No refunds on love: Man loses lobola refund court case against in-laws

A man from Mutare has found himself at a loss after he applied to have lobola refunded after being denied access to the bride by his in-laws.

Eddington Machingauta claims that his father-in-law charged $ 11,240 and only managed to pay $ 3,690 and $550. He dragged his father-in-law, mother-in-law and estranged wife, Patricia Madenga, demanding his $4 240 back, which he claimed to have paid as bride price.

However, Godwin Madenga, his father-in-law, dismissed the claim that Machingauta had paid over $ 4,000 as the lobola. Madenga told the court that Machingauta only paid $500 as lobola as all the other payments do not constitute lobola in the customary law sense.

Judgement on the Machingauta case
Man demands lobola refund from father-in-law

Judge Priscilla Gumbo dismissed Machingauta’s application, stating that his motives for demanding his money back were unclear. The court questioned why Machingauta would request his refund after not trying other means to have his wife back. Gumbo also insisted that according to customary law, Machingauta was supposed to give his wife a divorce token (gupuro) if he no longer wanted his marriage.

According to the court, Machingauta and his wife are just on separation and not divorced.

How Machingauta’s relationship turned sour
In August, his in-laws gave Machingauta a date and bride price list, totalling $11 240. Machingauta only managed to pay part of the bride price, and the woman’s parents refused to hand over their daughter unless he topped up the money.

Madenga and Machingauta’s relationship became sour in three months as the man was frustrated. Madenga then changed her mind and chose to leave the marriage.

Machingauta tried to negotiate that he be refunded his money, but it was ignored. The Madenga family called Machingauta to come and take his wife, but he refused. Madenga’s lawyer argued that lobola is a transaction between the son-in-law and father-in-law, and suing his wife and mother-in-law is out of the question.

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