PHILLIP Chiyangwa's ex-lover has approached the High Court seeking an order directing that paternity tests on the couple's two children be carried out in South Africa, saying she feared the tycoon would influence the results if the process was carried out locally.
The flashy tycoon is currently working to save his 26 year-old marriage to Elizabeth Chiyangwa after she filed for divorce in late last year and demanded US$83,000 maintenance for ten years as well as 85 percent of his claimed $260 million fortune.
But in March this year, Pamela Rusere, who says she has been Chiyangwa's customary law wife since 1998, approached the High Court seeking US$13,000 per month as maintenance for the couple's two children – Trevor Johnson Chiyangwa, aged seven and Jayden Mambo Chiyangwa who is one year old.
The couple agreed to go for paternity tests after the businessman expressed doubts he was the children's biological father.
Chiyangwa admits to helping with the upkeep of the children (albeit infrequently argues the mother) but claims Pamela's vindictiveness "led me to question the paternity of the children".
In an application filed last month, Pamela urges the High Court to order that the paternity tests be carried out in South Africa, claiming Chiyangwa bragged that she was wasting her time since he has the power to influence any examination conducted in Zimbabwe.
"(Chiyangwa) has expressly made it clear to (me) that he will use his immense business and political connections, including relations with staff and workers in local laboratories, to manipulate the results of these tests.
"(He) feels that he is more superior and should not be brought before the courts because of his money and power and that (I) should not seek maintenance through the courts, yet he has made the children's life unendurable (leaving me with) no other alternative but to seek justice through the courts," Rusere said in her affidavit.
She added: "I have no objections to carrying out the paternity tests because, if duly conducted and processed without interference, they will clarify that the (Chiyangwa) is the father.
"However, I want to guarantee the integrity of the processing of results so that the real truth is discovered. I hereby undertake to personally pay the costs and any other charges that may be associated with the tests having to be conducted in South Africa."
Chiyangwa has asked the court to dismiss the application on the grounds that it was defective. He added that allegations he threatened to influence the results were frivolous and without foundation.
"I have no influence in the working of independent laboratories in Zimbabwe. The Applicant has a very vivid imagination and has made up allegations which I vehemently deny. The Applicant has provided no proof for the serious allegations that are made herein," said the property mogul in response.
"In fact the Applicant is baselessly exhibiting lack of trust in our esteemed public and private laboratories. I am not surprised by this. It is the applicant's tendency to lay unfounded allegations on me, simply to embarrass me.
"At one point, the Applicant told the media that I was HIV positive and I had infected her with the same virus after which I disproved this in the protection order proceedings which I had launched in the Magistrates Court by producing proof that I was HIV negative and I am still negative. All this is meant to embarrass me and damage my image. The court ought to frown upon this conduct."
Chiyangwa made clear he had no intention of submitting himself to any tests that would be carried out in a foreign land and accused Pamela of trying to delay conclusion of the case.
"I have no intention to be subjected to DNA tests in a foreign country when there are facilities available and capable of conducting the same tests within the boundaries of Zimbabwe," he said.
"I am ready and willing to have the DNA tests conducted in Zimbabwe and at the earliest opportunity. I find the continued insistence by the Applicant on having the tests from South Africa to be a ploy to further delay the finalisation of the proceedings before this Honourable Court.
"I confirm that I neither have the intention nor the means to influence the results of the DNA tests. I love children whether they are mine or not but I want to be legally bound to maintain my own children, hence the need for the tests. I am really disappointed that the children in this case are being used by Applicant as pawns to harass and embarrass me.
"I have always maintained the children notwithstanding the harassment by the Applicant. The request for DNA tests is to seek conclusive proof that I am the biological father of the children in question.
"The applicant's allegations are unfounded and are denied in the strongest terms. I have been maintaining the children but the Applicant's vindictiveness has led me to question the paternity of the children."
In response Pamela accused Chiyangwa of mischief saying he would suffer no loss in having the tests carried out in South Africa since she had offered to meet the costs.
Conducting the tests outside the country would also ensure speedy resolution of the case since the results could be available in 48 hours compared to a turnaround of anything up to four weeks locally, she added.
"I have undertaken to meet all costs and expenses associated with the tests being conducted outside the jurisdiction such that, unless the respondent has a sinister motive in insisting that they be conducted within Zimbabwe, he suffers no pain, loss or inconvenience of any kind thereby.
"The Respondent travels to South Africa frequently for entertainment and pleasure purposes and this trip would not inconvenience him surely.
"The goal behind having the tests done outside the country has nothing to do with the respondent's professed abundant love for children, whatever their biology. Rather, it is about the integrity of the process such that the outcome is something that all interested parties can have confidence in."
She also disputed Chiyangwa's claim that he has always looked after the children, accusing the businessman of failing to pay the elder boy's school fees in full and on time as well as having refused to contribute towards medical bills.
"The basis of the (Chiyangwa's) neglect in this manner has been the ill-advised misconception that as a parent, I am legally obliged to make a 50% contribution towards the upkeep and maintenance of the children.
"(This) is manifestly incorrect because the position of the law is that, while parents indeed should both contribute towards the maintenance of their children, they are obliged to do so only to the extent of their respective means. The parent that has more means is obliged to contribute more.
"As I have already indicated, and as already filed as part of my pleadings in the main maintenance case (Chiyangwa) from the inception of our marital relationship, prohibited me from being employed on the grounds that not only did he consider it degrading for his wife to work for a living, but also that he was more than capable of providing for me.
"(He) is therefore aware that I am presently not gainfully employed and battling to make ends meet."