THE Legal and Justice Sector Reforms Commission yesterday heard that wives who commence divorce proceedings must also be compelled to compensate their husbands in cases of marriage dissolution.

Making submissions before the commission chaired by Justice Frederick Chomba on Wednesday, Obed Munsanje said existing laws disadvantage men when it comes to marriage dissolution.

“Sometimes men are victims of circumstances, there are instances where a wife insists on divorce for the sake of getting part of the husband’s investment, so why should we have a situation where someone wants to end something and be compensated for her actions?

“I want to see equality where a similar punishment is meted out on women,” Mr Munsanje said.
But Mr Justice Chomba explained to Mr Munsanje that in most marriages in Zambia, men are considered to be breadwinners.

“How do you expect women to pay?” Mr Justice Chomba said.

In response, Mr Munsanje said it is not fair to compensate women even when they are the ones in the wrong.

“Your honour, whoever is found wanting should be given similar punishment given to me,” he said.

Another petitioner, Francis Siachongwe, narrated that his wife took him to court and applied for divorce and it was granted.

“Despite not causing the divorce, the court fined me K3,000 and K200 each as monthly support for children but the children are in my custody besides I paid dowry,” he said.

Earlier, Southern Province assistant secretary Kapumo Mulyanda said most Government institutions require urgent reforms for them to operate efficiently.

“We commend the late President Sata for embarking on massive infrastructure development and governance reforms, we hope these reforms will result in having additional courts and opening up of Legal Aid Board offices to help poor people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Legal and Justice Sector Reforms commissioner Patrick Chisanga says Choma Municipal Council has lost control of enforcing its by-laws resulting in some residents encroaching on a graveyard and building houses and other structures.

Speaking after a fact-finding mission following submissions by Frank Mudenda that some people had encroached on Boni Cemetery near Overspill township in Choma, Mr Chisanga said there is a breakdown in law and order in regulating by-laws by the local authority

“It is very sad to see disregard for the departed ones, honestly why should people build in a cemetery which is very active and when you look around, you even see fresh flowers on some graves,” he said.

Another commissioner, Annette Nhekairo, said tombstones are being razed in readiness for construction of buildings.

“It is sad indeed to see grave plates with names written on them being ripped apart with impunity,” she said.

But Choma Municipal Council director of planning Betty Liswaniso said she had no idea about the matter since she is new in the district.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Munsanje, I support you on this. Women have learned to abuse these laws that were initially designed to protect them. Most men under rate this problem but only come realise how serious it is when they fall victim. some deliberately start extra marital affairs so that the husband files for divorce and she walks away with compensation.

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    • Most women file for divorce as a last resort because most of you Zambian men cheat on them with the bottle and women. Some of you disappear on Friday and show up on Monday for change of clothes and expect the woman to be loyal. Women cheat because they are lacking in love, respect and emotional support (If a woman is a serial cheater, then you married a whor.e to start with and thought you could turn it into a house wife!)Men cheat because they can.
      In most cases of divorce the women end up with the children. So while you as a man are busy getting drunk and womanizing you also want your mother of your kids to be supporting you? Get a job and take care of yourself!

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  2. This might be off topic but please can any legal brains assist. I have a cousin who was divorced by his wife but the local court ruled that he must be paying her ‘spouse maintenance’ every month until she marries another man. Is this proper?

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    • that is not proper my friend. maintenance is usually for 1-2 years just to enable her settle after that change of life. If she does not get married then it means your cousin will pay for the rest of his life; that is unacceptable. Advise him to appeal to the magistrates court.

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  3. I find thîs law to be outdated,let women also be punished because they have taken advantage of this crued law.Most women work and are not vunerable as compared to the old days.equality is better and good in the eyes of God.

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  4. yes u are right wamnsanje then NEXT men should ALSO BE preganant and carry the same for 9 months,people like GBM kambwili would expect twins everytime they are done

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  5. Family law has really disadvantaged men especially in civil law marriages.
    Suppose I (a mere teacher) happen to marry Dora Siliya or Silvia Masebo and then she divorces me, will it be fair for me to be ordered to compensate her even when i didn’t cause the marriage break up? I think the one causes the divorce should be the one to pay compensation.
    The law should be punishing the guilty party and not the wealthy party.

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    • Cause of divorce is not the deciding factor. If Dora or Sylvia were married to you, you would be living a life in keeping with the financial and social status that the marriage affords you. You would be used to a high (I’m guessing) standard of living and would even have debts (expensive cars, private schools etc) acquired as a result of the union.

      You should have both contributed to acquiring this combined wealth, and it’s fair to try and maintain the life that each partner has become accustomed to.

      I think this may work well to make people realize how serious marriage is, and to choose a life partner carefully.

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  6. seems the world is been taken over by women. Everything its women,women,women,women. whoever does not shout women ll never get into politics,ll never get the tweno. In zambia today there is this fear of the unknown about women.

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  7. THE LAW IS ARCHAIC, JUSTICES SHOULD NOT DEFEND THE INJUSTICES. INDEED LET THE LAW PUNISH THE WRONG AND NOT THE INNOCENT.

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  8. THIS LAW IS BAD,AND IT IS PARTLY THE CAUSE OF DIVORCES IN SOCIETY. ONCE A WOMAN KNOWS THAT SHE CAN BE COMPENSATED FROM A RICH HUSBAND SHE BECOMES UN GOVERNABLE ESP IF SHE MARRIED FOR RICHES.

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    • Therefore men should choose and choose well. Be aware that if you’re rich, you will be a target for gold diggers who care more for your money than you.

      By the way, men also do target rich women, with an eye on their assets. It happens everyday, all over this good universe.

      Most women in Zambia are of good-will in their marriages and want to stay married since being unmarried is culturally frowned upon.

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  9. The law on compensation after divorce must be revisited. It has contributed to divorces. A person planning for divorce should be the one to compansate the other. Now courts are doing the opposite. Most women who seek divorce have some secrete caretakers behind them. A woman can not just plan divorce without a man behind her. Some women nowadays have wealth( money and property) which should be shared at divorce. Courts should consider factors at play and what each spouse owns.
    Fellow men it is time we woke up from slumber. We are finnished. Let us ensure the divorce laws are reformed to ensure fareness of our justice system not the discriminatory laws we are subjected to. Women have become sophisticated nowadays. The judge above must go to hell for not accepting fair play demanded by men.

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  10. “spouse maintenance” for real? this is so absurd, men are so disadvantaged in this regard and drastic measures must be taken to revise this! we live in a world of gender equality but the scale seems to favor women even when they are in the wrong. thank you MWIZYO for bringing this up and thank you all for your comments.

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  11. Majority of Zambian men are liabilities. You should be grateful that even one of these poor women agreed to marry you. Vima defilers.

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  12. These gender laws must be looked at critically.They are destroying the institution of marriage as we have known it.Nowadays women especially those who are working still take their income to support their relatives and expect the husband to do everything in that home including not to forsake his own siblings/parents. when they divorce again women still want to play the victim and grab all properties. its really becoming painful to marry this time. maybe they should just legalize prostitution and/or cohabitation as a stopgap measure so that those who find marriage contracts, as they are being interpreted by the courts nowadays unreasonable can have an option. so that marriage remains only for those that are prepared to undergo the stress.

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  13. Good observation, women in towns are educated, working, own assets and are unamanageable to say the least. They want and are ruling homes, have no respect for husbands and want to make own independent decision with no consultation of the man.

    I am sure this is very familiar to most readers. Let the law be fair to all men and women depending on the situation.

    REFORM THE LAW ON Inheritance and support after divorce.Please

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    • Why do I, as a woman need to be ‘managed’? I take exception to that.

      However, I do agree with you that in reality, there really isn’t a need to marry anyone in the traditional sense of the word. A contractual agreement should be made between 2 people with regard to finances, child rearing and also on what terms the union would be dissolved.

      None of this ‘you are responsible for my relatives because you married me’

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  14. ..my comment is in reference to Justice Chomba’s insinuation that..’in Zed men are considered as bread winners..’..in legal circles there is no room for assumptions…what most bloggers are suggesting is to remove that ‘blanket verdict’ of husbands compensating ex-wives regardless of the circumstance..let each divorce case be looked at with its own merits…8 out of 10 divorce vedicts are unfair to husbands…however, there are cases were a husband toils with a wife from rags to riches…and then the man gets entangled with a young lady and divorces the wife..in that circumstance whether it is the wife who initiated the divorce because of the husband’s infidelity, she deserves to be compensated…and when the young lady divorce him later she goes with nothing….

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    • yes the opposite is also true where the family’s finantional situation changes from ‘riches to rags’ and the wife decides to sue for divorce insinuating that she is now suffering usually when she is making her own money or is seeing another man. So each case must be looked at its own merit. women are no longer that vulnerable.

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    • Very good observation Scrutinizerer. Otherwise as a man I would give all the courts ask me to give to the woman and later commit crime after crime against that woman by terrorizing her and burning her property muchifukushi. Boy, I could even kidnap her!!

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  15. What exactly is the purpose of dowry in modern times? I hear in India it’s us abakucanakashi who pay.

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    • Dowry (in Bemba at least) was meant to be a small token, the exchange of which signified the acceptance, agreement and blessing of the forthcoming nuptials by both families.

      It was not a money- making venture for the bride’s family. A beautiful tradition has been usurped by the greed and stresses of modern living.

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    • Dear bwana Abacikashana,
      In my humble opinion both dowry and bride price are antiquated practices that have no use in modern times. In fact I think they are both counter-productive to the marriage.

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  16. The Law does not say “men” should pay their wives. It works equally the other way, meaning a man CAN be granted alimony. It’s just that more often than not, the male has a greater earning capacity while the female contributes more to the running of the household, child rearing etc..

    Neither of these roles is less than the other. It’s archaic to disregard the contribution of the partner with the lesser monetary contribution to the union. In some states in the US, it’s half and half, with financial consideration given to the needs of the children (and the spouse that has custody).

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  17. @LAdy I LIKE YOUR ANGER “FIMA defilers”. You forget one thing and that is defiling has been going on from time inmemorial, only that now news coverage is more broad. One other contributing factor is the advancement in technologies and equally social customs and culture need to be understood from the dynamic paradymes. If not you will all remain wondering what is happening. DID YOU KNOW THAT SUCH THINGS HAPPEN IN THE SO CALLED DEVELOPED WORLDS, if not KNOW NOW. For them these have been domesticated as NORMS.

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  18. wow this is odd. Considering that women’s rights in Zambia are still in the toilet.

    In any case, I can see many a lazy man across Zambia jumping for joy when they read this.

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