Flamboyant businessman and Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa’s wife, Elizabeth (nee Jumah) has finally succeeded in nullifying the couple’s 30-year-old marriage after High Court Judge President Justice George Chiweshe granted the divorce order on Tuesday last week.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The nullification of the couple’s marriage followed an application by Elizabeth when she rekindled the litigation on January 11 this year after the initial application that had been filed in 2013, failed to materialise, following what appeared to have been efforts to amicably resolve the duo’s matrimonial impasse.
Elizabeth said she married the business mogul on November 11, 1988 in terms of the Marriage Act chapter 37 now Chapter 5:11, but had, however, lost love and affection for the Native Investments Africa Group founder over alleged infidelity.
Apparently, when the couple’s marriage hit hard surface, the pair, through their lawyers, drafted a consent agreement on the issue of property sharing, but the document was not made public.
In a court order dated March 6, 2018, Justice Chiweshe said: “Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record, examining the plaintiff (Elizabeth) and hearing counsel who applies for a decree of divorce and other relief on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown under the provisions of section 5 of the Matrimonial Causes Act (Chapter 5:13), it is ordered that a decree of divorce be and hereby granted.
“The consent paper signed by both parties shall regulate all issues relating to property matters of the parties to marriage. Defendant (Chiyangwa) to pay costs of suit.”
Chiyangwa and Elizabeth’s marriage deteriorated sometime in 2013 whereupon Elizabeth filed divorce papers claiming 85% of the couple’s wealth and $83 000 per month for 120 months as maintenance after the termination of the marriage.
However, a year later the businessman wrote to the High Court requesting that his divorce case be scrapped off the court roll, as the parties were reportedly locked in out-of-court negotiations to stop their acrimonious divorce.
In her declaration filed with the court then, Elizabeth said she was demanding a lion’s share of the family’s $230 million estate.
But, Chiyangwa objected to the divorce, accusing Elizabeth’s lawyers of incompetence for listing some properties that did not belong to him without verification.
Consequently, in January this year, Chiyangwa, through his lawyers Kantor and Immerman, filed an appearance to defend the divorce litigation.
But in her court papers through her lawyers, Zigomo Legal Practitioners, Elizabeth insisted she had since lost love and affection for Chiyangwa and both had a mutual wish to be divorced.
“The relationship between plaintiff and defendant has irretrievably broken down and there are no reasonable prospects for the restoration of a normal marriage relationship, more particularly in that; the parties have been living apart for a continuous period in excess of 12 months, since plaintiff moved out of the matrimonial home on September 18, 2016,” Elizabeth said.