First Lady concerned about widows losing out in inheritance disputes

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First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa yesterday expressed concern about widows who are losing their properties in inheritance disputes due to lack of knowledge of the law.

She said she has been receiving calls and visits from the widows who lost their properties and had been evicted from their homes following the death of their spouses.

The First Lady yesterday visited the Midlands province where she met widows at Mkoba Teacher’s College in Gweru.

She said there was need to educate the widows and orphans on how the law worked when it came to inheritance issues.

She brought representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Master of the High Court, Law Society of Zimbabwe and Office of the President and Cabinet.

“We are gathered here ladies, to discuss family inheritance issues, deceased estates administration in the event of death of a spouse,” she said.

“This issue has caused untold pain and sorrow to a lot of women. Some have called my office, others have written to me, while some come to my office complaining of losing their properties and expecting help from me. Seeing these widows crying in my office pains me because in some instances, I fail to assist them because I am also not knowledgeable about deceased estates administration. I feel hurt when they cry for assistance from me because I can’t help.

“I realised that I should invite all the departments that deal with family inheritance matters so that you can ask your questions and get assistance on how to handle the issues. Most women are not conversant with the laws of inheritance, therefore, I have brought these experts.”

The First Lady said together with her team, they were going to visit all the country’s 10 provinces educating the widows.

“Most women have lost their properties following the death of their husbands because of lack of knowledge,” she said.

“That is why I came up with this programme which I launched in Harare.

“I will go to all the 10 provinces with this programme. My wish is to get all the women to get information on how inheritance matters are dealt with.”

The First Lady, who is also the Ambassador of Women and Children’s Health, and has been visiting communities across Zimbabwe promoting healthy living among citizens, also took time to educate the women on health issues.

She urged them to get checked for cervical and breast cancer.

The First Lady called for coordination among stakeholders dealing with child marriages to come up with practical and lasting solutions.

She is on record saying her programmes and visits are non-partisan.

The First Lady also spoke of her clean-homes-campaign which is part of her drive to promote cleanliness and hygienic practices to curtail the spread of water-borne diseases.

Speaking at the same occasion, Master of the High Court, Mr Eldard Mutasa, said it was important for people to be conversant with deceased estate laws, adding that knowledge was power.

He said it was a criminal offence for family members to distribute property of the deceased other than clothes, without the approval of the Master of the High Court.

Mr Charles Manhiri from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs took the gathering through inheritance and law.

Meanwhile, the First Lady through her Angel of Hope Foundation yesterday donated mattresses and an assortment of groceries to Blue Hills Probation and Remand Home in Gweru.

The remand home which is under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, is run by the Social Welfare Department and houses 25 boys.

Some of the inmates are on probation after being caught on the wrong side of the law while some are orphans being taken care of.

“I am humbled by the care and work I have seen being done here. I want to thank caregivers here because they always make sure that the boys are well fed and clothed.

“Institutions like these are critical to have in our country since the social fabric of our families is in some instances disintegrating leaving the children vulnerable.

“Children are the future of our great country and it is important that we raise responsible children who will become the future leaders,” she said.

The First Lady said she ran around and sourced the donated goods after hearing the plight of the home.

“I have come with these mattresses. I hope they will go a long way in alleviating the challenges you were facing,” she said.

Midlands provincial welfare officer Mr George Madzima thanked the First Lady for the kind gesture describing her as a true mother who is soft spoken and humble.

Source: The Chronicle

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