IS it ok to check your spouse’s phone?
A Bulawayo magistrate has ruled that the trust in a relationship or marriage should be enough for one to follow the ‘hands off’ policy on his or her significant other’s mobile.
Tinashe Tashaya said this while delivering judgment in a case in which a Bulawayo woman Rosalia Phiri was suing her husband Ebrahim Phiri for abuse and for allegedly prying into her phone.
The magistrate who apparently believed that no good can come out of looking at one’s partner’s phone, ordered Ebrahim not to pry into his wife’s cellphone.
He said if Ebrahim, a music teacher at a city school, wants access to his wife’s cellphone, he has to gently ask for permission.
This was after Rosalia had complained: “I am married to Ebrahim Phiri in terms of the Marriages Act Chapter 5:11 and it still subsists. My husband has been physically abusing me during the course of our marriage.
“He once strangled me and on 16 September he abused me while accusing me of having extra-marital affairs. While harassing me he forcibly grabbed my phone and in the process my arm was dislocated. He has also threatened to kill me saying he will marry another woman.”
In response Ebrahim didn’t refute his wife’s accusations. He, however, said as a couple they should have access to each other’s phones.
“She is refusing me access to her phone and as a husband I don’t think it is right. Just imagine this morning (last Friday) I saw a message in her phone which reads ‘good morning babie’ and when I asked her who had sent her that message she quickly deleted it,” responded Ebrahim.
His response, however, elicited a reprimand from the magistrate.
“Supecting your wife can ruin your marriage. Trust is wonderful. Spying on your partner will not save your relationship either. Rather use technology to enhance your love,” charged the magistrate before he ordered Ebrahim not to verbally, physically and emotionally abuse his wife and not to take or use her phone without her permission.
In April 2016, a Harare High Court judge ruled that it was illegal for spouses to pry into each other’s cellphones without permission.
Judge Justice Chitapi made the landmark ruling as he sentenced Fortunate Nsoro (36) of Chitungwiza for knifing her husband Petros Mutasa (55) to death while their eight-year-old daughter watched.
Nsoro fatally stabbed Mutasa after he refused to show her a “suspicious” text message that he had received on his cellphone.