When children suffer the most in the Diaspora


IN cases of divorce here in the UK, Zimbabwean children are being turned against one or the other of their parents by those who have custody of them.
This ranges from a mother or father who has custody or social workers and foster parents.
Some do this entirely out of spite and some do it mostly for financial gain.
A lot of Zimbabwean divorced partners are eliminated from their children’s lives because of the ‘implacable hostility’ of the partner with custody,
The typical prejudiced assumption is that a mother will give children kindly care as compared to the father who in most instances is presented as reckless and irresponsible.
Zimbabwean fathers here are being portrayed as useless objects and this misconception has been planted in the judiciary system this side.
The judiciary, it appears, is more biased to the mother in divorce proceedings.
In a very rare case, a High Court judge in London ordered that a 10 year-old girl should be removed from her mother’s care because the girl had been systematically enstranged from her father by her mother’s ‘ranting’ against the man.
Ruling that the mother’s conduct was manifestly harmful for the daughter and contrary to her long-term interests, Mrs Justice Parker observed that the child had been manipulated into believing that her father did not want her. She ordered that the girl should be taken into the care of social services as a half-way measure towards placing her in her father’s care. The court heard that the girl was likely to be resistant to being reunited with her father without such interim measures.
The case torched a storm with women’s groups.
But the reality is the case showed how men have always been made to look like devils.
In cases of divorce, the word ‘love’ has been removed from the lives of fathers and their children.
The High Court ruling stood out as an extra-ordinary moment, reversing normal prejudiced assumptions that a mother will give children kindly care while an irresponsible father swaggers off into the horizon.
It is unfortunate that the partner with custody goes all-out to demonise the absent parent.
Even if the partner pays enough funds for the upkeep of the children, the children are always told that their father is ‘playing around’ while the mother is suffering.
Fathers have been turned into ‘vampires’.
By the time divorce proceedings are over, the father would already have been painted the ‘devil’.
Children are being forced to make very difficult decisions and put in impossible situations.
No doubt, some men are engaged in this outrageous behaviour of poisoning minds of their children.
Divorcing while far away from a familiar community makes the process horrendous for many who have been in the UK for less than two decades.
The society they have found themselves in promotes divorce.
People are ‘happy’ to announce that they are in their 13th marriage.
Marriage is now under attack and children emerge the worst victims with the most scars.
While couples agree that both parents should share responsibility for bringing up children, the parent with custody never tells the child the help being rendered by the absent parent.
The parent with the child makes it look like he/she is the only one being responsible and caring.
Recent amendments to the Children and Families Act 2014 now require courts making child arrangement orders ‘to presume that the involvement of both separating parents in the life of a child will further its welfare’.
However, this is the English Law, and Zimbabwean couples want to mix both the English system and their own system.
They pretend to know the two systems and in the process, the children suffer.
In most cases, children are being used as weapons to ‘fix’ the other party.
There is disparagement of the other parent by snide remarks and expressions of exaggerated fears which require the children to declare their loyalty to a particular parent.
In cases where the child is forced to make a choice, how can anybody be sure that the child is expressing true feelings that have been freely developed rather than a point of view which has been inculcated by a manipulative parent?
Where contact with children is being frustrated or denied and the children themselves are rejecting a parent with whom they previously had good relationships, specialists in mediation and child psychology should get involved without delay.
But the system which does not understand the cultural background of a Zimbabwean will hide behind the term ‘the best interest of the child’.
Parents are portraying the marriage institution as a horrible thing.
And one wonders if children growing up in the Diaspora will grow up to respect the marriage institution.
For views and comments, email: vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk


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