DIASPORAN LOSES MATRIMONIAL HOUSE TO HUSBAND’S LOVER
A diasporan has lost her matrimonial house in Harare to her late husband’s lover after the High Court ruled that she is not entitled to inherit it.
The late Samuel Zachary Munangatire who died in the United Kingdom in 2012 was on separation from his legal spouse, Anna Mercy Munangatire. The couple owned Number 36 Marlborough Drive in Harare.
His death sparked a fierce civil dispute pitting the surviving spouse and the lover, Grace Nyandoro, over the property.
Justice Chitakunye said for someone to inherit the property one should establish two things: that a person seeking to inherit the house is the spouse of the deceased, and that the person must have been living at that house immediately prior to the deceased’s death.
Though the court was satisfied that Mrs Munangatire was the surviving spouse of the late Samuel, the contentious issue was that she was not living at the contested property at the time of her husband’s death.
Mrs Munangatire averred that her stay in the UK was temporary, but Justice Chitakunye disagreed.
“It is in UK that the parties married and when they relocated to Zimbabwe and things did not go well, she returned to the UK and that is where she has been since 1998,” said Justice Chitakunye.
“There was virtually no matrimony to talk about serve for the fact that the action for divorce had not been concluded and they so remained husband and wife.
“I thus conclude that the applicant was not living in the property immediately before the late Samuel’s death.”
Justice Chitakunye said though Mrs Munangatire had failed to qualify to be the sole beneficiary of the property in terms of Section 3A of the Act, she was still entitled to her husband’s household goods and effects and to a share in the house.
The court heard that Mr Munangatire and his mistress relocated to UK in 2001, leaving Ms Nyandoro’s relatives occupying the matrimonial home. While in the UK, Mr Munangatire and Ms Nyandoro went on separation.