A Mother of a child born out of wedlock enjoyment of sole custody and guardianship rights is unconstitutional.
The High Court of Zimbabwe has delivered a landmark ruling declaring that the common law position that the mother of a child born out of wedlock enjoys sole custody and guardianship rights is unconstitutional. This ruling was delivered in the case of Frank Buyanga Sadiqi vs Chantelle Tatenda Muteswa by Justice Zhou J on the 19th of March 2020. As Justice for Children we would like to applaud this progressive development as it is a step in the right direction. This position renders all children equal and upholds the best interest of the child principle as envisaged by Section 81 (2) of the Constitution despite the circumstances of their birth. However, as Justice for Children we believe that there is still room for improvement on the best interest of the child principle through jurisprudence more so the likes of Section 5 of the Guardianship of Minors Act [Chapter 5:08] which presumes that the best custodian upon separation is automatically the mother. Such provisions contradict section 56 of the Constitution. We believe that the Courts should always be guided by the best interest of the child principle in every decision concerning a child as opposed to whether one is the mother or the father or whether a child is born out of wedlock or inside wedlock etc.