In a startling turn of events in Harare, Maxmillan Tapiwa Kondowe has sued his father-in-law, Charles Bandera, aiming to get a lobola refund for $2,700 (about R50,000) – the lobola he paid for his new wife.
The dispute arose following the distressing revelation that his bride-to-be was involved in an affair and cheated on him before their wedding ceremony.
Kondowe secured a default judgment against Charles Bandera at the Harare Civil Court.
However, the trajectory of this contentious issue shifted dramatically when High Court Justices Benjamin Chikowero and Samuel Deme intervened, temporarily pausing the execution of the default judgment pending an appeal.
Detailing the sequence of events to the civil court, Kondowe explained that he fulfilled the lobola payment for Shumirai Bandera in March 2021.
However, he faced a stipulation from the bride’s father, requiring him not to live with his wife-to-be until after their formal wedding ceremony.
Zimlive reports that merely two months later, Kondowe stumbled upon compelling evidence – WhatsApp messages on his wife’s phone – indicating her involvement with another man.
A confrontation ensued, wherein she allegedly confessed to the infidelity, prompting Kondowe to terminate the marriage and seek a full lobola refund.
Bandera, upon being served the summons, failed to present a defence, resulting in a default judgment against him.
Subsequently, he sought to rescind the judgement, citing the magistrate’s purported lack of jurisdiction and the reasonableness of his defence.
The legal complexities deepened as Bandera sought an interim order to halt the execution of the default judgment, which was dismissed by the civil court.
This spurred Bandera’s appeal to the High Court, successfully obtaining a temporary suspension of the judgement’s execution until a formal hearing is convened.
According to rulings made by the Magistrate’s Court and the High Court of Zimbabwe, a husband is entitled to a full refund of his lobola if his wife cheats on him.
This ruling was confirmed in a 2015 decision by High Court judges Justice Hlekani Mwayera and Justice Tendai Uchena.
The magistrate further ruled that, according to customary law, a man who has paid lobola is entitled to a full refund if his wife engages in adultery.
Displeased with this ruling, the father-in-law filed an appeal at the High Court, where the matter was heard by Justices Mwayera and Uchena.
The two judges dismissed Mangwende’s appeal, stating that they found no fault in the magistrate’s ruling. He was also ordered to pay the costs of the litigation.
In their decision, the judges stated: “In coming up with the disposition of the matter whereby the court a quo dismissed the claim for the balance of lobola, the trial magistrate properly exercised his discretion and we find no fault in his findings.”