Mixed Feelings Over Inheritance Ruling

A High Court ruling allowing spouses to disinherit each other has been met with mixed feelings.

Some are celebrating the move as a great step in the fight for equality and justice while others have condemned the decision outright as judicial activism.

The Supreme Court ruled that parties to a marriage are free to disinherit each other.

A Tafara resident, Mrs Definite Gondora said the property should be shared equally.

“We should inherit the property since we would have worked together as a family in acquiring the wealth,” she said.

Mr Robert Nhekede from Chitungwiza, said the ruling is reasonable.

“Let us work hard together so that in the event of divorce it will be shared equally, not for people to demand what they would have not contributed for,” he said.

Mrs Mildred Mutsande from Whitecliff said the law is fair.

“If you don’t have a child there is no need to inherit property from your spouse in the event of divorce or death,” she said.

A Waterfalls resident, Mr Alexander Mabika said the law is not fair.

“My wife has the right to inherit my properties as she is the one who does all the household duties including washing my clothes, cooking and doing all other duties,” he said.

Mr Shake Dunguze from Eastview said the wife should not inherit my property.

“In the event that she decides to get married again it means another man will enjoy the fruits of my hard labour,” he said.

A five-judge panel of the Appeals Court unanimously concurred that the law governing the property rights of married persons in Zimbabwe is the Married Persons Property Act [Chapter 5:12], which provides that since 1929, marriages in Zimbabwe are out of community of property.

The ruling follows an appeal by Mr Gerald Chigwada, challenging the decision of the High Court which nullified a will by his late father bequeathing him his share of property in favour of the surviving spouse.

The question for determination before the judges was whether the law governing the property rights of married persons, or the law of testamentary disposition of estates, binds a testator to bequeath his or her right in an estate to the husband or wife.

Writing the ground-breaking judgment for the court, Chief Justice Luke Malaba said parties to a marriage out of community of property are legally entitled to own and dispose of property in their individual capacities.

Check Also

Mwonzora Hits Ground Running

Newly elected MDC-T President Douglas Mwonzora has taken control of the party and immediately hit …

This function has been disabled for Zimbabwe Today.