What is Cohabitation?
This is when two people who are not married to each other live together as a couple but without the payment of lobola or without registering such relationship as a marriage in terms of the law.
Is Cohabitation recognised as a marriage at law?
Cohabitation or (kubika mapoto) is not recognised as a marriage in terms of Zimbabwean law. The law does not recognise such a relationship as a marriage.
Do laws that govern marriages in Zimbabwe protect such unions?
In the event that such relationship terminates, in most cases issues to do with property sharing arise but the sad part is that laws that govern marriages in Zimbabwe do not apply to cohabitation relationships since this can either be recognised as a union of any kind, registered or unregistered. In the end it therefore leaves either party disadvantaged usually in the event that such relationship is prolonged and parties have made permanent arrangements of staying together as if they are married and in the process acquires property together with either party contributing to such acquisition of property directly or indirectly. Cohabitation therefore leaves the parties to such a relationship at the mercy of the courts, that is if there is any mercy at all.
Should the laws be amended to encompass cohabitation relationships at the same level as unregistered marriages?
SONIA R. FASHI