Woman claims child maintenance from two men

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A 30-year-old Hatfield woman, Vimbai Tichawona, was on Monday castigated by a Harare magistrate for abusing the courts to settle personal vendettas after she pleaded guilty to claiming maintenance from two men for one child.

Tichawona admitted she claimed maintenance for her daughter, Wendy Musembure, born on April 14 2008 from Mandizvidza Musembure and recently from Owen Ruwanika, when she appeared before provincial magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini.

According to prosecutor Desire Chidanire, in May 2009, Tichawona applied for her daughter’s maintenance at the Harare Civil Courts under case number M169/09 against Musembure who was then ordered to pay $160 per month for the child’s upkeep.

But Musembure is said to have defaulted on payment prompting Tichawona to apply for his arrest which was granted by a magistrate at the civil courts.

Tichawona then took the warrant of arrest to Hatfield Police Station for processing.

While pursuing Musembure’s warrant, Tichawona made a fresh maintenance claim of $70 against Ruwanika for the same child under case number M1837/11 and was issued with court summons.

She took the summons to the same police station to have Ruwanika summoned to appear at the civil courts.

Tichawona’s luck ran out when police officers discovered she had claimed maintenance for same child from two men and she was immediately arrested and charged.

Tichawona told the court in mitigation she wanted to “fix” Ruwanika because he owed her money, although she did not disclose the amount.

Magistrate Jarabini told Tichawona courts were there to deliver justice and not to settle vendettas.
He slapped her with 12 months’ imprisonment and suspended three months on condition of good behaviour.

The remaining nine months were also suspended on condition Tichawona completed 315 hours of community service at Braeside Police Station, starting tomorrow.