By Fungai Lupande
Former Clerk of Parliament Mr Austin Zvoma was held in contempt of court for failing to attend a pre-trial conference in his divorce case with estranged wife Maria (nee Jeche) and, as a consequence, the matter will now be treated as an unopposed case with only his wife’s side of the story considered.
Last Friday, Mr Zvoma filed for rescission of the judgment by Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba, who struck out his appearance to defence and plea after she found Zvoma in disdain of the rules of the court by failing to return from Malawi to attend the hearing after making a series of postponements.
Mr Zvoma failed to attended another pre-trial conference on September 27, 2019 because he was attending the ISO 9001: 2015 quality management system certification of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, a few streets away.
He said the conference was important because it was work that he pioneered during his tenure as Clerk of Parliament.
Mr Zvoma wants the judge’s decision rescinded and his appearance to defend and plead to be reinstated. “Barring settlement of issues in case number HC 4114/19 by the parties, the registrar be and is hereby directed to allocate this matter for hearing at pre-trial conference before a different judge,” reads the draft order. “On May 17, 2019, summons was issued against me seeking an order of divorce and ancillary relief. A pre-trial conference date was September 27, 2019.
“Coincidentally on that day, I was invited in my capacity as a former Clerk of Parliament to the ceremony at Parliament House.” Mr Zvoma said he instructed his lawyer to seek a postponement, but the judge demanded that he appeared in person.
“Fortunately, the ceremony was being held nearby at Parliament buildings in the morning, making it possible for me to avail myself in the afternoon,” read the application.
After the judge directed parties to sit and settle the matter, they agreed to a proposal that stand number 619 Glen Lorne Township 17 of Lot 41 of Glen Lorne be transferred into a trust.
The children were beneficiaries, with Maria retaining a right to live at the property until her death or if she remarries.
Mr Zvoma said they also agreed that the other two properties would be awarded to him.
The pre-trial conference was postponed to October 21, 2019.
Then the matter was postponed to November 1, 2019 and Mr Zvoma asked his lawyer to apply for another postponement. The Herald