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Widow, stepson lock horns over Zvinavashe estate

by Staff reporter
29 May 2019 at 07:52hrs | Views
The wrangle over the estate of the late national hero Retired General Vitalis Musungwa Zvinavashe continues more than 10 years after his death.

The surviving spouse, Margaret Zvinavashe (nee Mutamba) and the nationalist's eldest son, Richard Zvinavashe, are involved in a stand-off over the control of a property under the Vitalis Musungwa Gava Zvinavashe Trust.

Margaret is 56, while Richard is 50.

At the centre of the dispute is the family house known as stand number 730 Cowie Road, Tynwald, Harare. The dispute spilled into the High Court recently after Margaret filed a motion seeking to bar Richard from entering the family home without her written consent.

Yesterday, the matter was brought for hearing before Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, but she recused herself on the grounds that she was known to both parties. The matter will now be allocated to another judge.

Margaret is asking the court to interdict Richard from engaging in any conduct which is "calculated to disturb and interfere with applicant's (Ms Zvinavashe) peaceful and undisturbed possession of stand 730 Cowie Road, Tynwald, Harare". She also wants him to be ordered to remove all his possessions from the homestead, including a haulage truck and other equipment he brought to the homestead.

In her court filing, Margaret claimed that she was granted a life usufruct over the family homestead in terms of the last will and testament of her late husband.

"Since the time of the deceased's death I have always enjoyed peaceful and undisturbed possession of stand 730 Cowie Road, Tynwald without disturbance from anybody, the respondent included," she claimed.

"The status . . . has been maintained until January 13, 2019, when the respondent without invitation came to the property. Using force and threats of physical violence unlawfully gained entry into the property by scaling over the perimeter wall and using a bolt cutter to damage the padlock at the main gate." She also accused Richard of replacing the padlock at the main gate with his own set of locks. "Effectively the respondent has occupied the place as his place of business and this is against my consent." But in his response, Richard said his father's widow was misleading the court.

He argued that his stepmother's usufruct was not exclusive to her, as the same property was awarded to the family and all the beneficiaries of the estate were entitled to enjoy it in terms of the same will and testament, which bestowed her a lifetime usufruct.

"What the applicant deliberately left out to mention to the court for her own convenience is that although she was afforded a lifetime usufruct over the family home, the same will and testament bequeathed the same property to the Vitalis Musungwa Gava Zvinavashe Trust," he argued.

It is also Richard's contention that her stepmother never stayed at the property since his father's death. He further argued that he moved into the property because it had been abandoned for a long time and the house was in a dilapidated state.

"I moved in to maintain the property for the benefit of all the beneficiaries in terms of the will and trust deed."

Last month Richard was dragged to court on allegations of domestic violence by his stepmother who is only six years older than him.

Margaret reported her stepson for domestic violence and unlawful entry into her property after he allegedly locked her out by changing the locks. It is alleged that in the afternoon of January 13 this year, Richard, together with his friend, Ellington Kanengoni, broke into Margaret's property as she is the occupant by virtue of a lifetime usufruct.

The court heard that he changed all the gate locks and house locks, immediately occupying it. Richard was appointed executor of the estate but the property in question was given to Margaret.

It is further alleged that firearms were eventually produced and pointed on the same day. This is not the first time the family has dragged each other to court.

Source - the herald