Chombo bid to evict ex-wife from farm flops

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Daniel Ne­mukuyu Harare Bureau

HOME Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ig­natius Chombo has lost his bid to el­bow out his ex-wife Ms Mar­ian Mhloyi from Al­lan Grange Farm in Raffin­gora be­fore her ap­peal on their di­vorce set­tle­ment after the High Court found no merit in his ap­pli­ca­tion.

Min­is­ter Chombo and Ms Mhloyi di­vorced in 2012 through a con­sent or­der and he is now seek­ing her evic­tion from the farm be­fore the hear­ing of her ap­peal over whether the farm should be split or re­tained by the Min­is­ter alone.

The min­is­ter’s ap­pli­ca­tion was based on a con­tested judg­ment by High Court judge Jus­tice David Man­gota that de­clared that the farm, al­lo­cated to Min­is­ter Chombo un­der the land re­form pro­gramme, should not be part of the mat­ri­mo­nial as­sets to be shared in a di­vorce.

Jus­tice Man­gota’s judg­ment tech­ni­cally had an ef­fect of ex­clud­ing Ms Mhloyi from the posses­sion and con­trol of the farm de­spite her ar­gu­ment that she was a co-lessee.

Ms Mhloyi’s lawyers, Mtetwa and Nyam­bi­rai ap­pealed to the Supreme Court against Jus­tice Man­gota’s judg­ment on the farm. While the ap­peal was pend­ing, Min­is­ter Chombo, sep­a­rately sought the en­force­ment of Jus­tice Man­gota’s judg­ment ar­gu­ing that the ap­peal had gone for two years with­out be­ing heard.

How­ever, Jus­tice Laven­der Makoni last week threw out Min­is­ter Chombo’s ap­pli­ca­tion say­ing the ex-wife was not re­spon­si­ble for the de­lay in the hear­ing of the ap­peal.

The judge ruled that the de­lay was oc­ca­sioned by the dis­ap­pear­ance of the di­vorce file, which was in the hands of court of­fi­cials.

“What is clear from the above is that the de­lay in the prose­cu­tion of the ap­peal is not and can­not be at­trib­uted to ei­ther party. The record or plead­ings went miss­ing in the hands of court of­fi­cials. This is what has stalled progress in the mat­ter.

“By grant­ing an or­der for ex­e­cu­tion pend­ing ap­peal on the ba­sis of de­lay, the court will be pun­ish­ing the re­spon­dent for a de­lay which has been oc­ca­sioned through no fault on her part. If this were to be al­lowed, surely jus­tice will turn on its head,” ruled Jus­tice Makoni.

The judge also found that the pend­ing Supreme Court ap­peal by Ms Mhloyi had high prospects of suc­cess and that the or­der sought by the min­is­ter could not be granted.

“From the above, it is clear that the ap­peal filed by the re­spon­dent is not friv­o­lous or vex­a­tious but rather en­joys high prospects of suc­cess. The ap­pli­cant has there­fore failed to dis­charge the onus on him that he is en­ti­tled to the re­lief that he seeks.

She then dis­missed the ap­pli­ca­tion and awarded costs to Ms Mhloyi.

Jus­tice Makoni ruled that the min­is­ter’s re­lief could not be granted be­cause he was seek­ing to con­tra­dict an or­der the he had ear­lier con­sented to.

Min­is­ter Chombo ob­tained a de­cree of di­vorce in 2012 and all the prop­erty was shared ex­cept for the farm, which Ms Mhloyi in­sisted should be split to ac­com­mo­date both par­ties.

Jus­tice Man­gota re­cently ruled that Ms Mhloyi should va­cate the Raffin­gora farm and that the farm was Govern­ment prop­erty and that Min­is­ter Chombo was the le­git­i­mate lessee who is en­ti­tled to us­ing it.

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