Woman surfaces after 45yrs to claim matrimonial rights

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A Bulawayo man whose marriage lasted for only three months 45 years ago, only for his ex-wife to come back earlier this year in an attempt to evict his children from his house, has finally approached the courts seeking the dissolution of their marriage. Msongelwa Jack Sibanda of Makokoba, who thought he had divorced Magret Ngwenya of Njube whom he married in 1970, received the shock of his life when the woman tried to evict his children using their marriage certificate.

Sibanda said he last saw Ngwenya in 1970 after she was caught red-handed in a compromising position with his sister’s husband identified as Silwana Sibanda.

The magistrate, Victor Mpofu, turned down Ngwenya’s request to evict her former husband’s family after Sibanda produced a document as evidence that the house belonged to him.

However, the magistrate told him that if he were to die today, Ngwenya would inherit the house because they were still legally married.

The magistrate said: “The divorce is in your head, but in terms of law you’re still married to her.

“If you didn’t want her to have access to that house you should have divorced her soon after you caught her cheating.”

He advised Sibanda that if he wanted to stop Ngwenya having access to his house then he was supposed to first apply for dissolution of marriage.

Yesterday, Sibanda approached the Customary Law court seeking the dissolution of their marriage.

“Your Worship, for 45 years she was nowhere. Why is she coming now? Where was she all this while? Isn’t it she was married to another man?

“Why is she coming to bother me? She was caught with a man and I was notified by a police officer about the incident,” said Sibanda.

“That house belongs to me. The municipality gave it to me for the good work I was doing for them. They had asked me to perform in their beer gardens and I was popularly known as ‘Lobengula’. And because they loved what I was doing they gave me the house as a token of appreciation.”

The magistrate ordered Sibanda to photocopy all the files for the house that are kept at Makokoba housing office for him to make a ruling today. Ngwenya told the court that the said house belonged to them both.

“Your worship, this man keeps talking about things that expired long back.

“This divorce is a way of trying to evict me from my house. Both our names are there at Makokoba housing office.

“We used our marriage certificate and both of our names were included,” Ngwenya said.

“He is the one who beat me up and took me to ‘Msiteli’ (Bulawayo Provincial Registry) for a divorce, but they refused to make me sign because I was injured badly.”