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      Man must pay son-in-law six cows for convincing daughter to divorce

      by Eliaser Ndeyanale

      SIX cows and N$32 000.

      This is how much one man was ordered to pay his son-in-law by a traditional court for convincing his daughter to divorce him after 10 years.

      Manasse Mutivali, who lives in Ondangwa, says he suffered emotional damage due to this and approached the Zeraeua Community Court at Omaruru for “justice”.

      The court ruled in favour of Mutivali and ordered Alfeus Kamara to pay his son-in-law before 7 July 2021.

      Kamara has, however, appealed. The price was allegedly calculated based on the market price of cattle as of 4 March 2020.

      According to court documents, a ruling was made in accordance with the Traditional Court Act 16, 4 (2). Mutivali (57) married Martha Mutivali (32) in 2013 in a traditional court at Omaruru. He had paid N$10 000 and an ox for her bride price.

      Mutivali said Kamara told a community court in March last year that he was going to end their marriage.

      Mutivali said because Kamara and his daughter have not made the payment, the clerk of the Zeraeua Community Court should have issued a warrant of arrest against them. Contacted for comment, Kamara said he did not want to comment, only confirming that he appealed.

      ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE

      Kamara's daughter, Martha, told The Namibian that her father ended their marriage because Mutivali was abusive.

      She also said they could not pay the money because they appealed.

      “When I stayed with him at Ondangwa, he [Mutivali] would throw me out of the house at night. He also used to make death threats against me,” she said.

      The woman said there was a time Mutivali scalded her with hot water and raped her while she was sleeping.

      “I did not report this to the police because I felt pity for him,” she said.

      She said when the court fined her and her father, it did not consider the abuse she was subjected to.

      “Before the divorce, we already had a lot of problems in the marriage – we went to the police and physiologists. It's not about my father; he [Mutivali] just wants to drag my parents into everything. When he chased me out of the house, where was I supposed to go if not to my parents' house?” she asked.

      She said there was a time Kamara drove from Erongo to Ondangwa to talk to Mutivali, but he allegedly refused to talk to his father-in-law.

      “After what my father saw and everything happening in the marriage, he [my father] decided to end the marriage because he was afraid Manasse might kill me.

      “I have statements to the police that he was chasing me out in the night,” she said.

      She said following their divorce, Mutivali said he would not support their two children because they were not his.

      Mutivali, however, denied that he abused her.

      Zeraeua Community Court clerk Rukee Haakuria said the appeal brought by Kamara and his daughter is being processed and would be sent to the Omaruru Magistrate's Court for a decision.

      He added that if the magistrate court refuses to hear the appeal, a writ of execution will be granted and the family's property would be auctioned to generate money to pay Mutivali.

      He added that if the family does not have any valuable property, the case would be closed.

      EDUCATION NEEDED ON TRADITIONAL COURTS

      Former ombudsman John Walters said if the messenger of the court issues a writ of execution against the respondent's movable property, that property would be auctioned. However, if the respondent does not have any property, then the person who drags them to court will get nothing.

      He said people should be educated about the proceedings of the traditional, community and magistrate's courts because if they sue and the respondent has no valuable property, the applicant will not get anything to recover their loss.

      Language and culture lecturer at the University of Namibia, associate professor Jekura Kavari, said parents should not break up their children's marriages.

      “That is against culture. Culturally, it is the couple that was supposed to take that decision. If the husband decides that he does not want his wife anymore, he pays six herd of cattle to the wife's family,” he said.


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