Woman seeks to cancel divorce with dead hubby 



MASVINGO – A Mazoe woman has applied to the High Court in Masvingo for the nullification of a divorce entered between her and her husband who is now dead.

Martha Nyati nee Nyarira argues that the divorce was fraudulently obtained and would therefore prejudice her in the sharing of the late Chemist Nyati’s property.

Nyati was at the time of his death married to another woman Getrude Nyati who is one of the defendants in the case.

The property that Nyarira is looking at are several undeveloped residential stands, three houses in Chiredzi, one in Bulawayo, long leases for a farm in the Mazoe area in Mashonaland Central Province, a long lease for sugarcane plantation in Chiredzi and expensive household property.

Nyarira told the court that she only became aware of the divorce between her and her husband after the latter died of COVID-19 on July 17, 2021. The divorce granted by default is 14 years old and the two partners were not staying together for 19 years up to the time of the husband’s death.

The appeal for rescission under HC CIV ‘A’ 49/22 was heard by Justice Garainesu Mawadze and Justice Sunsley Zisengwe on Wednesday.  

The judges reserved judgment and gave the appellant and respondents time to file additional documents. 

Nyarira claims that she was not served with summons for divorce, set down dates or the default judgment against her which was granted by then Chiredzi Magistrate Diana Masiyiwa in 2009.

The couple was staying apart since 2002 when Martha left Nyati in Chiredzi to stay at a family farm in Mazoe because the latter allegedly had endless extra-marital affairs. 

Justice Mawadze and Justice Zisengwe quizzed Martha’s lawyer Wilbroad Kanoti of Kanoti and Partners Public Interest Lawyers on how Chemist’s interests would be represented should the recession be granted.

Martha says she only knew that Chemist had divorced her when her son Michael Nyati went to register his late father’s estate with the Master of the High Court in Harare. 

Michael was informed that another estate had been registered in Masvingo. Martha then inquired about the estate and was told that she had no stake in it since Chemist had divorced her. She was also shown a copy of the default divorce order.

The beneficiary of the estate is Getrude. 

Getrude is represented by Ross Chavi Law Offices. 

“She rushed on the same day to Chiredzi to peruse the relevant court record, in casu, wherein she observed a lot of anomalies, lies, fake documentation and claims, thus culminating in this application for rescission of the default judgment of this Honourable Court granting a divorce between her and her now late husband on or around October 2009,” reads part of the application. 

Martha said she did not attend her husband’s burial owing to travelling restrictions as she was in Mozambique when he died. 

Nyarira who is a Government employee also alleges that her signature was forged onto summons she was shown at Chiredzi Magistrates Court when she went to inquire about the divorce case. She claims that the messenger of court who allegedly served her the summons is complicity in the fraudulent deal. 

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