A High Court judge says all marriages must be registered to create a countrywide database to reduce bigamy.

Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba said this can be done with technology. “Every marriage officer must be mandated to search the database whether or not the person intending to marry is free from other legal impediments.

“Additionally, or alternatively, every person who intends to marry must produce a certificate of ‘present status’ obtained from the Registrar of Marriages as a form of clearance.”

The judge made the remarks while handing down judgment in the case in which a widow, Ms Susan Mobape, was suing Master of the High Court Mr Manyadzwa Kamuchira N.O. and Ms Cynthia Chaitezvi, over maintenance from the deceased estate.

Ms Mobape had approached the High Court seeking a review of the Master of High Court’s decision to dismiss her application for maintenance in the estate of her late husband Lovemore Mobape.
She was asking for a combined US$1 380 maintenance to cover herself for groceries, salaries for drivers, two security workers, church meetings, car maintenance and licensing fees.

The couple had lived together as husband and wife for 42 years under unregistered customary law union until the demise of the former in November 2017. During the subsistence of their unregistered customary law marriage the couple had founded a church, New Gospel Church of God. But at the time of his death, Mr Mobape was still married to Ms Chaitezvi under civil law (Marriage Act (Chapter 5: 11).

The Master of the High Court had ruled that Ms Mobape was not entitled to an award of maintenance from the deceased estate in question.

Justice Chirawu-Mugomba upheld the decision by the Master of High Court saying Ms Mobape was not qualified to be a dependent in the estate of the deceased.