By Michelle Gwizi
Chicken Inn FC striker Obidiah Tarumbwa has been sentenced to eight months in prison for failing to pay maintenance arrears of about $6 000 for the upkeep of his two minor children. He started serving his sentence on Monday at Bulawayo Prison.
Bulawayo magistrate Ms Rachel Mukanga slapped Tarumbwa with a custodial sentence after the striker persistently defaulted on paying maintenance for the children he had with ex-wife Patience Tarumbwa.
He has, however, applied to the High Court for the sentence to be set aside and is begging the court for an extension to pay his arrears.
The matter has been set for ruling on Friday.
The court heard Tarumbwa once applied for a downward variation, saying he was maintaining a child he had with another woman, but it was not granted.
Prosecuting, Mr Mehluli Ndlovu said last month, Tarumbwa was due in court for a hearing on his long running case but instead he appeared as an 81st minute substitute in Chicken Inn’s 3-2 win over Highlanders in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields Stadium.
The veteran striker has been in and out of court for failure to pay maintenance. In 2016, he was sentenced to five months imprisonment, which was wholly suspended on condition that he cleared his arrears. In February this year, Tarumbwa only contributed $200 towards his arrears.
Tarumbwa was sentenced to 12 months in prison for defaulting on more than $6 000 towards his children in June this year.
The magistrate told Tarumbwa that the court had seen that he had the means to pay maintenance, so he had to comply.
He had pleaded guilty to failure to pay maintenance when he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
Tarumbwa once told the court that he could not afford to pay $316 monthly maintenance as he has another child with another woman whom he was taking care of.
“Your Worship, $316 is too much for me to pay. I know they are my children and I have to look after them but it’s hard for me to raise the money especially now that I only get paid after playing a game and we win,” he said.
“I tried negotiating at the maintenance court but they didn’t understand because people think soccer players have money yet we don’t”.
In April 2016 B-Metro paper exposed the Chicken Inn striker for failing to take care of his child with a Kenyan woman who revealed that she was giving up the their child to an orphanage due his failure to take care of his offspring. The Chronicle