Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
High Court judge and former Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Justice David Mangota is embroiled in a messy divorce with his wife of 28 years with the judge being accused of unbearably consulting n’angas and forcing the wife to perform rituals aimed at strengthening him professionally.
Justice Mangota reportedly packed the property belonging to his wife, Mrs Roselyn Grenny Mangota (nee Mdumo), from the family homes and dumped it at her parents’ rural home in Zvishavane before barring her from visiting or staying at the matrimonial house without any court order to that effect.
The judge wants the court to give him the family farm in Lalapanzi and all the 100 head of cattle there and several goats they jointly own, which is strongly opposed by the wife.
The judge filed for divorce at the High Court on March 11 this year, accusing his wife of believing in some cultural practices and mystical activities, which he failed to appreciate and understand.
However, Mrs Mangota filed a plea through her lawyer, Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners, 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,” reads the defendant’s plea.
Mrs Mangota, the lawyers said, was now squatting in a flat with her son after being barred from the family houses.
“Plaintiff has since unlawfully banished defendant from the matrimonial homes, failed to provide defendant with alternative accommodation or the financial support, resulting in defendant squatting with her son in a small flat,” the papers read.
Justice Mangota is being accused of taking the law into his own hands by grabbing the property that his wife was using during the subsistence of the marriage despite the fact that a divorce is yet to be granted.
“Plaintiff has taken the law into his own hands and has repossessed the motor vehicle the defendant has used during the marriage and, despite demand, has refused to release it to her in a functional state.
“Plaintiff, by purporting to ‘redistribute’ the assets of the parties, has taken the law into his own hands and became judge and jury in his own cause,” the woman claims.
Mrs Mangota described the judge as someone who is “financially stingy” and who failed to support her despite the fact that he was using her assets to generate income.
She wants the court to declare her the sole owner of Mbebezaan Farm Subdivision 4, Lalapanzi, and she wants the court to order that the parties share equally all the livestock at the farm.
The judge, in his declaration filed by his lawyers Chihambakwe, Mutizwa and Partners, said the marriage had broken down and that there was no longer room for reconciliation.
“The marriage relationship between the parties has broken down irretrievably, to such an extent that there are no prospects for restoring the normal marriage relationship between them.
“The defendant believes in, and practices cultural and mystical activities, which plaintiff has failed to appreciate, accept or understand and the parties have become incompatible with each other.
“The parties have lost all affection for each other and it is in their interest that they divorce,” the lawyers said.
The judge argued that he should be given the 100 head of cattle at the farm and several goats there.
He offered to give his wife a motor vehicle and various immovable assets acquired by the parties during the marriage.
The two married on December 28 1988 in terms of the Marriages Act Chapter 5:11 and no children were born in the marriage.
The parties were yet to meet for a pre-trial conference at the High Court.