ZIMBABWE – 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 are Zanu-PF officials with Notable figures including Local Government Urban and Rural Development Minister Ignatius Chombo, Simon Khaya Moyo, Sylvester Mguni, Francis Nhema, Boniface Chidyausiku among many others, 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 fiveyear divorce wrangle.
Zanu-PF national chairman 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.
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.
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, US 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 $5000 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 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.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga and his wife Jocelyn also joined the divorce queue.
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.
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.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was also linked to several women at the time he was about to marry Ms Elizabeth Macheka. The premier’s marriage to Ms Macheka was blocked after magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi cancelled a marriage licence that had been issued to the couple.
Zanu-PF surrogate Ms Locardia Karimatsenga who was married under customary law applied for the cancellation of the licence arguing that her marriage to the premier was still subsisting.
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 fulfillment of some cultural requirements as per the agreement.
This year the parties appeared at the High Court for pretrial conferences and other interlocutory applications including that of barring the press from covering the proceedings.
The media was barred from covering the divorce proceedings and the matter is yet to be finalised.
Some high profile defamation suits were recorded at the High Court in which prominent figures were claiming substantial amounts of money.
Central Intelligence Organisation Director General Happiton Bonyongwe was awarded US$10 million damages against businessman Mr Andrew Cranswick.
He sued the businessman over Wikileaks reports linking the general to some illegal benefiting in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
UFIC leader Mr Emmanuel Makandiwa also grabbed the headlines when he filed a US$2 million defamation lawsuit against the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe.
The newspaper published a poster linking the pastor to the Anglican property ownership saga pitting the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe led by Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga and the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa represented by Bishop Chad Gandiya.
The year ended with the Anglican property control saga in which Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba ended the fiveyear church property control saga.
The Supreme Court ruled that Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga had no title to the church properties and vested the powers to control the properties to Bishop Gandiya and his team.
Archbishop Kunonga and his lieutenants were evicted from the church properties in the diocese of Harare paving way for the CPCA members.