Maintain your child: Court tells minister Undenge

HARARE - High Court judges have thrown out Energy minister Samuel Undenge’s appeal, in which he was challenging a Civil Court order for him to pay $350 towards the upkeep of his daughter.

Judges Lavender Makoni and Hlekani Mwayera, in a judgment released on Tuesday, said Undenge should continue taking care of his daughter Bongai Tafadzwa Undenge.

“The respondent (Bongai) is not self-supportive and the appellant (Samuel) was held the ‘responsible’ person for the maintenance.

“The order issued by the trial court (Civil Court) is specific that the appellant is to pay $350 maintenance per month till the respondent becomes self-supportive.

“It follows, once she becomes self-supportive, the order terminates.

“There is no ambiguity in the order which cannot be regulated by the relevant statute warranting interference with the court a quo’s decision.

“Accordingly, it is ordered that, the appeal be and is hereby dismissed,” the court ruled.

Undenge had been paying maintenance for the daughter whom he sired with his estranged wife Angeline since 2005.

When she turned 18, Bongai, through her lawyer Rumbidzai Venge, won a court order for her father to continue maintaining her until she was self-sufficient.

According to the court order granted in June last year, Undenge was ordered to pay $350 every month and contribute towards her daughter’s educational needs.

But Undenge challenged the decision, claiming it was ambiguous.

“I was aggrieved by the order as I did not find any legal basis for the granting of the order,” he said.

Undenge, who was represented by Farai Nyamayaro, said that the maintenance order should have been suspended by operation of law.

He argued that the Maintenance Act did not provide for maintenance applications by children who are above 18 years of age.

“The order itself is vague…When does a major become self-supportive because if a person is a major, the presumption is that he is already self-supportive.

“Should the respondent (Bongai) become self-supportive at 40 years, will the applicant (Undenge) still be required to comply with the order?” Undenge queried.

However, High Court judges said that the order was properly made.

“The argument that the order is vague and difficult to comply with cannot be sustained either.

“We are not persuaded by the appellant’s argument that the order is vague because it is specific that maintenance is to be paid till the respondent becomes self-supportive.

“The appellant unsurprisingly, in a dramatic fashion, given the history of maintenance orders suggests the appellant might get to 40 still not being self-sustaining.

“Maintenance is a creature of statute and clearly regulated by the Maintenance Act.

“In the event of a party being aggrieved because of change of circumstances there is provision for downward and upward variation or better still discharge,” the court said.

The judges also said that the Civil Court ruling was made after due consideration of all relevant factors and cannot be viewed as outrageous given the need for tertiary training.

They further said that Section 20 of the Constitution was clear and stated that, “The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must take reasonable measures, including affirmative action programmes, to ensure that youths, that is to say people between the ages of 15 and 35 years have access to appropriate education and training.”

Comments (11)

MINISTER vabatirirwa apa The Maintenence Act inoti maintenence will be paid up until the child has reached the age of 18 or when th child is self supportive. The courts will determine which take precedent, in thid case the child turned 18 first, THHEN MAINTENCE SHOULD CEASE FORTWITH whats wrong DR. maka hire a lawyer asngagoni kutaura try Tendai Biti, Douglas Mwonzora or Nelson Chamisa. I know they are your "political enemisies" bt vakanyatso verenga LAW

Caxton Musiwegota - 11 December 2015

Some judges are not so good at appling the law. I am so surprised that two people who claim to have studied law have upheld the decision of the lower court. Shame varume maparara. Overturning a constitutional order that once a child turns 18 that child becomes a major required zimbabweans to go for a referendum to find out what they say about it. Surely two people can not decide for the whole populancy. taramba. Minister please appeal against this.

daddy - 11 December 2015

Dr Undenge why do you always complain imi murimi baba vemwana uyu. This child is going to hate you apa muchingomuchengeta. Zvitori nane mumufarire muchibvisa mari makanyarara. Zvobatsirei kuita complain and pay the money. After all what is 350 dollars munhu waminister. ndirini ndaimupa chero 1000 dollars.

kudauta - 11 December 2015

Chengetai mwana. Manga majaira kungotundira wese-wese

chirasha chikandamina - 11 December 2015

ko self supportive urikuisiirei nhai daddy

chirasha chikandamina - 11 December 2015

The child is not self supportive. She is in collge, and needs her father to support her. She has not been employed. The father must continue to provide for her needs. madzibaba musada kutiza your responsibilities. Do you tell me kuti all your children when they reach 18 you chase them from home because they are now above legal age of majority? even vari in A level? kurai apa! Plus musangomitisa pese pese. batai zvombo zvenyu and stop thinking nemaballs.

Madzibaba - 12 December 2015

Doc why challenge the ruling when you are simply paying maintenance for you own child at 18 she is still your child at 40 she will still be your child where do you get the idear that when we attain the age of 18 maintenance becomes irrelevant as long as I am alive I must grind your money up until you are dead

ross - 12 December 2015

Dr chingotorai mwana mugare naye and you will realize that $350 for a child in tertiary ishoma indava uchiita kunge usinakudzidza iwe

reydza - 12 December 2015

Kkkkkkk zvakachiomera chimudhara ichi

Bull Ant - 13 December 2015

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