Fracas as man forces wife to pay rent at their marital house


Norman Mpofu from Pumula North suburb in Bulawayo is allegedly forcing his estranged wife Ethel Mukumbira to pay rent at their marital home. Mpofu and Mukumbira have been customarily married for the past 21 years. However, their marriage hit hard times in 2018, which forced Mukumbira to move to her parents’ place. She only stayed with her parents for a few months before returning home.

When she returned to the marital home, her husband reportedly forced her to become his tenant, to which she reluctantly agreed. According to Mpofu, his estranged wife was supposed to pay US$50 per month as rent. She only paid for three months and has since been staying there for free. Despite his repeated attempts to collect rent for the bills, his efforts have been unsuccessful. He now wants her to vacate the premises.

In an attempt to have her vacate the premises, he filed for an eviction order at Western Commonage Court.

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“Mukumbira and I started living together in 2003 under customary law marriage. However, things took a turn for the worse in 2018 and our marriage broke down.

I paid a divorce token. After that, we agreed to share the (matrimonial) property and the house does not fall under the matrimonial property and thus Mukumbira has no claim over it. After that, she went to stay at her parent’s place and a few months later she returned to stay at my house as a tenant. She rented one of the rooms and I charged her US$50 per month. She paid rent for three months and after that, she has been staying for free. I asked her to vacate my house but she refused. I therefore seek an eviction order,” his affidavit reads in part.

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In response, Mukumbira said that she was still customarily married to Mpofu.

“I’m still his wife. We legally entered into a customary law marriage in 2013. Under customary law, the property falls under matrimonial assets, therefore it is jointly owned by both of us. That’s not true. I never moved out and I was never a tenant,” she responded.

Magistrate Mehluli Moyo presided over the matter and deferred it to 16 April. BMetro.

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