Zimbabwe has recorded an upsurge in the number of divorces and the trend has been attributed to infidelity among the couples.
The situation may also be influence by the deteriorating economic conditions as revealed by survey recently carried out by ZimSentinel.
Statistics obtained from High Court’s Family Law Division indicate that 2 634 couples filed for divorce in 2018, compared to 1 963 during the previous year.
Liberty Chimwaradze, a lawyer, said the marriage institution was now generally regarded as risky.
“Cases of domestic violence and divorces are on the increase. Each week, we have new cases of divorce. This shows that marriages are no longer havens, but risk for men and women in Zimbabwe,” said Chimwaradze.
The increase was attributed to the harsh economic climate that has seen many failing to fend for their families. Pastor Chrispen Mazaiwana of Kingdom Life Ministries cited infidelity as the major cause for break ups.
“It is true, divorce cases are on the rise. Financial constraints in homes have led women to try and source income through unorthodox means, likewise we have men who, when they get money they engage in promiscuous activity, which are then exposed to their wives leading to the crumbling of marriages,” he said
Though statistics from the High Court indicated a sharp increase, the rates could be much higher because of unregistered customary marriages. This is where divorces are common.
The civil court is ceased with numerous cases from customary marriages where women file for maintenance from their spouses after they separate.
“We are ceased with cases of divorce from customary marriages as women file for maintenance. The numbers are huge. You can tell that break ups are as a result of the economy, where men are not supporting their families,” said Marvelous Mavhunga, an officer at Harare Civil court
In rural Zimbabwe, where early marriages are rampant, cases of divorce are also rife. Community leaders say it was as a result of pressures that are coming with the economy and lack of adequate teaching.
“These days’ children are getting into marriage at a tender age and what do you expect from such a marriage, where no proper training on handling pressures was done” said 78 year old Tavarwisa Murahwa.
Divorce cases are not synonymous with ordinary citizens as they have also been observed among prominent figures. Vice-Presidents Costantino Chiwenga, Kembo Mohadi, MDC vice-president Tendai Biti and former minister Ignatius Chombo have also been involved in nasty divorces for various reasons.
In the same vein, there are fears that the trend in divorce are likely to increase due to unemployment and continuous economic rot, as this will put more pressure on men to put food on the table.
By Erasmus Mabhebhura