Co-habiting not marriage, court tells woman

Divorce Court
Divorce Court

THE Chawama Local Court has told a 22-year-old woman of Ndola that cohabiting and having children does not constitute a marriage under the legal system in Zambia.

Senior Court Magistrates Gaston Kalala and Sarah Nyendwa told Lydia Sakala that no matter how long she cohabitated but as long as the man did not pay brideprice, theirs was not marriage.
This was in a case in which Lydia sued her boyfriend Francis Tembo, 26, of Chawama for child maintenance. The two, who have been cohabiting for four years have one child together.
Sakala who insisted that they were married despite her boyfriend not paying dowry, told the court that the two started cohabiting in 2009. She said she had a child in 2010 but in January this year, they broke off their relationship.
“Since we separated, he stopped supporting our child and that is the reason I had to relocate to Ndola. The problem now is that my relatives who were assisting me have also become fed-up. I need him to be a responsible father to our child,” she said.
But in his statement, Tembo admitted to not supporting his child blaming it on his lack of having a stable job.
He said things were not working out for him and that was the reason Sakala moved out with his child to live with her parents in Ndola.
“It is not like I have abandoned her. I do not have a job and life is hard. That is the reason I asked her parents to accommodate them while I remained in Lusaka trying to make ends meet so that I can bring them back and to marry Sakala,” Tembo said.
Passing judgment, the court upheld the claim and advised Tembo to formalise their union by paying brideprice and put his life in order.
Tembo was also ordered to pay K300 monthly as child maintenance starting this monthend.

Zambia Daily Mail