By Mary Taruvinga
SOUTH African based businessman Frank Buyanga’s ex-girlfriend has approached the High Court with an application seeking joint of custody of their minor boy aged four.
Chantell Muteswa approached the High Court seeking to be allowed to file her response to Buyanga’s application for joint custody saying her baby daddy hoodwinked her into believing he was interested in reconciliation and negotiations.
Through her lawyer Munyaradzui Bwanya of Wilmot and Bennet instructed by Advocate Fadzai Mahere, Muteswa made an application for upliftment of the bar condoning the late filling of heads of argument in case number HC 3971/19 filed by her ex-boyfriend.
“While I engaged in good faith and dialogue was progressing positively, Buyanga ambushed me with a notice of set down of this matter,” Muteswa said.
“On July 4, parties appeared before Justice Zhou, case number HC5552/19 and the Judge advised parties to settle the matter involving the child amicably. I met Buyanga’s lawyer and agreed to work on a new consent agreement.”
In her application, Muteswa said she expected parties to proceed as agreed but Buyanga went to court behind her back and sought joint custody.
“My lawyer is in ongoing discussions to resolve the issues of custody, access, guardianship and maintenance of our son. Sometime in May this year Buyanga filed an application for joint custody and guardianship case number HC3971/19. 26154
“On June 19, this year parties appeared before Justice Manzunzu in case number HC5011/19 and the Judge directed that lawyers involved should advise parties to settle the matter amicably,” the court heard.
She added: “On July 4, parties appeared before Justice Zhou case number HC5552/19 and the Judge advised parties to settle the matter involving the child amicably. I met Buyanga’s lawyer and agreed to work on a new consent agreement.
“Buyanga abandoned the arrangement without explanation. I also realised that he abandoned the lawyer who was pursuing the settlement, which negotiation is ongoing.”
“I seek uplifting of the bar to allow late filing of heads of argument in case number HC3971/19. I believed that Buyanga, through multiple lawyers was genuinely interested in reconciliation and an amicable long lasting settlement in respect of matters relating to the welfare of our child.”
The two have been in and out of the courts fighting over guardianship of their son.
Muteswa has custody of the minor following a ruling by a Harare magistrate early this year before Buyanga took the boy on July 1, this year.
The baby mama argues Buyanga was supposed to return the child as per court order but he refused to do so.
Buyanga refused to return the boy back to his mother saying she has no proper accommodation for his son since she stays with her father who was recently evicted from his place of residence.
The case is pending.