Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Orchestra Dendera Kings frontman Sulumani Chimbetu yesterday pleaded with the court to intervene and grant him a peace order against his ex-wife whom he accused of abusing him in an emotionally and highly charged maintenance trial.
Chimbetu (35) was taken to court by Marygold Mutemasango, who accused him of failing to pay $800 for the upkeep of their two minor children. His contention is that he has complied with the court order and accused his ex-wife of bringing malicious charges against him in a bid to humiliate and embarrass him.
Chimbetu’s trial commenced yesterday following the dismissal of his application for referral of the matter to the Constitutional Court. He pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before magistrate Ms Annia Ndiraya. In his testimony while being led by his lawyer Mr Conwell Mutevhe, Chimbetu, who claimed that he did not owe Mutemasango anything towards maintenance, told the court that at one time his ex-wife tried to extort from him so that she would withdraw the criminal charges.
He said she demanded a Range Rover vehicle and a residential stand. “Your worship, I paid $1 600 in cash to this woman (Mutemasango) before I left for a Canada tour,” he said. “This money was for April and May and after giving her the money, she then withdrew the case. I actually paid for April in advance.
If I had not paid the money, why then did she lie to court that I had given her the money? Therefore I do not know where these arrears are coming from.” He further told the court that when he was arrested, the police indicated that he was in arrears of $1 600 yet when he was brought to court the amount had been changed to $800.
Chimbetu also told the court how he was failing to make ends meet due to a small number of fans attending his shows. “I am a responsible father, but sometimes I fail to give her the money on time because of economic hardships. Before I could raise the $800, she would have rushed to the police and get me arrested,” he said.
Chimbetu pleaded for the court’s intervention saying Mutemasango was always harassing and humiliating him. “If the court can help me to get a peace order against this woman. I cannot even work for the kids because she is always taking me to the courts,” he said.
In her evidence, Mutemasango accused Chimbetu of being an irresponsible father, adding that it was him who promised her a car and a stand. “He promised me a car and a stand so that I would withdraw the charges, but he did not deliver. He has to maintain his children. It does not matter whether my father is rich or what, still he has to pay up,” she said. “Without a warrant of arrest, this man does not pay the money and it is now a habit which irritates me.”
During cross-examination by Sulu’s lawyer, Mutemasango acknowledged that Chimbetu paid her the money in question, but insisted that it was after he had been arrested. On the other hand, Chimbetu is saying the $800 he paid on Monday should cater for June since he paid for April and May. “Are you trying to settle something with the accused person? This started on his wedding day,” Mr Mutevhe questioned.
In response, she said that she did not want anything from Chimbetu besides the maintenance. Mr Mutevhe accused Mutemasango of using the money she was given by Sulu for the children to buy a music CD for $400 recently at an album launch of an unnamed musician.
“So what, even if I bought that CD, is it anyone’s business? Who told you its Sulu’s money? I hustle and what I do with my money is none of your business,” she fumed.
She further berated the lawyer calling him all sorts of names. Mutemasango, who was armed with another warrant of arrest for Chimbetu, handed it over to the police, but Chimbetu left before he was arrested.
The trial continues on June 20.