Father loses child custody battle

A MAN who sued his former wife for custody of his five- year-old daughter has lost the case after the Lusaka Boma Local Court ruled that the child was still too young to stay with her father.

This is in a case in which Kennedy Silwimba, 41, of Lusaka’s Ng’ombe compound sued his former wife, Jennifer Nawinga, 32, of Chazanga compound for child custody on allegation that she was not keeping the child well.

Silwimba told the court that they divorced in the same court in 2012.

He explained that when he went to see the child at school, he found that she had allegedly changed the surname.

“At one time, the child told me that Nawinga told her that I died. Nawinga leaves my daughter with her friend when she goes early in the morning to sell Chikanda and comes back at 20:00 hours. She is also fond of changing the school places for the child and at one time the child did not attend school for eight days,” said Silwimba.

He said he wants to educate his child but Nawinga argues that child was a girl who could get married.

Asked by the court how he was going to look after the child, Silwimba said he remarried and his new wife could look after the child.

In defence, Nawinga said she was given custody of the child when they divorced with Silwimba in 2012 and that she started work.

She said when she is working, she leaves the child at her in-law where Silwimba goes to cause troulble.

“When I phone him to tell him that the child is sick, he says that he is not a doctor, and at one time when the child stayed with him for a month, the child complained that her step mother was denying her food,” said Nawinga.

She said Silwimba does not maintain the child and that when she told him that she will go to court, he rushed to sue her for child custody.

Nawinga denied altering the surname of the child but said that she used the name of her brother.

In submission, Silwimba said he wanted to be living with the child during school days and that she could be going to Nawinga during holidays.

Nawinga said she did not want Silwimba to get the child but she only wanted him to maintain her. Passing judgment, senior court magistrate Hildah Choonya sitting with senior court magistrate Pauline Newa noted that the child was still young and that she should stay with her mother.

She said Silwimba should have access to the child but not to go to see her at night.