Murehwa North legislator Daniel Garwe’s disregard for court orders earned him a wholly suspended two months imprisonment for resisting an order stopping him from stripping two farms in Harare and Mvuma, pending divorce at the higher court.
His estranged wife Ms Miriam Garwe had obtained a court order in June this year, stopping the legislator from taking or in any way disposing of any of the assets held under the family companies and family trust.
But in defiance, Garwe took away part of the matrimonial property, prompting the wife to file contempt of court charges against him.
Justice Silvia Chirawu-Mugomba heard the matter and found Garwe in contempt of court. She said Garwe deserved censure.
She did not hesitate to impose a 60-day imprisonment wholly suspended on condition that he complied with the court order.
“In the event that the respondent fails to comply forthwith with . . . the applicant (Miriam Lilieth) is entitled to lodge a complaint on oath with the registrar of this court, who shall upon receipts of such complaint, issue a warrant of committal against the respondent (Garwe) for him to serve the suspended sentence,” said Justice Chirawu-Mugomba.
At the hearing of the contempt of court charges, Garwe was challenged to prove that he was not in wilful defiance of the court order. The legislator claimed he could not comply with the court order on the grounds that he was busy with elections campaign in his constituency.
He had also requested to be given until August 1 to comply with court judgments. But Justice Chirawu-Mugomba noted that Garwe’s request ignored the fact that the court order required him to comply with the court decision forthwith.
“He has failed to show how the campaigning prevented him from complying with a court order,” she said.
“His attitude seems to be that of a person who seeks to be excused from complying with a court order simply because he was taking part in an election process.
“To allow such conduct would be tantamount to throwing spanners in the rule of law.”
The couple’s marriage is on the rocks, hence an action for divorce is pending in this court.
At the centre of the divorce is the issue of what constitutes assets of the spouses.
During the subsistence of their marriage, the couple conducted family businesses through and held family assets in family companies and family trust namely: Planet Building Contractors (Pvt) Ltd, Hastream Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, Macheke Motors (Pvt) Ltd t/a Sebakwe Range Farm; Kudakawashe and Tafadzwa Garwe Family Trust.