Landmark Ruling: Blow for ‘Small Houses and Blessees’

Harare – Small houses alternatively referred to as blessees have been dealt a major inheritance blow, after a Harare Court ruled that cohabiting without lobola does not legitimatise the union for inheritance.

Some lower courts erred into elevating girlfriends to a surviving spouse status, earning custody of an estate after the death of a spouse, however Justice Happias Zhou has reserved this commonly believed trend.

Derick Matsengarwodzi
Easter Dzwowa was stripped of her spouse status in the estate of late Lovemore Sekeramayi, after failing provide marriage evidence to the courts.
Known Blesser Kenny 

Dzwowa was staying with Sekeramayi at the time of his death, but no prove of lobola was availed.

The deceased’s legitimate wife Faith and her children contested the matter, which spilled to the High Court.

“It is ordered that the decision of first respondent (Master) declaring that the third respondent (Ms Dzwowa) was a surviving spouse of the deceased Lovemore Chipunza Sekeramayi be and is hereby set aside.

Dzwowa lost a house she was awarded earlier.

“The allocation of the immovable property located at Number 31 Hindhead Avenue, Chisipite, Harare to the third respondent be and is hereby set aside,” noted the judgment.

Living together was not proof of a legitimate marriage, said the judge.

“Living together is not the same as being married. The conclusion by the first respondent that the deceased had two wives is therefore not based on any evidence which was placed before him,” Justice Zhou ruled.

Justice Zhou added: “To disinherit a woman who is legally married to the deceased on the basis that she did not live in the house without considering where she would live, is in my view, grossly irregular,” ruled Justice Zhou.

Sekeramayi died in 2014 of a suspected heart failure in his hotel room in Lesotho, while attending a SADC elections meeting. – The Herald/www.tinzwei.com

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