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300 Bulawayo couples seek divorce in 6 months

by Staff reporter
17 Jul 2022 at 09:06hrs | Views
MORE than 300 couples have applied for divorce in the High Court in Bulawayo in the first six months of the year, translating to about an average of 50 cases every month, a worrying trend observers blame on a host of factors among them the increase in domestic violence.

According to figures obtained from the Bulawayo High Court, 357 divorce cases were lodged with the court from January to June. The figures also showed that on top, six unregistered customary marriages were also dissolved during the same time, with indications that many more customary marriages could have ended outside the court system.

So alarming are the figures that officials said during the course of the half year, one day the courts recorded 20 cases. Observers said the collapse of the marriage institution was worrying and showed that there was lack of pre-marriage counseling which used to cement relationships of yesteryears.

Prophet Bright Chikomo of Bright Light Prophetic Deliverance Ministries said increase in domestic violence was a major contributor to collapsed marriage. Organisations and police that deal with cases of domestic violence have also been recording a spike in cases of domestic violence.

Prophet Chikomo said while God was against divorce, it was not advisable for women or men to live in abusive and violent marriages as it has shown that in some cases the problems have led to death.

"Although God hates divorce, he also hates death. The first time a married woman or man hears the word, ‘I will kill you from the mouth of the partner, is the day the marriage should end," he said.

A local marriage counsellor, Mr Scott Moyo said the biggest problem in most marriages was that people were jumping in without proper education. He said most people, especially those who are young view marriage as rosy from a distance and end up getting married without proper education on how to handle the challenges associated. He said it was important that those intending to marry get proper counselling.

Mr Moyo, who is trained in couples therapy, said he has been studying marital distress and divorce prevention for over 10 years and is a strong advocate for premarital counselling.

"Premarital counselling is a great way for people to do their homework about the most important decision they are ever going to make so that they can go into it armed with skills that are going to be very helpful," Mr Moyo said.

Mr Moyo said some premarital counselling studies show the practice decreases the likelihood of divorce by 50 percent. A woman from Gwabalanda whose name cannot be disclosed said while the figures look high a lot of marriages were under threat.

"The truth is that most marriages are having problems. I do not want to encourage people to divorce but the truth is that most marriages have become a compromise either because of the children or because of fear of backlash," she said.
In her area alone, she said she knew about two couples who divorced last month.

"The lady one day just took off with her clothes and children and went back to her parents' house in Njube. Many marriages are facing problems," she said.

Another pastor with a local church said young adults who were marrying early were failing to deal with the financial burden that comes with marriage and having children.

"In my church most of the cases revolve around lack of support. Young women come and complain that their husbands are not providing for the families while husbands also complain that they were keen but economic challenges were affecting them. In such cases we then teach them to be tolerant, be patient and continue to work hard," he said.

The pastor added that there have been cases where such conflicts had resulted in domestic violence.

"If the arguments turn physical that is why in most cases the marriages end up collapsing."

Some elders said there was just a general disregard of the marriage institution among many young couples.

"Couples are cheating on each other days after marrying and this shows that there is a general disregard of the marriage. During our days it was taboo to hear of cases of wives cheating but today it is very common. I am not saying men should cheat but once both of you start cheating the marriage will not last. We need to reactivate the traditional ways where the aunt and the uncles were key taking young adults to marriage lessons," said Gogo MaKhumalo, an 83 year old Mzilikazi granny who said her marriage survived until her husband passed on 15 years ago despite the fact that it was a polygamous marriage.

Source - The Sunday News