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The story of an ex-husband who stalks and abuses his ex wife: Is the man involved Fraderick Utsiwegota the right candidate for bail
Petronella Nyamapfene
June 24, 2013

The DailyNews of Thursday the 20 of June 2013 on its page 5 had a story headlined, ‘Man stalks, abuses ex-wife.’ In short the story was to the effect that a Harare man named Frederick Utsiwegota stalked his ex-wife to a hair salon where he bashed her and then bundled her in the boot of his car on the basis that she was living lavishly. A reading of the whole story as reported revealed that this ex-husband forced his ex-wife into his car and threatened to kill her. Her only crime in the eyes of the perpetrator was living lavishly yet she was a divorcee. Are divorcee women supposed to suffer after a divorce? The matter was brought before magistrate Tendai Mahwe who remanded Utsiwegota to July 2 on $200-00 bail. The daily news reported that it is the state’s case that Utsiwegota tied his ex-wife’s hands and legs with an electrical cable and held her hostage for an entire night .The report highlighted that when the woman was kidnapped by her ex-husband, she was punched and clapped several times all over her body as he questioned her about the numbers saved in her mobile phone. The next day after the kidnapping, Fraderick tied his wife to the burglar bar before leaving for work whereupon she untied herself and escaped through the window and reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest. After tormenting his ex- wife like this, Utsiwegota is charged with two counts of kidnapping and assault and is out on $200 bail. As I read through this report so many questions some of which I have failed to answer came to my mind. The questions are as follows:

1. Is Fraderick the right candidate for bail and was he rightly charged?

A reading of the above report and the chronology of events will show that Fraderick Utsiwegota is a very dangerous ex-husband who can do anything to eliminate his ex-wife. The facts above show a person who is a danger not only to his ex-wife but to any woman who might relate to him under the theme of love. In my view he is not a candidate for bail as he is a danger not only to his ex-wife but to society in general. Whilst the courts appear to abhor violence against women, the decision to grant this candidate bail suggest otherwise. Besides is assault and kidnapping the only charges that could be leveled against him? The movie style in which he executed the crime and the grievous bodily harm in which he inflicted not only suggests a premeditated crime which in my view is more than kidnapping and assault to cause grievous bodily harm.

2. How safe is Agnes Dumba and any woman who has an ex-husband who has a propensity to wage war like Fraderick Utsiwegota?

If Fraderick waged a war to an ex-wife who was just going to a saloon on the basis that she is living a fly life, what more will he do against her to ensure that she withdraws this case from the courts. In my view the court, should in the way they handle cases send a message to women that they can be protected when their rights are violated. When I read this case and I learnt that Fraderick is out in the streets on US$200 bail, I was convinced that our courts do not value the lives of women. Further I thought that it was a waste of time for Agnes to report this matter. Whilst acknowledging that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty and that he has a right to liberty, I feel that Fredrick is not a candidate for bail at all. The way this case was handled trivialized the rights of Agnes and many other women who are abused by men .In the end women might end up losing confidence in the justice system and the law degenerate into something short of what it stands for. This is actually a motivator for men to commit domestic violence cases as they can pay bail continue with their lives whilst threatening and pestering the women to withdraw the case or entice them to settle this out of court.

3. Does this couple have children and what is the effect of all this to the children?

In the event that this couple has children, the behavior of Fraderick will have untold negative impact on the children whether they are young or they are now adults. To the young children they can think that violence is justified and can use the same to settle disputes. This behavior might actually be replicated in their own relationships later in life and they might grow up without respect for women folk because of this negative socialization they received.

These are some of the issues that ran through my mind as I read the case. In case my views are wrong, I am calling upon everyone who read this case to help me to interrogate whether Fraderick Utsiwegota is the right candidate for bail?

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