ZIMBABWE – A police assistant commissioner is at the centre of the “love triangle” that sparked the topical adultery constitutional challenge that recently spilled into the Constitutional Court, it has emerged.
Assistant Commissioner Lawrence Muzondiwa Njodzi and his wife Georgina Njodzi, a police superintendent, clashed over allegations that the top cop was having an extra-marital relationship with a Harare Central Hospital nurse.
The top police officer, based at the Harare provincial headquarters, is reported to have sired a child with the nurse Ms Lorraine Matione while the marriage with Mrs Njodzi still subsisted.
According to the court papers, Mrs Njodzi’s residential address was stated as House D, Jack Douglas Road Morris Depot Harare.
Irked by the development, Mrs Njodzi issued summons at the High Court claiming adultery damages to the tune of $25 000 from Ms Matione.
The matter drew public attention when Ms Matione, through her lawyer Mr Wellington Pasipanodya of Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners, raised constitutional issues at the High Court arguing that it was unconstitutional to sue a third party for adultery.She argued that a marriage contract involved two people – husband and wife – and that it was not the duty of a third party, whose signature does not appear on the marriage certificate, to safeguard the union.
Ms Matione cited the recent South African judgment that outlawed adultery damages in a bid to convince Justice Hlekani Mwayera who was handling the matter.
However, Justice Mwayera dismissed the constitutional application saying adultery damages were necessary in maintaining good morals and order in Zimbabwe.
She ruled that foreign judgments were not binding in Zimbabwe because the morals and values in each country are different.
Last week, Ms Matione appealed to the Constitutional Court against the decision.
She is insisting that adultery damages should be removed from the Zimbabwean laws.
Ms Matione argued that it was improper for Mrs Njodzi to sue her while leaving out Mr Njodzi, who was the chief architect in the adulterous relationship.
She viewed the lawsuit as discriminatory and, therefore, contrary to the constitutional provisions of equality before the law.
Ms Matione argued that the claim amounted to infringement into the privacy of her sexual life, thus violating not only the right to privacy but also the right to freedom of association.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing at the Constitutional Court.
Mr and Mrs Njodzi married in 1996 under the Marriages Act and the marriage still subsists.