Struggling millionaires

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By Black Edward

HIS nickname, which I find a bit harsh, is Poor Millionaire. I prefer calling him just SP — for Struggling Peter.
He shares a small cabin with his younger brother at an illegal settlement adjacent to Glen Norah. The brothers live without the possessions some of us take for granted, without basic utilities and no food security.

They eat the same dismal meals weekly and their only mode of transportation is walking. During his daily ventures
SP hobbles along the potholed roads of Glen Norah, wearing ragged clothes — a witness to his poverty. He gets scornful glances and snide remarks as if it was his fault to be poor. Or was it?

The truth is, his life — marked by malnutrition, disease, and rejection — is intolerable. But hold on; do you know
that SP’s late father was a wellknown Harare businessman? Oh, yes! He was sired out of wedlock. He always talks about this to anyone who cares to listen — that’s how we came to learn about it.

He says because of being born out of wedlock he did not inherit anything when his father died.

Seriously guys, if you sire children out of wedlock, is it so impossible to integrate them into the family? Is it so difficult to get them documented? Would you rather turn in your grave when your children fail to partake of
the wealth, which you worked so hard for them to benefit from?

Every day we come across shocking estates and inheritance stories — so-called relatives wanting to benefit, children fighting with step-parents, siblings battling each other and dubious characters wanting a piece of the
cake. Shamefully, you will find someone without any right whatsoever trying to muscle in and grab some
property left for the children by their parents.

You might recall the late Retired General Solomon Mujuru’s family dispute and reports then that more than
13 children he allegedly sired out of wedlock were fighting for a share of his estate.

However, his widow and former vice president Joice allegedly agreed with other close family members to bar these “children” from claiming a stake in the estate until they had undergone paternity tests. Mujuru was reportedly one of the richest people in Zimbabwe.

Also the ownership wrangle over the estate of the late property mogul Edward Nyanyiwa, popularly known as Eddies Pfugari, was heard at the High Court.

Mindful of the inheritance chaos, a little forethought from parents can prevent such disputes. They can implement a
variety of strategies that include expressing their wishes in a will, setting up a trust, using a nonsibling as executor or trustee, and distributing some items during their lifetime.

In the estate of the late music icon Oliver Mtukudzi, a Harare law firm filed with the Master of High Court, a one-page Will and Testament bequeathing all movable and immovable property to surviving spouse Daisy.

All his children and other family members were left out. Death is harrowing enough without the added suffering of
heir warfare and being disinherited. It’s painful that in some cases those who are supposed to benefit do not get anything at all. It is a pity, as in SP’s case to be witnessing children of late wealthy parents being robbed of
their inheritance and being condemned to a life of abject poverty not of their own making. Talk of
struggling millionaires!

Now a row has erupted among relatives of the late national hero and Cabinet minister, Perrance Shiri, as they fight to benefit from his vast estate.

What a pity! One hopes that the several children who are now coming forward to be part of the would be beneficiaries are not just chancers.

Shiri died at the end of July after contracting the lethal coronavirus. Members of his family confirmed to the Daily News last week that a nasty fight had erupted among his relatives and political associates over how his
estate should be administered.

A family member said Shiri had left behind a sizeable estate, which included a host of properties — including a house in Borrowdale and a farm in Bindura that had chalets — as well as a fleet of top-of-the range vehicles, several buses and a trucking company.

The fight for Shiri’s wealth, the insiders told the Daily News, was pitting — in the main — the late minister’s siblings against his “many children”, whose exact number could not be ascertained. They added that the ugly battle was raging despite the fact that Shiri, who was not married, had left a will bequeathing a large chunk of his wealth to his
children and a few close family members.

Some families don’t have serious disputes over inherited money — the late former president Robert Mugabe’s comes to mind. What of Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure? Only time will tell.

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