Kay Kaseke Sunday News Reporter
A HARARE woman on Friday caused a stir at the magistrate’s courts in Bulawayo after alleging that she lost a maintenance case against her husband because he had an affair with the magistrate who had presided over the case, Ms Rebecca Tahwa.
Ms Zuwa Damson of Greendale in Harare, appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Mr Victor Mpofu demanding an increase in maintenance of $600 from her husband, Mr Lincol Ushamba, after she failed to win the case in Harare.
Ms Damson in 2011 had been granted $150 as her monthly maintenance and school fees for her child but returned to court claiming that it was no longer enough.
She accused the Harare magistrate of blocking her application for the review because she was having an affair with her husband.
“Due to the fact that the magistrate is sleeping with the respondent, I have not been properly served. He feels like he is a magistrate because he is sleeping with a magistrate,” she said in a complaint she filed to the chief magistrate, Mr Mishrod Guvamombe.
In her complaint, she stated that other presiding magistrates dismissed her application because they were under the influence of Miss Tahwa and that they were also working from her office.
She accused her estranged husband of refusing to acknowledge their son’s needs and blamed his HIV status for his behaviour.
“I think his (health problems have) gotten into his head. When he came from England I gave him a good life and now he wants me to justify the $200 for clothes, toys and recreation for our child,” she said.
She alleged that Mr Ushamba was a businessman owning a haulage transport company and earning $15 000 per month.
In his response, Mr Ushamba said he had previously refused to increase the amount for maintenance claiming that he was struggling.
“I do not have means to raise this amount of money. I am struggling like anyone else. Her choice of school is expensive because the school fees is $2 200 per term,” he said.
In response, the chief magistrate said the courts did not condone corruption.
“We have appointed another magistrate who is not from Harare, Mashonaland East or where Tahwa is based. It is our policy that magistrates should not interfere with anyone including ourselves when they preside over matters. If you have any evidence that Tahwa interfered in your case forward it to us,” he said.
In response to Ms Damson’s allegations, Ms Tahwa confirmed that she was now married to Mr Ushamba but denied meeting him in court and interfering with the case.
“I did not know that he had a maintenance case in 2012 at Harare civil court when I met him,” she said.
Mr Mpofu granted Ms Damson a $450 increase.
“I hereby order the respondent to pay the entire school fees for the child and $500 as monthly maintenance until the child is 18 years old.”