BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
THE High Court yesterday awarded Kudakwashe David Mnangagwa guardianship of his child in a custody wrangle with the mother of the child, Al-Marie Iris Hall.
High Court judges, Justices Ephraim Tagu and Emilia Muchawa ruled that fathers of children born out of wedlock must also enjoy equal access to their children and play a role in their upkeep.
The ruling follows an appeal by Hall, who challenged the decision by the magistrate’s court to award custody of the child to Mnangagwa.
The judges cited the case of businessman Frank Buyanga versus his estranged girlfriend Chantelle Muteswa in their ruling which stated that fathers must also enjoy custody of minors.
“The case of Sadiqi (Frank Buyanga) versus Chantelle Muteswa HH249/20 sets out the legal position in respect to the custody of minors born out of wedlock and was relied upon by the court a quo. Furthermore, the court a quo relied on the provisions of the Guardianship of Minors Act and the Universal Declaration on the Rights of the Child.
“These cannot be said to have been irrelevant considerations. One cannot, therefore, successfully impugn the court a quo’s conclusion that the best interests of the child in casu could best be served by placing her in the custody of a stable and responsible person being Mnangagwa. In the result, the appeal is dismissed with costs,” the judges ruled.
They said Mnangagwa had been a good father, while the mother was described as a violent and drug addict who once stayed at a rehabilitation home for three weeks.
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Hall was said to have left the baby with a babysitter, while she went clubbing several times.
The court was at one point told by Hall’s mother that she was desperately into drugs to the extent that she could even sell her baby for drugs.
Hall’s neighbour also confirmed that she was a violent and suicidal person and was in the habit of smashing bottles to attack Mnangagwa.
Through his lawyer, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, Mnangagwa said Hall would threaten to kill herself each time he wanted to move out of their flat.
The child was born in 2019.
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