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Court dismiss Chimbetu's application

by Staff reporter
13 Jun 2017 at 06:30hrs | Views
A Harare magistrate yesterday dismissed an application by Orchestra Dendera Kings frontman Sulumani Chimbetu for referral of his maintenance case to the Constitutional Court. Chimbetu was challenging the validity of the Maintenance Act under which he is being charged.

Chimbetu (35) was taken to court by his ex-wife, Ms Marygold Mutemasango, who accused him of failing to pay $800 for the upkeep of their two minor children.

He wanted his matter to be referred to the Constitutional Court for interpretation or nullification of the disputed Section 23 (1) of the Maintenance Act.

He argued that the framing of the section that formed the offence was vague and was in breach of the right to a free and fair trial.

Through his lawyer, Mr Conwell Mutevhe from Muvingi Mugadza Legal Practitioners, Chimbetu challenged subsection (3) of the said section, which he said was in violation of Section 72 of the new Constitution.

He further argued that Section 23 (4) of the Maintenance Act was in violation of Section 70 (1) (a) of the Constitution.

"He is a responsible father even if the matter is referred to the Concourt, he will still pay for the upkeep of his children, hence no one will suffer any prejudice. Our application is not setting aside the civil court's order," Mr Mutevhe said.

Prosecutor Mrs Devoted Gwashavanhu-Nyagano opposed the application, saying maintenance cases were sensitive matters, which needed to be dealt with urgency for the interest of the children.

"The charge is not defective, it discloses an offence, he will not suffer any prejudice if he pays up," she said. "Therefore, for the interest of the children, we have to proceed to trial."

After hearing submissions from both parties, magistrate Ms Annia Ndiraya, ruled in favour of the State and dismissed Chimbetu's application for lack of merit.

She then rolled over the matter to today for trial commencement.

It is not clear how the matter will proceed today after Chimbetu paid the $800 to Ms Mutemasango before he left the court premises.

Harare lawyer Ms Mildred Mubaiwa from Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) was watching the proceedings on the instructions of Ms Mutemasango.

Source - the herald