28 December 2012

Zimbabwe: High Profile Divorces, Marriage Scandals Hog Limelight

THE 2012 legal year saw several public figures in divorce cases, marriage scandals and other legal battles at the High Court and the Supreme Court. Topping the list of newsmakers this year was Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who was linked to several women at the time he was about to marry Ms Elizabeth Macheka.

The premier's civil marriage to Ms Macheka was blocked after magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi cancelled a marriage licence that had been issued to the couple.

PM Tsvangirai's senior wife Ms Locardia Karimatsenga, who was married under customary law, successfully applied for the cancellation of the licence arguing that her marriage to the premier was still subsisting.

Another woman, Ms Nosipho Regina Shilubane of South Africa also tried to stop the civil union arguing that she had been promised marriage by the PM. The woman disclosed in her papers that she had been linked to the PM by a local pastor who was also a director of policy planning in the PM's office.

Shilubane said their first sexual encounter took place at the man of the cloth's house in Harare.

Faced with the two hurdles, PM Tsvangirai denied ever marrying Ms Karimatsenga but the magistrate was convinced of the existence of the marriage after watching a video recording for the marriage ceremony.

The Premier made a U-turn and attempted to issue Ms Karimatsenga's lawyers with a divorce token of US$1, which could not be accepted citing some cultural breaches.

The battle went on and on with the PM filing appeals at the High Court and Supreme Court.

Ms Karimatsenga filed a US$15 000 maintenance claim at the Harare Civil Court before the parties reached an out of court settlement.

The woman got an undisclosed once-off payment and PM Tsvangirai is yet to deliver three oxen in fulfilment of some cultural requirements as per the agreement.

Notable figures including Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo also appeared at the High Court seeking to divorce their wives.

Minister Chombo successfully divorced his wife Ms Marian Mhloyi and the dispute was settled in August this year.

Ms Mhloyi walked away with some vehicles, houses and other properties ending the five-year divorce wrangle.

Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya-Moyo in August this year filed a divorce case against Mrs Sibonokuhle Getrude Moyo (nee Ngwenya), after 32 years of marriage.

The matter is yet to be finalised.

United Family International Church pastor Tawanda Makandiwa, who is brother to the church's founder Mr Emmanuel Makandiwa filed for divorce.

The man of the cloth argued that his wife Mrs Lovejoy Makandiwa (nee Choto) had embarrassed her by "exhibiting some suicidal tendencies" adding that the marriage had irretrievably broken down.

The High Court is yet to conclude the matter.

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Francis Nhema and his wife Ms Louise Nhema (nee Nkomo) have agreed to end their 20-year marriage at the High Court.

Last Thursday, Justice Hlekani Mwayera deferred the unopposed divorce case to January 10 to allow the parties to correct some irregularities noted on the divorce documents.

Minister of State in the Office of Vice President Joice Mujuru Sylvester Nguni was also involved in a divorce matter at the High Court with his wife Tsitsi Nguni (nee Mabhukucha).

The minister's wife claimed her husband had vast properties and had shareholding in some companies that the couple should share, claims that Minister Nguni opposed.

Mrs Nguni was also claiming US$3 000 monthly maintenance from the minister after divorce.

The couple had been married for six years.

Former diplomat to the United Nations, Boniface Chidyausiku was also taken to court by his wife, Mrs Evelyn Chidyausiku, who was seeking divorce.

Mr Chidyausiku was the country's representative based in New York between 2003 and 2010.

Mrs Chidyausiku, who is based in New York, where she is an assistant tourism officer accused her husband of causing the breakdown of their 27-year marriage by engaging in adultery and abusive behaviour.

She wants the courts to force Chidyausiku to pay her $5 000 per month as personal maintenance among other claims.

The High Court is yet to finalise the divorce case pitting former Media and Information Publicity deputy minister Cde Bright Matonga and his wife Mrs Anne Matonga.

The matter that was set down for hearing last week was deferred to next month before Justice Tendai Uchena.

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