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.