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Jiri in legacy skirmish

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The family of the late Jairos Jiri has described his widow Betty Jiri nee Mapuranga as an impostor out to gain public sympathy and grab properties left by the late philanthropist and dismissed claims that she is a founder member of the Jairos Jiri Association.
Jiri’s widow made newspaper headlines earlier this year after she was evicted from a house she lived in at one of the Jairos Jiri institutions in Bulawayo.
There was a public outcry over the eviction which had been sanctioned by the High Court following an application to that effect by the Jairos Jiri Association management.
The late Jiri who died in 1982 left five wives and Betty was the youngest in line.
The Jiri family held a meeting in Bulawayo at the weekend to discuss Betty’s issue.
Spokesperson for the family Retired Colonel Claudious Makova yesterday said that the family had found and declared Betty an untruthful person who had sought public sympathy through media publications to extort money from the Jairos Jiri Association.
He said Betty had no right to demand ownership of properties owned by the association as she was not there when it was formed.
Betty who divorced Jiri in 1968 allegedly resurfaced a year ago claiming to be the bonafide widow of Jiri. She claims to have spent the last 28 years in poverty yet his husband had properties all over the country.
Jairos Jiri was well-known as a philanthropist, who dedicated his life to caring for people living with disabilities and established a number of centres around the country to cater for the disabled.
“Where was she when the family was distributing Jiri’s estate in 1985? If someone was divorced and they went on to re-marry, would they still be part of that family?” asked Makova.
Makova said the family had since resolved that if Betty continued to cause problems they would seek the intervention of the police.
The Jiri family is reportedly worried that the association’s image could be tarnished by public utterances such as that made by Betty and that this could lead to the association failing to attract donor funding.
“Which donor would want to support us if we have such allegations flying around,” Makova said.

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