Priest in court for maintenance

Manda Chimbaza

BUT if anyone does not provide for his children, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever!

This Biblical advice about responsibility to children seems to have no meaning for a priest with the Anglican Church in Bulawayo who has been caught behind enemy lines after his ex-wife sued him for neglecting his three children.

Manda Chimbaza who is reportedly leader of the Anglican Church at St Columba’s Parish in Makokoba and employed by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) was taken to the Civil Court by his ex-wife Ruramai Madava demanding an increase in maintenance arguing that for the past 10 months, the man of the cloth had failed or neglected to provide reasonable support for his children aged nine, 11 and 18.

Madava, who was demanding that maintenance be reviewed from $380 to $10 000 per month, told Bulawayo provincial magistrate in charge of Bulawayo Metropolitan province Enias Magate, that the $380 that the priest was even failing to pay was no longer enough to cater for the children’s needs due to the cost of living which has gone up.

“I am applying for an upward variation from $380 to $10 000 in respect of the three children aged nine, 11 and 18. This is because the cost of living has gone up so the money, he was asked to pay in 2014 is no longer enough. I haven’t received the money since November last year and the arrears have since accumulated to $3 800,” said Madava.

Madava insisted that Chimbaza was failing to contribute money towards his children’s upkeep yet he was employed by the body responsible for collecting taxes for the government.

Responding to the claims, Chimbaza who said he was being paid $20 000 per month turned down his ex-wife’s demand saying “it was too high”. He however, offered to pay $6 000 as monthly maintenance saying he was also of ill-health.

“Since the start of national lockdown, I had been sending her $503 via Ecocash each time my children told me that they have no food. I am a good father and I wanted to be one. I, however, have other three children I am taking care of, a minor, a 19-year-old who is doing Advanced Level and another one who is at Gwanda State University. I am also taking care of the major ones’ needs regardless of their ages,” he said.

He also pleaded with the court to allow him to pay the amount in question saying his monthly expenses combined exceed $40 000.

“May the court also consider that I am also paying $2 800 towards a housing stand. I’m also diabetic and per month I use about $10 000 towards my medication. She (Madava) recently lost her father and I had to borrow money to help with burial expenses. I am also doing two courses, a degree at Catholic University and a diploma all in an effort to upgrade myself. My expenses combined exceed $42 000 per month and that is why I say I can afford $6 000 per month,” said Chimbaza.

In his ruling the magistrate discharged the upkeep of the one who recently turned 18 and asked him to pay $8 500 for the two minor children with effect from the end of this month.