Harare Court Orders Girlfriend to Pay US$8,000 Damages For Breaking Up Marriage

The Harare civil court has ordered the girlfriend of a married man to pay his wife US$8,000 in damages for breaking up the couple’s marriage.
The court ruled that Sheba Uta must pay damages to Rosemary Chinhoi for having an affair with James Chinhoi, Rosemary’s husband of 30 years.
As reported by The Herald, Rosemary had sued for US$30 000 in adultery-related damages broken down as follows: US$10 000 for contumelia, US$10 000 for loss of consortium, US$5 000 compensation for the high blood pressure and stress caused by the affair.

The remainder was to be compensation for the unhonoured promise that Uta, who is also Rosemary’s relative, would stop the affair.
However, after a fully contested civil trial, Harare magistrate Tamara Chibindi reduced the claim from US$30 000 to $8 000 for both contumelia and loss of consortium. Chibindi ruled “accordingly, the plaintiff’s claim succeeds and the defendant is hereby ordered to pay the plaintiff the sum of US$8 000 or its equivalent in value in local currency at the official interbank rate calculated on the date of payment, together with interest to be calculated at the prescribed rate from the date of this judgment.”

The judge ruled that a civil claim for adultery damages was still relevant even in a progressive society like Zimbabwe which has its social values sanctified in the Constitution.
Chibindi said that where evidence was flawless as in the case that Chinhoi was injured, insulted and subjected to indignity, contumelia umbrella damages were justified.

The judge dismissed Uta’s defence as vexatious and frivolous, ruling that she was acting insincerely when she mounted her defence. Chibindi said “Parts of her defence were clearly dishonest. More so, the defendant wasted the court’s time by defending this action when there was overwhelming evidence against her. Thus the costs on a higher scale are justified in these circumstances.”

In Zimbabwe, the marriage institution is protected under Section 78 of the Constitution and it is well established in the nation’s culture, religion and traditions.

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