Zari Hassan’s flamboyant baby daddy Ivan Ssemwanga will be buried next week on Tuesday as his body is set to arrive in his native Uganda on Sunday from South Africa, where he had been residing.
The death of Ivan, the business tycoon who was married to Zari for over 10 years and with whom he had three children, left many distraught. With his demise, the shaky relationship between him, Zari and her current husband Diamond Platnumz comes under the spotlight again.
Zari visited Ivan when he was in hospital, sharing the evidence on social media.
SPOT IN HIS HEART
In one of her interviews with NTV Uganda in 2015, Zari was quoted as saying:
“Having been my husband for 10 years and the father of my children, he (Ivan) will always have a spot in my heart and I am sure that I also have a spot in his.”
A number of Ugandan blogs have reported that Ivan, a flamboyant businessman and well-known party animal, died a lonely man. Some even suggest that he still pined for his ex-wife Zari. We trace the complex relationship from the time the two parted ways to date.
ZARI DUMPS IVAN
It’s alleged that the curvaceous, London-educated lass from Jinja, decided to walk out of a 12-year-old marriage she termed as toxic and abusive. Ivan was rumoured to have made a habit of physically abusing Zari. He denied the claims, saying his baby mama’s injuries were as a result of a car crash. In her interview with NTV Uganda in December 2015, Zari opened up to presenter Faridah Nakazibwe, saying that she did put in a lot of effort in trying to salvage the union to no avail.
“I tried so much to mend the relationship but it failed. I was abused by Ivan even in front of my kids. Sometimes it happened in public places. I think everyone knows that now. It’s a common thing in relationships so it shouldn’t be a secret,” said the mother of five now. Ivan’s attempts to reconcile with Zari were futile as she had already made up her mind to leave him.
ZARI MEETS DIAMOND
After dumping Ivan, Zari moved on and would then fall in love with another basket-baller, Farouk Sempala, with whom they had a short-lived relationship. Farouk then went on the rampage claiming that Zari aborted his kids and that was the reason for their breakup, according to Uganda Exposed.
In December 2014, a picture of Diamond, who had just broken up with his bongo movie actress Wema Sepetu, emerged showing him canoodling with Zari in South Africa. The two denied being in a relationship, with Zari saying that they were working on some music project which never materialised.
She said: “Diamond is just a friend of mine. It’s never been written that females and males can’t be friends. It is backward people that use that kind of perspective to blow things out of proportion, ” she insisted.
However, their union was confirmed a few weeks later when Zari graced the red carpet hand-in-hand with Diamond Platnumz during the Channel O Video Music Awards ceremony in South Africa.
IVAN FIGHTS DIAMOND
When news broke that Zari was pregnant with Diamond’s first-born (baby Latifah Dangote) all hell broke loose, forcing Ivan, who had been quiet about his ex-wife’s new love affair with a successful musician, decided to make his voice heard. .It was widely reported that Ivan was shocked and disgusted to find out his baby mama was pregnant again at her “old” age.
According to Uganda showbiz blog Big Eye, he said, “Zari is an old woman who may not manage the stress that comes with bringing a new life into the world”. It added that Ivan was surprised because they had agreed that even with their separation she should never bring someone else to the world but rather concentrate on co-parenting the three sons. With the aid of his close friend King Lawrence, Ivan started attacking Diamond via social media posts asking him to leave Zari alone.
In one of his Facebook posts in December 2015, King Lawrence offered Diamond $40,000 (Sh4 million) to leave Zari alone and allow her to return to South Africa from Tanzania to take care of her children, who he claimed were missing her mother. Diamond did not respond. A few weeks later Zari flew to Uganda and hosted the Zari All White party, which Ivan attended. Diamond, too, was supposed to attend the event but despite being in Uganda, he did not show up. This led to rumours that he didn't turn up to support Zari because he was afraid of a confrontation with Ivan.
Later, after returning home to Tanzania, Diamond was forced to address the claims, saying he wasn’t afraid of Ivan:
“Watu wanasema namuogopa (Ivan), mimi siwezi kumwogopa, hii code chafu kabisa kutoka Tandale mimi nimwogope mtu! Sijawahi kuwa na matatizo naye,nishakutana naye wakati naenda kwenye MTV alikuwepo, mara nyingi tulikuwa tunapishana hivi na hivi kabisa. Hatujawahi kusalimiana sababu sijawahi kuwa na mahusiano naye niseme nimsalimie ni uongo. Halafu nilikuwa nikipita, nipo na crew,security, yeye anakua anapita tu maskini ya mungu,” Cloud FM radio, quoted Diamond as saying.
Explaining his absence, he said that he missed Zari’s All White Party because he had an agreement with his promoter that required him to keep away from the public eye before his scheduled show with Patoranking in Kampala, which was to take place on the following day.
Diamond’s beef with Ivan would never end, with both men flaunting their wealth on social platforms in a show of might. Sometime in September 2016, Diamond posted a photo of his new mansion in South Africa and when he unveiled it, he took a jab at Ivan, captioning the photo: “They are busy bragging that they are rich yet their kids are still living in a rented house… and now a person whom they abuse daily saying that he’s broke and poor bought a house, so that their kids can have a better life.” Later on, Ivan shot back terming it a rental home. In April 2017, Diamond posted a picture of him with his new ride, a Hummer, that he said cost him five million shillings. A few hours later, Ivan also posted a picture of himself with a Hummer.
Diamond seemed to have buried the hatchet, however, after Ivan’s death. He passed his condolences via an Instagram post accompanied by a picture of a lit red candle and wrote, “Mbele yako, nyuma yetu...” (You have gone ahead, we are right behind you).