New Zimbabwe.com

Zimbabwe to change laws governing children’s custody

By Mary Taruvinga


THERE could be relief to men separated with their spouses after government indicated it was ready to make far reaching changes to the Guardianship and Minors Act.

Cabinet early this week passed principles on the proposed amendments to the Guardianship of Minors Act, 2014, with the aim of aligning it to the new Constitution.

It announced that the new law will confer equal rights on mothers and fathers.

The Act used to favour women over men when it comes to the custody rights of minor children.

The Ministry of Information, in a notice on its Twitter handle, revealed the impending changes.

“Cabinet yesterday (Tuesday) passed principles on the proposed amendments to the Guardianship of Minor’s Act of 2014, to align it with the new Constitution.

“The new law will confer equal rights on mothers and fathers. The current law favours mothers in regard to the custody of children,” the short statement said.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Information secretary Nick Mangwana said the proposed Bill will now go for drafting.

“From here the Bill is going to be drafted and brought back to Cabinet, then it will be gazetted before being taken to Parliament.

“What was passed by Cabinet were the principles to amending the law,” said Mangwana.

The amendment comes at a time most estranged parents have been embroiled in fights over guardianship of children.

Recently, top clergyman, Ezekiel Guti’s daughter dragged her estranged husband to court on contempt charges after he reportedly failed to return the couple’s two minor children back to her in breach of a court order.

Lindsay Nyajeka (35), husband to the founder of Zimbabwe Assemblies of God (Zaoga), Guti’s daughter Ethanim (29), was hauled before Harare magistrate, Francis Mapfumo on Thursday facing contempt of court charges.

Another victim is South African based businessman, Frank Buyanga, who made headlines last week after a custody battle of his son spilt into the courts.

Buyanga has since welcomed the move by the government and wrote on his Facebook account, “I have been in courts in the past two weeks just trying to bring my son for Easter holidays to South Africa where I am based most of my time.

“The way things go in relationships and divorce courts can end up hurting the child in the long run, things need to change,” said Buyanga.

“The status quo has been for one parent to become the primary custodial parent and the other to be the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent usually is relegated to an every other weekend type scenario.”

Buyanga urged the government to speedily enact these amendments to protect men who are usually unfairly discriminated against when custody matters are under the spotlight.