A BEITBRIDGE businessman, who is embroiled in a legal battle with his estranged wife over the custody of their four-year-old son, has approached the High Court after the woman allegedly “stole” the child and eloped with her boyfriend.
Charles Mulowa, through his lawyers Dube-Tachiona and Tsvangirai Legal Practitioners, has filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order directing Ms Julia Ndou to return the child within 24 hours pending the determination of the final custody.
In papers before the court, Ms Ndou and the Master of the High Court were cited as respondents.
In his founding affidavit, Mr Mulowa said the application is premised on the fact that he had been the minor’s custodian at all material time after Ms Ndou abandoned the child.
He said his estranged wife, without any notice or arrangement went to the child’s school and took their son and eloped with her boyfriend.
“I am the biological father of the minor male child born on April 8, 2015. Pending the determination of the custody application in the final relief sought for full custody, I seek the return of my son back home in the interim. First respondent (Ms Ndou) and I were living together as husband and wife at Tshapfutshe Siding in Beitbridge district until February 2019 when she deserted me and our son,” he said.
Mr Mulowa said from the time Ms Ndou left their matrimonial home, he had full custody of the child who is now attending school at an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre in Beitbridge.
He said on October 15 this year, Ms Ndou went to the child’s school and took the boy after convincing school authorities to release him.
“I engaged my in-laws and they professed ignorance of her whereabouts. I have been trying to communicate with her so that she brings the child back as she is disrupting his school lessons, to no avail. I have no knowledge of the welfare and wellbeing of my child. I am reliably informed that when she took our son, she was in the company of her boyfriend,” said Mr Mulowa.
“I have no further details regarding the child’s whereabouts as it stands right now and as such the matter cannot wait as I fear for the child’s wellbeing and safety.
“In the previous years when we were still staying together, I discovered that whenever she would travel from Bulawayo to Beitbridge, she would be in the company of her boyfriend and this came to my attention through the man’s wife after she confronted me about affair between our spouses.”
Mr Mulowa said Ms Ndou had an unstable lifestyle, which is contrary to what the child is exposed to.
“The child has been living with me when the mother deserted us in 2019. I therefore seek restoration of the status quo as I wait the determination of the ultimate custody issues pertaining to the child. I believe I have demonstrated prima facie right to be granted the interim relief sought,” he said.