FORMER UPND Chilanga member of parliament Keith Mukata’s wife Maricho Hoare has opposed Mukata’s application to have their four children grabbed from her saying no one has lodged a complaint against her before the social welfare that she has emotionally abused the children.
She asked the Lusaka High Court to dismiss the child protection order application as the social welfare did not investigate the matter neither does it have proof to show the court that there was a complaint from any member of the public in relation to how she raises the children.
Maricho has petition Mukata for divorce.
In December last year, the court rejected Mukata’s prayer to snatch his four children from their mother.
High Court judge Dorcas Malama said Mukata was wrongly before court as the High Court does not have authority to issue a protection order under the Anti-GBV Act, which is a preserve of the Subordinate Court.
However, Mukata re-applied for a child protection order under the Marital Cause Act.
According to his affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for a protection order, the former lawmaker said Maricho was an unfit parent and had no capacity to take care of their children.
He said the youngest child was not in school despite his effort to enroll the child that she had kept out of school for a long time.
Mukata said that his wife had failed to ensure that the children were properly dressed for school, carry food and failed to provide general upkeep.
He said the academic performance of the children had drastically reduced because Maricho does not participate in their schooling and that she has not provided an interface between the children and school authorities neither does she help them do their homework.
“Maricho maintains late nights and spends most of the time partying and setting a bad example for the children. During these awkward hours, the children would remain in the house all by themselves,” Mukata stated.
He said after Maricho served him the divorce petition, she vacated her residence with all their children.
“I have reported this matter to the Victim Support Unit at Zambia police. I intend to make an application before this court to subpoena the dealing officer, Ms Nosiku Situmbeko, a juvenile inspector, as a witness to testify to the events alleged,” Mukata said.
“All efforts both by me and the officers to trace the whereabouts of these children proved futile for a number of weeks until the time the social welfare recovered the children and placed them in the custody of my sister. I am in constant fear as to the safety of the children and their welfare and the long-term emotional trauma they are likely to suffer.”
He submitted that he was desirous to secure the safety of the children which he claims was at risk.
“It is appropriate for the court to issue an interim protection order against Maricho until such a time that the custody of the children is determined by the court,” said Mukata.
But in an affidavit in opposition to affidavit in support of summons for a protection order, Maricho explained that the children of the family were at their home when Situmbeko, without producing her identity card, grabbed them from her, drove off and only the alert security guard managed to record the registration number of the vehicles they used (BAG 1627 and ABF 107, on November 14, 2021).
She said the social welfare has never received the complaint from any member of the community for them to investigate to establish that she was incapable of providing care for the children to retrieve them and put them under their custody.
“The application is not being made in good faith. Nosiku Situmbeko and others as instructed by Mukata picked up the children without a court order and took them to the residence of Mukata’s sister without the petitioner’s consent,” Maricho said.
She claimed that Mukata whilst in prison told her childhood friend, Sabea Anderson, that he would make sure she suffers when he is released.
“Mukata has been approaching my relative, friends including my biological mother Rosemary Hoare that they should testify against me and promised to buy them cars,” Marico said.
Maricho stated that her husband had caused emotional trauma in the children’s life.
“The conduct of the absolute pardoned man being exhibited is of a criminal and not of a new man,” she stated.
She said she was interviewed by the parole board and recommended the release of her husband after he promised to be of good conduct as he said he was a new man and a pastor.
She requested that Mukata undergoes a mental check at Chainama Psychiatric Hospital because his actions following his absolute pardon were questionable.
“The fourth child was conceived during sexual intercourse and several favours the applicant (Mukata) got at every prison visit,” Maricho insisted.
“The applicant negotiated with correctional facility officer-in-charge to conduct sexual acts in his office at every prison visit and I conceived. Your honour, I was placed under duress to agree to do the sexual intercourse act.”
Maricho said the children have been living with her for over four years and six months without their father and life had been normal until his release.
She said ever since Mukata was released, he never went home to see her and the children and the family was living in fear and panic due to his actions.
“Without Mukata’s harassment, the children would have continued living in one place with their mother,” Maricho said.
She asked the court to dismiss the child protection order as it is incompetent and lacking merit.