Maintenance row: VP Mohadi, ex-wife headed for court showdown

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By Mary Taruvinga

VICE President Kembo Mohadi will next Wednesday appear before High Court Judge, Esther Muremba to tell the court why he is turning down a post-divorce claim of maintenance by his ex-wife, Tambudzani Bhudhagi Muleya.

The VP and his ex-wife are currently embroiled in a messy divorce that has spilled into the country’s courts.

Muremba on Tuesday ruled that the best way to handle the case is if Mohadi and Tambudzani were given a chance to cross examine each other as their fight rages.

Tambudzani is claiming US$13 394 from the politician saying she wants to maintain a fancy lifestyle she was introduced to by her ex-husband.

“The position that he (Mohadi) is enjoying a luxurious life is being contested. He is denying the claim and in his heads of arguments, said that the applicant has no minor children or rentals to pay,” said Muremba.

“Parties have to come to court and explain themselves. The respondent (Mohadi) needs to cross examine the applicant (Tambudzani) on why she is asking for maintenance…perhaps the applicant will have to explain what she needs the money for.

“What we are saying is that we are postponing the matter to another day. So the remaining thing is for both parties to appear in court when they are available.”

In her claim, Tambudzani said she is past her youthful age and as such, is unable to secure employment that will help her with a salary sufficient to maintain a lifestyle she is accustomed to.

In response, Mohadi scoffed at the claim saying Tambudzani is only attempting to embarrass and harass him.

“The applicant (Tambudzani) is not entitled to maintenance post-divorce as she has no dependants to support. All children born out of the marriage relationship between the applicant and respondent (Mohadi) are adults. Applicant has no rentals to pay as she was awarded two houses when the marriage was dissolved which she is leasing and realises about US$1 000 per month from rentals,” Mohadi said.

The duo’s marriage collapsed last year and just after the nullification of the pair’s holy matrimony, Tambudzani petitioned the court seeking post-divorce maintenance.

It is her argument that the couple purchased various businesses which were now being controlled by Mohadi.

“The applicant has an income from her work as a senator where she earns $2 032, 88…the salary does not cover even a quarter of her monthly expenses in light of maintaining the lifestyle she was accustomed to. The applicant is claiming less than she was accustomed to and has given a reasonable estimate of her monthly expenses,” said Tambudzani in her affidavit.

Tambudzani claimed that she is now surviving from a minimal allowance from her position as a Senator.

Mohadi said Tambudzani should get a life instead of playing games with the court.

“The consent paper signed by the applicant and the respondent shows that the applicant has other several properties of a substantial value and over 400 herd of cattle. She is not poor as she purports to be in the proceedings and is not in need of any maintenance.”

Mohadi said Tambudzani’s application does not show that she is struggling and needs money for her upkeep.

“It boggles the mind why the applicant would want US$1 834 per month for holidays and what she calls church trips. This simply shows that the applicant is playing games with this honourable court. She is simply not serious. The applicant merely filed the present application to embarrass and harass the respondent,” he said adding that no justification has been given by Muleya for items listed on the purported schedule of expenses.

In her application Tambudzani insisted that it was just and equitable for her to be awarded the sum of $13 394 as maintenance, which amount would enable her to enjoy and maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard of living she used to enjoy while living with Mohadi.

The VP said he could not support Tambudzani on the basis of the marriage vows that he made.

“It is common cause that for over 19 years she has been fending for herself without any support from the respondent. During that period she did not deem it fit to approach the courts for assistance. It is clear that she has been able to sustain herself and she can continue. She did not apply for maintenance because she was able to sustain herself and is still able to sustain herself,” Mohadi said.