In a notable legal case, Maxmillan Tapiwa Kondowe is suing his father-in-law, Charles Bandera, to recover a US$2,700 bride price (lobola) he paid, following allegations of his wife’s infidelity before their wedding.
The saga began when Kondowe paid lobola for Shumirai Bandera from Karoi in March 2021. Despite this, he was not allowed to live with his wife until after their wedding, a decision enforced by her father. However, just two months later, Kondowe discovered WhatsApp messages on his wife’s phone, indicating she was involved with another man. When confronted, Shumirai allegedly admitted to the affair.
This revelation led Kondowe to end the marriage and pursue legal action against his father-in-law in the small claims court for the return of the lobola. He initially won a default judgment against Bandera, who had failed to respond to the summons. However, the case took a turn when High Court Justices Benjamin Chikowero and Samuel Deme granted Bandera a temporary reprieve, allowing him to appeal and halting the execution of the judgment.
Bandera’s defense hinges on challenging the magistrate’s jurisdiction over Kondowe’s claim and arguing that his failure to enter an appearance to defend the case was reasonable. His lawyers maintain that his explanation and the merits of his defense are substantial enough to warrant a rescission of the judgment.
The High Court’s intervention has paused the execution of the judgment, pending the outcome of Bandera’s appeal. This case has drawn attention due to its interplay between traditional marriage customs and modern legal proceedings.