HARARE – A man is suing his father-in-law to recover US$2,700 he paid as pride price (lobola) after his new wife cheated before their wedding.
Maxmillan Tapiwa Kondowe won a default judgement against Charles Bandera at the civil court but two High Court judges have granted him temporary reprieve by allowing him to appeal.
Justices Benjamin Chikowero and Samuel Deme, sitting as an appeal court, on Monday barred Kondowe from executing the default judgement pending the outcome of his appeal.
“In our view, there was no evidence of deliberateness that was placed before the court a quo and hence there was no wilful default,” said Chikowero.
Kondowe told the civil court that sometime in March 2021 he paid lobola for Shumirai Bandera from Karoi.
After this ceremony, Kondowe said he was not allowed by the bride’s father to immediately start living with his wife until after their wedding.
Two months later, Kondowe discovered WhatsApp messages on his wife’s phone showing that she was dating another man.
He said he confronted his wife who allegedly admitted having cheated.
Kondowe called time on the marriage and took his father-in-law to the small claims court demanding his lobola back.
Bandera was served with summons but failed to enter an appearance to defend. Kondowe then successfully applied for default judgment against the Bandera.
Upon discovering that the Messenger of Court wanted to execute the default judgment, Bandera proceeded to apply for a rescission of the judgement.
He applied for an interim order for a stay of execution of the default judgment which was dismissed by the civil court, leading to his appeal to the High Court which has paused the execution of judgement until the matter is heard.
“The court a quo also erred in that it failed to find as a fact that the appellant’s explanation for the default when he failed to enter an appearance to defend is reasonable and that the bona fides of his defence on the merits of the case carry some weight which when considered in conjunction with one another and the application as a whole would tilt in favour of the granting of the rescission of the judgment prayed for by the appellant,” Bandera’s lawyers said in his appeal.
Bandera also argued that the magistrate had no jurisdiction to hear Kondowe’s claim.