The Supreme Court has ruled that the 10 children of Thomas Zawaira, the first black mayor of Masvingo, are entitled to an inheritance despite the fact that they were born out of wedlock. Zawaira died in 2003, and after his death, his estate was shared between his wife Felistas and her six children.
The other 10 children contested the decision and had to approach the Supreme Court after the High Court dismissed their appeal. However, the Supreme Court reversed the decision saying all the children are entitled to an inheritance, in the same way, they are entitled to maintenance. The court also said that spouses of cheating partners can sue for adultery
Chief Justice Luke Malaba who heard the matter together with Justice Marie-Anne Gowora and Justice Ben Hlatshwayo ruled:
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There are civil remedies to protect the marriage available to a partner faced with a bed-hopping spouses, such as suing for adultery damages and related remedies.
The father of an out of wedlock child is liable to maintain such child and the deceased was indeed supporting such children during his lifetime, the justice of this case cries out for such support to be maintained and the customary law should be deemed to apply to the distribution of the deceased’s estate among the children.
Accordingly, it is ordered as follows: the appeal succeeds.
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