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Former Bulawayo Deputy Mayor dragged to court over child maintenance default

Former Deputy Mayor of Bulawayo, Gift Banda, appeared in a Bulawayo court on Wednesday, facing allegations of failing to fulfill his financial responsibilities towards his 13-year-old child, whom he fathered out of wedlock during a widely publicized love affair in 2009.

The court case was initiated by Banda’s former partner, Miss Kholiwe Sitshoni, who sought a court order to compel him to meet his obligations towards their child. It was revealed that Banda had not been providing financial support for the child for the past three years. Miss Sitshoni, in her sworn statement, requested an increase in the monthly maintenance fees from US$150 to US$300.

However, following negotiations between the two parties, an agreement was reached. Banda agreed to take responsibility for the child’s school expenses, while Miss Sitshoni would cover transportation and clothing costs.

The couple arrived at the Bulawayo magistrates’ court in the Tredgold Building early in the morning, and their case was heard shortly before lunchtime. Notably, Banda gained attention recently for being the first Bulawayo resident to own luxury cars like a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.

In January 2014, a consent order issued by the Maintenance Court of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo required Banda to pay US$150 per month for the child’s maintenance. He also agreed to cover the child’s educational expenses until completion, as well as transportation and medical costs when necessary. The same order acknowledged Banda’s outstanding arrears and instructed him to settle them within six months from the document’s issue date.

Since their relationship became public knowledge, the couple has been engaged in a series of court battles concerning maintenance-related matters. In 2014, Mr Banda had accumulated arrears totaling US$2,400, which he eventually paid off as directed.