Daniel Nemukuyu Investigations and Special Reports Editor
Frank Buyanga has been given up to 24 hours by the High Court to return his five-year-old child he forcibly took away at Waterfalls Shopping Centre recently.
Failure by Buyanga to return the child will result in his arrest for contempt of court.
The child was at the centre of a recent landmark judgment on joint guardianship and custody, which granted fathers joint parental powers over children born out of wedlock.
The previous legal position granted full guardianship and custody to the mother.
But after the judgment, the child was forcibly taken away from her mother at a shopping centre by violent men with the boy’s grandmother seriously injured.
The boy’s mother, Ms Chantelle Muteswa filed an application at the High Court seeking the return of the child.
The High Court handed down the judgment yesterday which obliged Buyanga to hand over the child to Waterfalls Police Station, where Ms Muteswa will pick him up.
He has 24 hours to comply once the order is served on him at 3 Uplands Close, Highlands, Harare, or on his legal practitioners, Mtombeni, Mukwesha & Partners, whichever occurs sooner.
If he misses the deadline then the order becomes an arrest warrant on contempt of court.
During the lockdown, Mr Buyanga can only communicate with the child for an hour through the phone.
The court also ordered the Registrar-General’s Office to surrender the child’s passport to the Registrar of High Court within 24 hours.
Footage captured by a supermarket CCTV on the day the child was taken away shows a white Ford Ranger parking behind Ms Muteswa’s Honda Fit.
Two men who were brandishing firearms pounced on the woman and forcibly took away the boy, who was with her grandmother.
The men jumped into the white Ford Ranger and sped off.
Ms Muteswa and her mother fought the men as they drove off.
The landmark judgment ended a long-drawn custody dispute pitting Buyanga and Ms Muteswa.