Drama unfolds as man sets up camp at in-law’s homestead to secure sister’s bride price

File pic: Chief's court

Unconventional methods used in bride price dispute: Makoni man sets up camp at in-laws’ homestead

In a peculiar turn of events, a man from Makoni resorted to unorthodox measures, including occupying his in-laws’ homestead, while demanding bride price from his sister’s former partner. The incident came to light during a hearing at Chief Makoni’s community court, where Chenjerai Chibharo sought three cattle, three goats, and US$2,000 as bride price for his unidentified sister.

Representing his elderly father, Chibharo explained the situation, stating that the ex-lover, Innocent Sakala, had spent a significant amount of time with his sister and fathered two children with her. However, no formal bride price had been paid.

“I am here standing in for my father who is elderly and cannot attend the court hearing.

“Sakala stayed with my sister for a long time and they were blessed with two children.

“He has not paid anything towards her bride price.

“The two have since separated, but Sakala never approached us for marriage talks,” said Chibharo.

Sakala, on the other hand, claimed to be unaware of his ex-lover’s current whereabouts, as she had abruptly left his residence. He recounted that she had informed him she was resolving some issues with her relatives, only to later reveal that she had married someone else. When Sakala requested her to collect her belongings, her relatives unexpectedly arrived at his homestead, refusing to leave and demanding bride price.

Sakala, who was based in Harare, recounted his attempts to resolve the matter. He revealed that he had given his ex-lover’s relatives US$100 and a goat in response to their initial demands. However, they returned seeking two cattle, and despite his further financial contributions, they continued to stay at his homestead.

Frustrated with the situation, Sakala contacted the Chibharo family and prompted them to address the matter through Chief Makoni’s court. He also expressed his belief that he should be compensated for the time his ex-lover’s relatives occupied his homestead and consumed his resources.

“I have heard what my in-law is saying, but may this honourable court enquire from him where my former wife is.

“My wife left home claiming that she was going to settle some issues with her relatives. After some months, I made a follow up and she told me that she was already married to someone else.

“I advised her to come and collect her belongings from my house.

“Instead, her relatives who pitched up without notice.

“Surprisingly they refused to leave my homestead, demanding lobola from me. I was in Harare and instructed my relatives to give them US$100 and a goat.

“A month later, they visited my homestead again. This time they were demanding two cattle and they stayed put for some days.

“I later gave US$100 to their other brother at Glen Norah shops in Harare and they left my homestead.

“They came back after a few weeks and camped for four days until I handed their brother another US$150 at Mbudzi Roundabout in Harare.

“This time they refused to leave, demanding cattle, and I instructed my parents not to succumb to their further demands.

“I called the Chibharos and informed them to take up the matter with this court. They should also pay me for staying at my homestead, consuming my food,” said Sakala.

Chief Makoni criticized Chibharo’s unconventional approach to claiming bride price, labelling it as extortion and not in accordance with cultural norms. He warned that if Sakala had reported the matter to the police, Chibharo could have faced extortion charges.

“Chibharo’s way of claiming his sister’s bride price is not part of our culture. This is extortion.

“You claim the bride price through a go-between or a community court. If Sakala had reported this issue to the police, you could have been arrested for extortion,” said Chief Makoni.

However, the court ruled in favour of Chibharo, who was awarded US$850 and two goats as bride price compensation.

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