A MARANGE widow lost all her husband’s possessions after his death and is now demanding a beast as a token of appreciation for looking after the family’s cattle during the course of her 17-year-marriage.
Otilia Hapana dragged her step son, Nobert Muchariga to court as she was seeking a protection order. She asked Muchariga to compensate her with one cow (mombe yechifudza) as a token of appreciation for her hard work.
“My husband had five beasts and all of them were inherited by Nobert, yet he was nowhere in sight for 17 years as I looked after the cattle. I toiled hard to look after the family wealth. My step children only came in to squander what I toiled for,” she said.
Hapana also told the court that Muchariga is evicting her from her late husband’s homestead. “He tells me that I am no longer welcome at their homestead since I sired no child with their late father. Your Worship, I cannot bear being insulted and being labelled ‘barren’ by a child that I looked after. It is so degrading.
“I have nowhere to go since this has been my home for the past 17 years,” said the distraught woman. Hapana also begged the court to order Muchariga to hand over his late father’s death certificate to her. Muchariga, however, told the court that he inherited his father’s cattle as he was his only son.
“Your Worship, three of those cattle were part of my sisters’ lobola. The family saw it fit for me to inherit the cattle because according to our custom, I am now their father.
“When my father married this woman (Hapana), he already had the other cattle as they had belonged to my late mother. Our father was just a custodian and he kept them safe for us. The family therefore gave the cattle to me after my father’s death,” said Muchariga.
He, however, promised to engage other family members on the need to compensate Hapana. Muchariga also denied evicting his step-mother from her homestead as well as denying her access to her late husband’s identity documents.
“There is someone behind this, someone is feeding her this poison. I am in fact helping her in processing my father’s estate to ensure that she also gets a share. I was taken aback when she dragged me to court,” he said.
Mutare magistrate, Ms Notebulgar Muchineripi ordered Muchariga to stop harassing, evicting, insulting and assaulting his step mother.