‘You are merely cohabiting – court

Magistrates Court

A 25-year-old woman of Lusaka’s Garden Township was left in tears during the week after the Lusaka local court dismissed her marriage of 11 years with a 30-year-old man as mere cohabiting.
The court said though the couple had stayed together for 11 years and had three children, the union could not be classified as marriage because the man did not pay lobola.
The court described union between the couple as mere as mere cohabiting.
Jessy Munthali had asked the court to grant her divorce from Gary Mumba after accusing him of trying to kill her on several occasions together with the children.
Apparently Mumba had allegedly set ablaze the family house in an attempt to burn Munthali and the three children.
Munthali told the court that her husband used to beat her as well as undress her in public whenever he was drunk.
“My husband has got no job and I am the one who is supporting the family through the sale of vegetables at the market,” she said.
“But as if that is not bad enough, my husband gets any amount of money he finds in the house and uses it to buy beer.” Munthali told the court that she latter resorted to be keeping the money in the bank but that only resulted in more beatings from Mumba the moment he discovered that she was banking her money.
In defence, Mumba told the court that he did not want the court to grant them divorce because she still loved Munthali and the three children.
Mumba claimed that the source of arguments in their marriage was his wife’s failure to consult him on many decisions even when she knew that he was the head of the house.
He also accused his wife of having an affair with another man who was buying her beer and other things.
“My wife used to take the money to the bank behind my back yet I am the head of the house,” he said.
But in what was seemed as unprecedented decision, magistrate Mumba and his counterpart Petronella Kalyelye said the couple was not married because no payment was made by Mumba to marry Munthali.
The court noted that the two were not bound to each other and advised Munthali to sue Mumba for child maintenance instead.


  1. The Man should be sued for defilement also….that woman is 25 now meaning 11years ago she was only 14 years while the man was 19yrs…Who gets married at 14???I think they are not being truthfull..

  2. How I hate local court rulings very pathetic, 11 years and you call it cohabiting, my foot!!!!!