By Arron Nyamayaro
The High Court has ordered a church pastor, who solemnized a wedding between a nurse and her friend’s husband, to deregister it.
Ambassadors For Christ ministries pastor only identified as Pastor Ritiya is alleged to have been misdirected by his lawyer to go ahead in solemnizing a contested wedding between Mavis Sibanda and Lesley Amos at Baxton Farm on February 3 last year.
Mavis, a nurse based at Harare Central Hospital is alleged to have dated Lesley who is her friend Dorothy Mtetwa’s husband in order to get documents to look for greener pastures in United Kingdom.
Dorothy approached the High Court of Zimbabwe where Judge Chitakunye cancelled the marriage certificate and ordered Pastor Ritiya to deregister it in his marriage book and ordered the two to pay the legal costs of the application.
In his 9-page judgment, Justice Chitakunye said legal practitioners must be alive to the need for all documents to be in the official language for court records.
“It matters not that the presiding judge maybe well versed in the language in which the documents are written, parties must adhere to the dictates of the law regarding language of official documents for use in courts.”
Dorothy had not been given a divorce token and thus her marriage to Lesley was still valid when he wedded Lesley. As such, the marriage of Lesley and Mavis is not valid as it was solemnized when he was still married to Dorothy in terms of customary law.
Dorothy objected to the marriage through her relatives as she was in UK but somehow Amos and Mavis proceeded to have the marriage solemnized.
“I am of the view that the institution of marriage must be taken seriously and when there are impediments or potential impediments it is astute to firstly attend to the impediments.
“As this involves a change of status it is imperative that marriage officers take objections seriously and obtain proper legal guidance before proceeding with the solemnization of the marriage.
“As respondents’ marriage was to be a monogamous one, there are attendant issues such as proprietary rights of the parties and issues of children’s rights and interests that were going to adversely affect applicant and her children.
“Preferably, these should be dealt with at the termination of matrimonial union and this should have guided the marriage officer not to ignore protestations from applicant,” read part of the judgment. H Metro