High Court allows Callista Mutharika to stay at Ndata farm despite Bingu's children giving her eviction notice
Malawi’s former first lady Callista Mutharika says she cannot move out of the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s opulent Casa Blanca Manor at Ndata Farm in Thyolo because it is a matrimonial home she helped with building supervision, interior design and decoration.
Callista has since obtained an injunction from the High Court in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre, restraining registered trustees of Bineth Trust from evicting or threatening to evict or interfering with her, until an inter-partes hearing of the injunction is heard this Friday.
The former first lady, at war over deceased estate with adult children of the late president, was, through a letter dated October 18 2012 from lawyers representing Bineth Trust, ordered to vacate Ndata Farm within five days.
Mbendera and Nkhono Associates, in the letter, advised Callista that legal owners of Ndata Farm, Bineth Trust, duly passed a resolution on October 11 this year that she vacate the premises.
Reads the letter from Bineth Trust to Callista in a court file her lawyers attached when applying for the injunction on Wednesday to stop the eviction: “You [Callista] may obviously take with you your personal property, but you are not required to take from the house any property that belongs to Bineth Trust. We are informed that the deceased property of late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika is yet to be distributed.”
But in her affidavit, Callista rebutted the assertions, arguing she married Mutharika in 2010 before the matrimonial home, on a private land, was completed.
Through her lawyers, Chisanga and Tomoka, she argues that on instruction of her late husband Mutharika, she supervised some works at the house.
Callista said Mutharika used to tell her time and again, and publicly, that after retiring as president, he would live at Ndata Farm and that meant it was the matrimonial home.
Reads the affidavit: “We later used to occupy [the matrimonial home] after December 2010. None of deceased’s children ever spent a night at Casa Blanca during the entire married life.”
She says Mutharika’s children wanted to hold a barbecue recently, but she stopped them as she was still in mourning.
She claims that a press statement the three children put in The Nation newspaper last Friday was false, arguing it was not true that the late president bought her a house in Zomba because the house referred to was a two bed-roomed one she owned way before she married Mutharika.
Mutharika died on April 5 this year. His first wife Ethel died in 2007.
Bineth Trust will this Friday be asking the court to dismiss the injunction whereas Callista, through her lawyers, will be arguing to have it maintained, ahead of an obvious long court battle to come.
It is not known when Mutharika’s estate will be distributed.