THE late national hero Oliver Chidawu’s widow Spiwe has taken family executor Clever Mandizvidza to court, challenging a will left by her husband on the basis that it violated sections of the Wills Act on sharing of property.
Spiwe cited as respondents Mandizvidza, the Master of the High Court, Ropafadzo Sibusiso Chidawu, Dadirai Martha Chidawu and Mindy Marie Chidawu in her capacity as legal guardian of Isabelle Marie Chidawu and Selah Olivia Chidawu, who are both minors.
The applicant seeks the court to declare her as the beneficial owner of an undivided half share of a property in Glen Lorne in Harare.
She also seeks the court to declare the late Chidawu as the beneficial owner of an undivided half share of immovable property in Umwinsidale, Harare and also that clauses 3.1 to 3.5 of the will settled by Chidawu on July 23, 2021 be set aside.
Spiwe wants all entries and endorsements made by first and second respondents in inventories, registers or accounts recording more than half undivided share interest in the above property, in favour of the Estate of the Late Chidawu to be set aside.
She prayed that Mandizvidza be ordered to pay the costs of the lawsuit.
Chidawu, who at the time of death was Harare Metropolitan Affairs minister, was married out of community of property. He died on July 19, 2022.
According to court papers, during the subsistence of their marriage, the parties entered into a tacit universal partnership agreement for the purpose of acquiring movable and immovable properties for their equal and undivided joint benefit.
As part of the agreement, Spiwe claims that she made financial, proprietary and other useful contributions to the partnership which were used to acquire and develop the Glen Lorne property as an asset of the partnership.It is alleged that it was agreed between the parties that they beneficially held equal undivided half shares in the property, and that the property would be registered in the name of the deceased; but only as a nominal holder on behalf of the partnership.
The court heard that contrary to, and in breach of this agreement, the deceased treated the property as exclusively his, and purported to bequeath it to third, fourth and fifth respondents in a manner which exceeds his undivided share in the property through clauses 3.1 to 3.5 of the will.
It is alleged the clauses purport to bequeath to third, fourth and fifth respondents a total of 80% undivided share in the property and 20% to plaintiff, effectively divesting her of 30% undivided shares in the property.
She submitted that clauses 3.1 to 3.5 of the will are in contravention of section 5(3)(a) of the Wills Act (Chapter 6:06) and invalid in that they vary or prejudice the rights of plaintiff in the property as existed in terms of the law, which governed the proprietary rights of her marriage to the deceased at the time the deceased settled the will.
The matter is still pending.