Fungai Lupande Senior Court Reporter
South Africa-based businessman Frank Buyanga’s baby mama Chantelle Muteswa has asked the High Court to allow her to file her response to Buyanga’s application for joint custody, saying Buyanga hoodwinked her into believing he was interested in reconciliation and negotiations.
Muteswa has filed an application for upliftment of the bar condoning the late filling of heads of argument in case number HC 3971/19.
Buyanga is seeking joint custody and guardianship of their 5-year-old son Daniel Alexander.
Muteswa, in her application, said she engaged Buyanga through his multiple lawyers to discuss and resolve various matter before the High Court relating to the welfare of their son.
“While I engaged in good faith and dialogue was progressing positively, Buyanga ambushed me with a notice of set down of this matter,” she said.
“My lawyer is in ongoing discussions to resolve the issues of custody, access, guardianship and maintenance of our son. Sequence of events are as follows, sometime in May this year Buyanga filed an application for joint custody and guardianship case number HC3971/19. On June 19, this year parties appeared before Justice Manzunzu in case number HC5011/19 and the Judge directed that lawyers involved should advise parties to settle the matter amicably.
“On July 4, parties appeared before Justice Zhou case number HC5552/19 and the Judge advised parties to settle the matter involving the child amicably. I met Buyanga’s lawyer and agreed to work on a new consent agreement.”
Muteswa said the lawyer drafted Buyanga’s proposal and shared it with her lawyer for consideration. Muteswa’s lawyer highlighted three areas of disagreement which did not include custody arrangements.
She said Buyanga abandoned the arrangement without explanation and he also abandoned the lawyer who was pursuing the settlement.
“I seek uplifting of the bar to allow late filing of heads of argument in case number HC3971/19. I believed that Buyanga, through multiple lawyers was genuinely interested in reconciliation and an amicable long lasting settlement in respect of matters relating to the welfare of our child,” read her application.
“It is in the interest of justice to be allowed to file the heads of argument because issues raised are of major national importance especially in as far as children’s rights and respective roles, obligations and rights of separated parents.”