Court quashes man’s lobola refund bid

A Mutare man has suffered a double loss after he was denied access to his bride, while his application for a lobola refund was dismissed by the courts.

Mr Eddington Machingauta had dragged his in-laws, Mr Godwin Madenga and Ms Betty Gombarume, as well as his estranged flame, Ms Patricia Chantelle Madenga to Mutare Magistrates Civil Court, demanding restitution of US$4 240 which he paid as bride price.

Mr Machingauta was represented by Makuwaza & Magogo Attorneys, while the defendants were represented by Mr Chris Ndlovu of Gonese and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners.

However, Mr Madenga dismissed the claim that Mr Machingauta paid US$4 240 as bride price.

He said Mr Machingauta only paid US$500 towards lobola, with the other payments “not constituting lobola perse”.

Presiding magistrate, Ms Priscilla Gumbo dismissed Mr Machingauta’s application saying his motives were not clear.

“It is still unclear why you decided to lay dormant after paying lobola and only decided to resurface demanding a refund of the lobola.

“This raises questions on whether the applicant wanted his wife or if it was all a sham. My belief is the applicant would have taken the necessary actions to have his wife back if he truly wanted the marriage to subsist.”

Ms Gumbo ruled that Mr Machingauta is not entitled to a refund since the marriage was never dissolved as he did not offer his wife a divorce token ‘gupuro’.

Because of that, the court ruled that the two are only on separation.

The court heard that on August 9, Mr Machingauta visited his in-laws at their Pegasus house in Dangamvura in the company of his family to set a date for lobola payment and was given a bride price list with a total of US$11 240.

Mr Machingauta only managed to pay US$3 690 and groceries worth US$550, making it a total of US$4 240.

After receiving the lobola, the bride’s parents refused to hand over their daughter to Mr Machingauta as they insisted that he needed to top up the money.

As a result, Mr Machingauta and Ms Madenga’s relationship turned sour between August and October, thereby prompting the woman to change her mind and opt out of the marriage.

Mr Machingauta says he tried to negotiate with his in-laws so that they could either restitute his money and groceries or give him his wife, all to no avail.

However, Mr Madenga said Mr Machingauta was called to come and take his wife, but he refused to do so.

The defendants’ attorney, Mr Ndlovu, argued that lobola is a customary law practice and tradition, but the complainant had sued his clients under general law and not under customary law.

He said Mr Machingauta should go through proper channels to solve the matter.

Mr Ndlovu also said lobola is a transaction between a son-in-law and his father-in-law, hence Mr Machingauta cannot sue his mother-in-law and his estranged wife.

He added that Mr Madenga cannot force his daughter to become Mr Machingauta’s wife, adding that this was an issue that could only be solved by the two parties. – The Manica Post

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