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Crime and Courts

Justice Chidyausiku’s pension row settled




Justice Chidyausiku’s pension row settled. The determination by Justice Jacob Manzunzu came about after Chidyausiku’s second wife, Farai Kunaka, approached the High Court seeking an order to compel the government pension master and paymaster to release the late national hero’s pension to her.

The High Court has ruled that the two widows of the late former Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku are both entitled to receive the national hero’s pension.

But her application was then challenged by Chidyausiku’s first wife, Mary Chidyausiku. It was Farai’s contention that she was seeking an order to compel Mary to sign documents necessary to process the late Chidyausiku’s terminal benefits and pension in her favour and paid into her accounts.

But, the pension master and paymaster also filed their notices of the opposition seeking clarification on the matter, which then remained unresolved before the judgement by Justice Manzunzu. Chidyausiku died on May 3, 2017, hardly three months after retiring at the age of 70.

Although he was still married to Mary, at the time of his death the long-serving judge was living with Farai. His death set off a nasty inheritance row that saw the two widows spend nearly two years feuding over his fortune.

Justice Manzunzu, however, brought the impasse to an end on September 3, 2020 after making a ruling that both Farai and Mary were the late national hero’s wives.

“The fifth respondent (Mary) does not deny that applicant (Farai) was living with the late as alleged, neither does she say she was herself living with him until his death,” reads part of the ruling.

“I find more probability in the evidence of the applicant on the issue of the existence of a customary law union than the opposition put up by the fifth respondent. “In fact, the applicant has proved her case on this aspect as fully supported by the conduct of the late.”

The judge said there was enough proof that Farai was customarily married to Chidyausiku. Justice Manzunzu ordered the pension master to process Chidyausiku’s pension and terminal benefits. On the other hand, the paymaster was ordered to pay the money into Farai and Mary’s accounts.

Source – Bulawayo24

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