Court says Mliswa too rich to send kids to government school

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE High Court has ordered Norton legislator Temba Mliswa to pay fees for his two minor children at a private school saying he is rich enough to afford it.

Mliswa had challenged a magistrate’s ruling ordering him to pay ZW$8 000 alimony plus fees at a private school which his two minor kids with Cynthia Mugwira attend.

The lawmaker and his estranged girlfriend, a Harare lawyer, have been in constant legal battle over the upkeep of their children.

Mliswa was ordered to pay ZW$8 000 for his two children back in 2016.

He was also ordered to pay school fees.

The lawmaker specifically appealed against the school fees order, claiming he was capable of sending them to a public school.

Mliswa also said Mugwira should settle half of the fees.

However, High court judges of appeal, Justices Neville Wamambo and Emilia Muchawa said Mliswa did not give cogent reasons why he is unable to pay the fees now yet he has been paying all along with no pains.

Mliswa had said his salary as a law maker was insufficient to cater for fees.

“His sources of funds appear on the record to be varied. Mliswa insisted that some of his immovable properties were not generating money and that some of the companies associated with him were being sued. The lower court could not read between the lines that Mliswa’s were not clear to the court.”

“It was, however, clear to the same court that at the end of the day, he can afford the fees at the named school. Between the unclear sources of income, sight should not be lost that Mliswa appears to be affluent person who has, all along, been able to pay fees at the school,” said the judges.

Among other sources or potential sources of income, it was also established that Mliswa has two houses in South Africa, the Shumba Murena family Trust, Saltlakes Holdings Private Limited  and others.

Although the magistrate did not deal with all the evidence, it appeared that Mliswa also recently purchased an expensive Landcruiser.

“Appellant says the car belongs to a friend . He does not satisfactorily explain why he declared a friend’s car to the parliamentary asset declaration list. That fact points to him not being on his resources and sources of income,” said the judges.

Mliswa had also said the mother of his children does afford to pay half of the fees,  but the court said he should appreciate that maintenance fees he is paying is too little.

“Taking into account the current economic situation and value of the Zimbabwean dollar, the total amount of ZW$8 000 can hardly take care of two children. This effectively means that the other needs of the children have been taken care of by the mother,” ruled Wamambo before dismissing Mliswa’s appeal.