Court Rejects Man’s Bid For US$4,240 Lobola Refund
Mutare man, Mr. Eddington Machingauta, has faced a setback in both his pursuit of access to his bride and his attempt to secure a lobola refund, as the courts dismissed his application.
The intricate legal battle unfolded at the Mutare Magistrates Civil Court, where Mr. Machingauta, represented by Makuwaza & Magogo Attorneys, took legal action against his in-laws, Mr. Godwin Madenga and Ms. Betty Gombarume, along with his estranged partner, Ms. Patricia Chantelle Madenga, seeking restitution of US$4,240 paid as bride price.
However, the defendants, represented by Mr. Chris Ndlovu of Gonese and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners, contested the claim, asserting that Mr. Machingauta had only paid US$500 toward lobola, with additional payments not constituting lobola perse.
Presiding magistrate Ms. Priscilla Gumbo dismissed Mr. Machingauta’s application, citing unclear motives. She remarked, “It is still unclear why you decided to lay dormant after paying lobola and only decided to resurface demanding a refund of the lobola.”
Ms. Gumbo raised questions about whether Mr. Machingauta genuinely sought to reunite with his wife or if the entire situation was a sham. She stated, “My belief is the applicant would have taken the necessary actions to have his wife back if he truly wanted the marriage to subsist.”
The ruling declared that Mr. Machingauta is not entitled to a refund as the marriage was never dissolved, and he did not offer his wife a divorce token, ‘gupuro.’ Consequently, the court ruled that the two are only in separation.
The court heard that Mr. Machingauta had visited his in-laws in August to negotiate lobola, with a total of US$11,240 on the bride price list. He managed to pay US$3,690 and groceries worth US$550, totaling US$4,240.
Despite Mr. Machingauta’s payments, the bride’s parents refused to hand over their daughter, leading to a strained relationship between August and October. Efforts to negotiate restitution or the return of his wife were unsuccessful.
The defendants’ attorney, Mr. Ndlovu, argued that lobola is a customary law practice, and Mr. Machingauta should address the matter through proper channels. He emphasized that lobola involves a transaction between a son-in-law and his father-in-law, and Mr. Machingauta cannot sue his mother-in-law and estranged wife.
Mr. Ndlovu concluded that the issue could only be resolved by the two parties involved.
Source: Manica Post