Court delays prominet couple’s divorce – gives them six more months to reconsider

Francinah Baaitse
IN COURT: Mmutsi and Modise Batlhalefeng

Maun Customary Court has given an additional six months of separation for one of Maun’s prominent couples, Mmutsi and Modise Batlhalefeng, before it can nullify their 28-year-old marriage in a divorce case which was filed by the wife, Mmutsi, last August.

Mmutsi, 47, and Modise, who are well-known for their diverse property business portfolio both in and outside of Maun, including Star Bar in Newtown, a guest house, rental houses, and farms, were advised by Kgosi Leretsetse Mogalakwe to wait for a further six months before the matter can be concluded.

“This case was postponed on the 24th of October, 2023 because of the illness of your son. The ailment and demise of the child caused the case to delay but, at this stage, we are at a point where we are allowing you a legal six months separation period,” ruled Mogalakwe, who noted that during the separation period, both the couple and their children will undergo counselling.

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“It is important for all of you to undergo counselling before the conclusion of this matter. From there, if it gets to that, we will then look at division of property, which you have listed here. Kindly note it will be illegal for any of you to try and dispose of any of the listed properties,” advised Mogalakwe.

While the husband agreed with the six months separation, the wife was clearly disappointed and indicated that the case had dragged before court for far too long. In fact, she felt that she was being denied the right to freedom due to unnecessary delays.

“In truth, we have been on separation since July 2022 when I left home. It is almost two years now and, when I left, I only took a car, my clothes and some blankets, and left everything else behind. It will be in our best interests, and that of the children, if this case is concluded as soon as possible, and I thought we came here for final resolution, not another prolonged separation,” complained the wife.

She further complained that sometimes the husband comes to her place at odd evening hours with the children and that the divorce will help restrain him from acting in this wayward manner.

Nonetheless, the husband, who was the one who wanted the case to be postponed last year for the sake of their then ailing son, was comfortable with the six months separation period and explained that the wife would continue earning a living through house rental monies while he gets funding through rental from the bar, and that each of them will keep vehicles registered in their names in the time being.

The divorce case was filed by the wife and begun in August last year. It was primarily motivated by allegations of abuse and infidelity, leading her to lose affection for her husband after 28 years of marriage.

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The wife cited her husband’s alleged infidelity, fathering children outside wedlock, stifling her freedom and calling her a “witch” as significant factors contributing to the deterioration of their marriage.

She told the court, “He has fathered children outside wedlock, and he says he does not understand why I am not accepting those children because women also have children who were not fathered by their husbands.”

Moreover, the wife elaborated on the extensive history of abuse in their relationship, asserting that her husband’s extreme jealousy had stifled her freedom.

The husband, however, noted that he was surprised by the divorce filing and that his wife’s sudden change in behaviour from 2001 was punctuated with increased disrespect and a refusal to communicate about any of her plans even when she left the house for an errand.

Although he had expressed a desire to spend more quality time with the wife and his family, the wife wants out as soon as possible.

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The matter is expected back in court after the lapse of the six months period; September.

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