The High Court has lamented the absence of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in the estate of the late former Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Vitalis Musungwa Zvinavashe, whose widow Margaret and stepson Richard have been at each other’s throat ever since the former military boss died in March 2009.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Last week, High Court judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba presided over an application in which Margaret was seeking a court order to bar Richard from entering stand number 730 Cowie Road, Tynwald in Harare accusing him of disturbing her peace.
“I also bemoan the lack of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in this matter. The applicant (Margaret) and the respondent (Richard), who are both trustees and beneficiaries in the family trust, have been at each other for years. There had been litigation in this court and also criminal and counter-criminal charges against each other,” Justice Chirawu-Mugomba said.
“It seems that peace between them is elusive. It is incumbent upon them to find each other and find a lasting solution to their dispute and differences.”
According to court papers, Margaret and Richard have been embroiled in bitter fights over Zvinavashe’s estate and at some point the fights landed Richard in the dock after he allegedly chased his stepmother out of the premises despite her having been granted lifetime usufruct over the Tynwald property by the late army general.
In January 2019, Margaret approached the High Court for recourse after Richard allegedly visited the property in dispute and changed all keys to the premises and the house denying Margaret access to her plot and house.
In his affidavit, which formed part of the court papers, Richard admitted that Margaret was granted lifetime usufruct over the Tynwald property, but insisted he too had equal rights to the same on the basis that it was also awarded to the Zvinavashe family, adding all the beneficiaries are entitled to enjoy the same property.
After hearing submissions from both parties, the judge eventually ruled in Margaret’s favour and ordered Richard to respect his father’s wishes.
“The respondent be and is hereby interdicted from entering stand 730 Cowie Road, Tynwald, Harare without consent of the applicant; the respondent be and is hereby barred or interdicted from engaging in any conduct which is calculated to disturb and or interfere with applicant peaceful and undisturbed possession and occupation of Stand 730 Cowie Road…,” Justice Chirawu-Mugomba ruled and ordered Richard to pay costs of suit.