A FIGHT for custody between a son-in-law and his mother-in-law has spilled into the courts, with the former accusing the latter of child labour and negligence.
Through his lawyer, the son-in-law, Gregory Musekiwa, told the Harare Civil Court that Martha Mudzengerere (his mother-in-law) assigns his son chores that are beyond his ability and age.
“She does not take proper care of my son and makes him do tasks that are too big for his age to the extent that sometimes he misses school,” Musekiwa said.
Musekiwa told the court that in one incident, his son was bitten by a dog, which later died of an unknown cause, and Mudzengerere did not bother taking the child to the clinic.
“I suspect the dog had rabies and so it was necessary for my son to have been taken for a medical examination,” Musekiwa said.
He also argued that Mudzengerere had no legal right to have custody of the child as both of the minor’s parents were still alive.
In her response, Mudzengerere vowed not to surrender custody of the boy to Musekiwa, arguing he had never contributed anything to the child’s welfare since he divorced her daughter.
“I am not willing to give him the child because he has never done anything for him since he divorced my daughter,” she said.
Mudzengerere told the court that the alleged dog bite was just a small scratch from a puppy.
“I am aware of rabies, but there was no chance of it in this case because the boy was just nibbled by the puppy and not bitten,” she said.
The mother-in-law went on to claim that Musekiwa had no respect for her as he was in the habit of insulting her and threatening to behead her.
“At one time, he broke into my house and stole his son’s clothes before running away with the child,” she said.
Mudzengerere further told the court that the son’s mother was in South Africa, where she relocated for a job so that she is able to provide for the child.
“After Musekiwa failed to maintain his son, my daughter then went to look for employment in South Africa, leaving me to take custody of the minor,” Mudzengerere said.
“I suggest he negotiates for custody from my daughter.”
Magistrate Gamuchirai Siwardi will pass her ruling tomorrow. chronicle