Former Chitungwiza municipality chamber secretary, Ms Priscilla Vengesai has approached the Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of the practice of paying lobola, saying it reduces women to mere “assets” that are open for abuse. She listed Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Happyton Bonyongwe, Attorney-General Advocate Prince Machaya and Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Nyasha Chikwinya as respondents.
Vengesai argues that if lobola is not abolished parents from both families should be paid. She argues that the continued use of lobola widens the gender inequality gap. Said Vengesai:
I belong to the Shona tribe and I intend to enter into marriage as soon as this matter is concluded. Under the Shona culture, lobola must be paid for a woman before the marriage is acceptable in the family and the society. In scenarios where lobola is not paid, parents and relatives of the bride would not allow the parties to legalise their marriage under the Marriage Act. I did not participate in the pegging of the lobola price. I was never given a chance to ask for the justification of the amounts which were paid. This whole scenario reduced me to a property whereby a price tag was put on me by my uncles and my husband paid. This demoralised me and automatically subjected me to my husband’s control since I would always feel that I was purchased.