Makungu Kahindi vs Luhumbika Nyanda [1982] TZHC 2 (1 January 1982)


Chua, J. The appellant divorced his wife with whom he had lived for four years. There was one issue to the marriage. He claimed for return of dowry from the respondent, his father in law. The Primary Court Nyambiti awarded him 6 head of cattle. His appeal to G the District Court was dismissed. Hence this appeal.
From the record of the Primary Court it appears that the appellant had divorced his wife on the grounds of desertion. It is unfortunate that the trial magistrate did not call for the divorce case file to ascertain the cause of the breakdown of the marriage. Nevertheless H from what was deposed in court it was evident that the wife had absconded from the matrimonial home and could not be traced at her father's home. When she was finally discovered the appellant decided that he was no longer interested in continuing to live with her. It seemed therefore not factually correct to assert like I

the learned District Magistrate and Primary Court Magistrate did that the appellant had A no reason to divorce his wife.
The appellant stated that he paid 17 head of cattle as dowry but he was now claiming 27 head of cattle because they had multiplied. But the law on this point is clearly laid down under s.45 of the Law of Persons which stipulates: B
   The offspring of the animals paid in bridewealth whether cattle or goats, are not to be returned. Similarly, if the bridewealth has been paid in money no payment of interest can be claimed. C
Next to be considered is whether the Primary Court applied correct principles in assessing the number of cattle to be returned. The Primary Court took this to have been a case where no grounds of divorce existed but as I have stated above there was D evidence of desertion which was not contradicted by the respondent. Had it been true that no grounds of divorce were established then under s.52 (B) of the Law of Persons no bridewealth was returnable since there was one issue to the marriage.
Taking into account the fact that the wife was guilty of desertion, that there was one issue E to the marriage, that the parties had lived together for 4 years and that the wife has a chance of remarrying the award of 6 head of cattle in my view was fair and reasonable and therefore save as indicated hereinabove the appeal is dismissed. The appellant to be paid six (6) head of cattle consisting of five (5) cows and one (1) bull. The appellant to F pay costs of this appeal.
Appeal dismissed.


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