The family of the late former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai may not benefit much from the politician’s estate as domestic workers and other employees are claiming salary arrears and damages to the tune of US$150 000, a figure that may be way above the value of the assets.
Mr Tsvangirai died at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in South Africa on February 14, 2018, after battling cancer of the colon.
He was accorded a State -assisted funeral and was buried at his rural home at Humanikwa Village in Buhera.
An inventory filed by the surviving spouse, Ms Elizabeth Macheka, in 2018, lists Mr Tsvangirai’s assets as a house in Strathaven, Harare and six vehicles, one of which is being claimed by a South African company.
Some 45 cattle that were said to be in Kwekwe and others in Buhera also formed part of the estate.
Although there are concerns that Ms Macheka could have left out some assets during registration of the estate, her inventory is still recognised at the Master’s office.
The vehicles were listed as follows: Mercedes Benz S350 (ABI 6365), Mercedes Benz GL (ADV 9705), Toyota Prado (ADQ 1536), Isuzu KB300 (ACG 6324), Isuzu KB250 (ACB 8661) and Isuzu KB250 (ACB 8559).
Efforts by the Master of the High Court to get the distribution account from the estate’s two executors — Mr Innocent Chagonda and Mr Trust Maanda — have proved fruitless since 2018.
It is understood the family wants to first deal with the estate of the late Mrs Susan Tsvangirai, who died first.
Although the late politician was touted as a distinguished labour activist, his gardeners, house maids, security guards and personal assistants are crying foul over salary arrears.
At least six workers now want a share of the estate, each claiming an average of about US$11 000 in outstanding salaries.
Another man, Mr Moreprecision Muzadzi, who claims he was hired to facilitate coalition talks with prospective allies on behalf of MDC-T before the 2013 election, now wants US$34 000 for the services plus US$50 000, being damages for assault perpetrated on him while demanding his payment.
The US$84 000 suit was filed when Mr Tsvangirai was still alive but his name was deleted on the court papers when he died.
The High Court confirmed the replacement of Mr Tsvangirai with the two executors to his estate, hence the man now seeks payment of US$84 000 from the assets left behind by the politician.
A brother to the late politician, Mr Manasa Tsvangirai and MDC-T official Mr Morgan Komichi were also listed as defendants in the suit.
Mr Dudzai Faranisi, who was employed as a gardener at the late politician’s house since 2000, is claiming US$7 650 from the estate.
“The particulars of the claim are in respect of salary arrears dating from August 1, 2013, to December 31, 2015, which in total is about 17 months.
“I was earning a monthly salary of US$450, therefore total salary arrears amount to US$7 650,” reads a letter to the Master of High Court.
Mr Norman Juwaki, who was employed by the late Tsvangirai as a housekeeper, wants US$7 650, being salary arrears for 17 months.
His circumstances are almost similar to those of Mr Faranisi but he started working for the late politician in 2009.
Ms Annah Muzvidziwa, who was employed as a secretary for the late politician, is claiming outstanding salaries to the tune of US$14 000. Her monthly salary was pegged at US$1 000 per month but she claims she is yet to be paid an outstanding figure of US$14 000.
Mr Jonathan Mashiri, who was employed as a chef, is claiming US$12 000. He was employed in 2012 but the politician failed to pay him for 10 months.
Mr Lovejoy Mhundwa, who was a cleaner at the Strathaven house, wants an outstanding salary of US$11 600 from the estate.
He earned US$400 per month but he worked for 29 months without payment.
Mr Mhundwa started working for Mr Tsvangirai in 2010.
Another cleaner, Mr Tafadzwa Mhundwa, who started working for Tsvangirai in 2013, is claiming $11 600, being salary arrears for 29 months.
The consultant, Mr Muzadzi who hails from the same village with the late politician in Buhera, claims the estate owes him US$84 000.
The High Court once granted adefault judgment against Mr Tsvangirai, his brother Manasa and Mr Komichi, but their lawyers challenged the decision.
The court later rescinded the default judgment and the Registrar of the High Court reset the matter for hearing on the opposed roll.
Mr Muzadzi claims the parties later agreed on payment of the US$84 000 but the executors were now frustrating the process.
He said his task was to negotiate with opposition party leaders not to contest the 2013 general polls and instead throw their weight behind Mr Tsvangirai.
Mr Muzadzi said they held a series of meetings with several Western embassies towards the attainment of the goal of one presidential candidate.
After a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between Mr Tsvangirai and fellow opposition parties, Mr Muzadzi said he was then asked to submit a bill, which he duly did.
Efforts to get his payment failed until a day when he was assaulted at the politician’s house while demanding his money.
Damages arising from the assault were pegged at US$50 000.