The Sunday News
Peter Matika, Senior Reporter
MORE than 30 percent of Zimbabwean men may be taking care of children who are not theirs as cases of paternity fraud continue to soar in the country where mothers deliberately misidentifies the biological father of the child.
According to statistics recently released by a Non Governmental Organisation — Expedite DNA Zimbabwe, 30 percent of men in the country are victims of paternity fraud.
Paternity fraud, also known as misattributed paternity or paternal discrepancy, is when a man is incorrectly identified to be the biological father of a child.
According to the organisation, the underlying assumption of paternity fraud is that the mother deliberately misidentifies the biological father.
“Paternity fraud is related to the historical understanding of adultery. Usually this occurs when a distressed mother needs the presence of a male figure in the child’s life including moral, physical and financial support as well.
“It is possible as well for the mother to name the wrong man as the biological father of the child not as fraud but an honest mistake. If there is a dispute about whether the father of the child is the child’s natural father this can be resolved by DNA paternity test.
“About 30 percent of Zimbabwean men are taking care or providing for children who were misidentified as theirs either deliberately or due to human error with statistics rising to a frustrating 72 percent,” read the report.
Expedite DNA Zimbabwe went on to state that men can never truly guarantee if they are the biological fathers of children without undergoing paternity tests.
“It is easy to identify a child’s mother, however, this is not always the case for the father. Only scientific testing can confirm paternity. Scientific evidence established that between 30 and 50 percent of children have the wrong man identified as their father.
“Research shows that one woman in five paternity claims deliberately or inadvertently misidentified the father. It is always best that a child’s true identity is made known and the sooner this is established, the less it is potentially damaging,” read the report.
It was also noted that despite the advancement of technology it still remains a norm that maternity is indeed a fact, whereas we can only assume that the alleged father is indeed the biological father of the child.
“Only the mother really knows who the biological father is unless she was drugged and raped during the encounter of baby making. Maternity is always certain, while the paternity is only presumed.
“In short, the presumption of maternity is that the woman who has given birth to a child is both the genetic mother and the legal mother of the child.
“When the child is born during a marriage, he or she is presumed to be the child of the married couple and subsequently a biological child of the man.
“For ages men have silently struggled trying to figure out if they are fending for their biological offspring without wanting the public or family to know about this issue. While trying to protect their ego they are in agony,” read the report.
It went on to further mention that there were instances where two unrelated or related men could claim paternity of one child.
“This scenario has seen most men and women committing serious crimes like murder, homicide, assault and even suicide on the humiliated party.
The biological father cannot be determined from the mere facts or opinions expressed by relatives or friends like similarities between father and child. It is time our society embrace the aid of scientific methods like DNA tests, blood-group tests and setra to determine paternity of children,” read the report.