Commerce in Harare.
The Institute of Administration and Commerce is a professional management Independent Examining Board established in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1927 and registered in Zimbabwe in 1958.
Baloyi is multi-talented. Besides her native Ndebele language, she speaks various other languages, including Chinese (Mandarin), French, Zulu, Sotho and Shona, among others. Ndebele is a Zulu dialect, hence second nature to her.
Due to her multilingual background, Baloyi became a government translator in 1996. From 2005 to 2009, she studied Mandarin at PLA University of Foreign Languages in Kun – shan, Jiangsu province, China, obtaining a firstclass Bachelor of Arts degree. She has also studied locally at university level, earning herself a Master’s in international relations (international/global studies) from the University of Zimbabwe and a PhD in Business Leadership, Business Administration and Management from the Midlands State University.
Besides her military work as an army colonel, Baloyi is involved in business. She is managing director of Kolamminnie (Pvt) Ltd T/A Style by Minie and runs a clothing and electronics operation, Style by Minie (VVIP), with branches at Longcheng Plaza, Linquenda House and Sam Levy Village.
Some of her closest relatives include Nhloswenhle Baloyi (brother), Balue Nyathi (sister), Charity Khumalo (sister), cousins Mark Nyathi, Dumisani Dube and Brian Nyathi and nephew Wonder Dube.