Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
The wife of High Court judge Justice David Mangota, who claims to have been thrown out of the matrimonial home in the middle of a divorce case, now wants the judge to pay her monthly maintenance of $1 500 pending termination of the 28-year marriage.
Mrs Roselyn Mangota says in the event that the judge allows her back to the family farmhouse pending finalisation of the divorce, she can just be paid $1 000 monthly to cater for her daily needs.
The woman also wants the Justice Mangota to pay her $5 000 for her legal fees.
She is also seeking an order compelling Justice Mangota to return to the family houses, all the property he dumped at his mother-in-law’s homestead in Zvishavane, to allow the court to fairly distribute the assets in the event that the decree of divorce is granted.
Mrs Mangota also wants the judge to be ordered to return to her the vehicle she had been using during the happier moments of the union.
The woman indicated in her affidavit that she had a tough time seeking legal representation as most lawyers in town refused to assist her for fear of the unknown.
Even the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association turned down the woman’s request and it took her two weeks to get to Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa’s office, who finally agreed.
“I went the legal route and as a pensioner, sought assistance from the Legal Aid Directorate, where I was told that they could not help me as the respondent was their boss.
“I then sought the assistance of the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association where again I could not be assisted on the basis that acting against the respondent would be suicidal for the organisation and its lawyers as it was thought this would affect their future cases that would be before the respondent.
“Legal practitioners in private practice equally declined to take on my case as a result of the perceived risks of acting against a sitting judge in addition to the fact that I could not raise the deposits they demanded,” she said.
In the urgent chamber application filed at the High Court on Monday by Mtetwa and Nyambirai law firm, Mrs Mangota said the judge literally threw her onto the streets unlawfully.
“Respondent unilaterally and unlawfully evicted applicant from the matrimonial home and further barring her from accessing the parties’ farm in Lalapanzi thereby de facto throwing her onto the street.
“To further impound the situation, respondent, in breach of his duties, has failed to make provision for applicant’s personal maintenance and accommodation,” read the court papers.
Mrs Mangota said she had gone to her parents’ rural home in Zvishavane to check on her 84-year-old mother who was unwell. While she was there, she alleges, Justice Mangota visited and informed her that he had lost love for her.
“I was therefore surprised when on the 26th of December 2015, the respondent visited my parents’ home and indicated that he no longer loved me and that I should remain at my parents’ communal home and not return to either of our homes. On the 11th of January 2016, the respondent, without any reference to me or any form of agreement, took it upon himself and without any legal basis, to determine which of our assets he would give to me and which he would retain as his own.
“He then had these tied up in blankets, sheets, cardboard boxes and these were delivered, in my absence, during the early hours of the morning at my sick mother’s rural home where they were dumped on the yard,” she said.
Mrs Mangota told the court that a few hours later, she received a text message from the judge advising that she was no longer welcome at the matrimonial homes in Gunhill and at the Lalapanzi farm.
She was also barred from visiting the High Court of Zimbabwe, where the judge operates from.
Justice Mangota recently filed for divorce accusing his wife of believing and performing cultural and mystical activities that he could not stomach. However, Mrs Mangota filed a plea indicating that she had failed to tolerate the judge because of his traditionalist practices.
“Plaintiff (judge) completely lives in the past and forced the defendant to partake in many traditional, n’anga inspired rituals and other practices designed to strengthen him both personally and professionally. During the subsistence of the marriage, the plaintiff caused many rituals to be conducted at the matrimonial homes,” read the defendant’s plea.
Both the divorce and the maintenance cases are yet to be set down for hearing at the High Court.