WHEN Marjorie Mutemererwa left Seed Co. Ltd last year after some years of dedicated and long service where she was public relations and special programmes manager, she was paid some cool US$85 000 severance package.
That is the money she banked on to sustain herself as someone who lives alone.
Mutemererwa lost her only child Richard Kevin Rugube who was electrocuted at his father’s house while taking a shower to go to school at St. George’s College in February 2011.
It is an experience that has shaped her life ever since. She has formed RKR & MFM Trust – named after her son and herself – to honour Richard. RKR stands for her son’s names, while MFM is herself. Her middle name is Fadziso.
Mutemererwa, a communication strategist who sits on various corporates boards, has penned a book titled 7S: Shattered, Shaken yet Still Standing; Evidence of God’s Strength, Supremacy and Sovereignty in memory of her late son.
In the 84-page book, Mutemererwa opens up on the emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual, mental, physiological and health stages and challenges she has gone through following the death of her son.
Against this backdrop, Mutemererwa says in her court papers that on 21 January, prominent pastor and businessman Shingi Munyeza, who was in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s now moribund Presidential Advisory Council, called her urgently asking for money to address an emergency.
The papers say the following day Munyeza, in the company of his wife Wilma, visited Mutemeterwa at her Borrowdale Brooke home to finalise the deal to borrow money from his neighbour. Munyeza and Mutemererwa are neighbours.
After the visit on 22 January, the following day Mutemerewa transferred money to the Munyezas’ account in Botswana.
Mutemererwa says she gave Munyeza the money because they knew each other well and worked together on community issues. She also says she had first confirmed with his wife the need for urgent assistance.
Munyeza had agreed and promised to pay back the money with a generous interest of US$15 000, meaning a total of US$100 000 by 31 January 2023.
However, Munyeza failed to pay when the money was due. Almost a month went by with the two communicating back and forth over payment.
Then on 27 February Munyeza promised to pay back the following day – 28 February – but again he failed to do so.
Upset that her severance package was now at risk of being lost in a bad debt situation characterised by betrayal of trust, Mutemererwa reported Munyeza to the police.
Documents say Munyeza was subsequently arrested over the issue and slept in police detention.
However, Munyeza has said that he was not arrested because it is a civil issue. He says he was only called to a police station for an interview and went back home thereafter.
Documents say he was arrested on 3 March and appeared in court on 4 March.
Mutemererwa has taken the issue to the High Court (Civil Division) as she wants her money back to look after herself. The case was in the courts on 5 April at the High Court in Harare.
“The plaintiff (Mutemererwa)’s claim against the defendants (Munyezas) jointly and severally the one paying the other to be absolved is for provisional sentence in an amount of US$10 000 together with interest on that amount at the legally prescribed rate of interest calculated from 1 February to the date of the full and final settlement and legal costs on an attorney-client scale,” summons say.
“The plaintiff’s claim is based on two acknowledgements of debt executed by Shingi Albert Munyeza and Wilma Munyeza and dated 22 January 2023 and 27 February 2023 respectively. In terms of the documents an amount of US$100 000, together with interest of 5% per annum, is payable calculated from the date of default (1 February 2023).”
Although news reports last month suggested Munyeza was arrested, he denied the allegations, maintaining that the police only interviewed him since the matter is civil and not criminal.
Despite acknowledging the debt and promising to repay Mutemererwa, Munyeza’s promises have lost credibility as she no longer believes him and wants the court to help her recover her money that she badly needs to sustain herself.