The widow of former Herald editor Charles Chikerema is battling to recover 469 head of cattle and other livestock grabbed from her husband’s estate by her now deceased brother-in-law some 18 years ago.
After the death of the veteran journalist in 1998, his brother James Chikerema expropriated 469 cattle, 815 goats, 682 ostriches, 796 turkeys and 52 sheep belonging to the scribe’s estate.
The journalist’s widow Plaxedes Chikerema could not stop the grabbing of the property at the time.
The then executor to the estate Mr Cecil Madondo successfully filed a court application for the return of the livestock at the High Court against James. James did not comply with the order up to the time of his death in 2006. James left behind his widow, Phildah Molly Chikerema.
Mr Madondo renounced himself from handling the veteran journalist’s estate in 2015 and Plaxedes Chikerema took over as executor.
Plaxedes, in her capacity as the executor of the late scribe’s estate, issued summons at the High Court seeking the release of the expropriated livestock from James’ estate, which is now being represented by Phildah.
It is now gloves off between the two widows as Plaxedes now wants the livestock back from Phildah. Alternatively, Plaxedes through her lawyer Mr Caleb Mucheche of Matsikidze and Mucheche law firm, is claiming $253 790 from the estate of James Chikerema.
Phildah was seeking an order for the finalisation of her late husband’s estate, a development that was likely to destroy the livestock claim by Plaxedes.
The court dismissed the application and the parties will now have to file all the relevant papers in preparation of the livestock claim. The Master of High Court had filed his report opposing Phildah’s application.
He stated as a fact that the estate was still pending and that it could not be closed before the livestock claim was finalised. The Master described Phildah as an applicant who was misguided or ignorant of the estate administration procedures.
Since 2001 when a court order for the return of the livestock was issued, several reminders were made to James and later to the executor of his estate after his death, but there was no compliance.
Phildah, in her special plea file at the High Court, argued that the claim was filed outside the permissible three-year period in which civil suits can be filed.
To that end, Phildah argued that the livestock claim was now a prescribed matter and it ought to be dismissed.
She also argued that Plaxedes cannot be awarded the United States dollars because the expropriation complained of was done during the Zimbabwe dollar era.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing at the High Court. herald