MDC Alliance activist Tungamirai Madzokere, who was recently freed after 10 years of wrongful incarceration, has been clashing with his ex-wife’s family over access to his children, who are in the care of their aunt.
Madzokere was released from prison in early June only to find that his wife had left their home in November 2020 and had awarded her young sister custody of the two children, after moving in with another man.
According to Madzokere, his former wife’s younger sister, Precious Silizani, is now giving him a hard time when he wants to see the children.
“I am only allowed to see my children on Saturdays, but even on those Saturdays, my ex’s sister can just say it is no longer possible because the mother has plans with them, or they just give me a hard time telling me not to bother them when I try and make plans to visit my children,” Madzokere told The NewsHawks.
He showed The NewsHawks unpleasant exchanges between the two, where Silizani would threaten to block him and occasions where she would stop him from seeing the children.
The former councillor said he had not taken any legal route as he first wants to find an amicable solution in dealing with the matter, for the sake of the children.
“I do not talk to my ex, I talk to her young sister and she acts as a go-between, and she is the one who deals with anything to do with the children,” he said.
Silizani told The NewsHawks that she only does what she would have been told by the mother of the children. She said in view of Madzokere’s actions, they will deal with him decisively.
“I cannot talk to you about this because I am only a go-between. But if this is the route that he (Madzokere) has decided to take, we are going to show him. Call me tomorrow topedza masports acho (we will deal with him).”
Follow-up calls to Silizani were however not answered.
Madzokere and his colleague Last Maengahama were freed early June after spending 10 years in both remand prison and serving their sentence at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
The two were part of a group of 29 mainly MDC members, dubbed The Glen View 29, arrested in connection with policeman Petros Mutedza’s death in May 2011.
The rest were released while Madzokere, Maengahama and Yvonne Musarurwa (released in 2018 through Presidential amnesty) were sentenced to 20 years.
Madzokere said he is unhappy with the environment in which his children live, alleging that there is a shebeen at the house. He said he was trying to talk to the in-laws so that they address any issues that might be involved in him getting the children full time.
“There are still issues that need to be discussed so they had to go back. I do not want any conflict, so I am working on something amicable. I need to meet with the in-laws, because I understand they are the ones who came to take them from the house, seeing I had stayed in prison for a long time,” Madzokere said.
Together with Maengahama, Madzokere is contemplating on how to get compensation for wrongful incarceration.
He also said he would be engaging human rights lawyers to get people in prison to enjoy their conjugal rights so as to protect their relationships and marriages.
The two will undergo counselling to help them deal with the trauma of their wrongful incarceration.
Madzokere does not blame his wife for leaving as he says they were in love but blames the system which leaves partners and families of those incarcerated as victims.
“It’s something that I have accepted that it happens and my wife was very young. I have reflected on the issue and I want to engage human rights lawyers for an application for conjugal rights for inmates. Because these are consequences of the system,” Madzokere said.
“It is good to reflect, and my wife was very young and she had waited for a very long time. So for me the problem is the system. Other countries now have conjugal rights in prison because if someone has been arrested, the partner and the family become victims. When I look at it, I must strike a balance. With my wife we were in love for a long time. We really understood each other, but I guess something happened.”