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Court outlaws prying on partner’s cellphone

It is now illegal to pry into your partner’s cellphone in Zimbabwe. Harare High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi made the landmark ruling during a case involving a woman who knifed her husband to death for refusing to show her a suspicious text message.

According to the Herald newspaper, Justice Chitapi said evidence obtained through prying into a cellphone should not be used in court as it has been obtained illegally.

The court heard that Fortunate Nsoro, 36 stabbed her husband Petros Mutasa, 55, in February last year as their eight-year-old daughter watched.

The couple was in the bedroom when Mutasa received a text message and Nsoro demanded to read it but her husband refused to let her read or even tell her its content.

A fight ensued and Mutasa assaulted his wife who rushed to the kitchen and grabbed three knives which she used to stab her husband inflicting serious injuries which he succumbed to on the same day.

A neighbour, who heard Mutasa screaming, reported the matter to the police and Nsoro was arrested.


Justice Chitapi sentenced Nsoro to 10 years in prison after finding her culpable of homicide.

The judge said snooping into someone’s phone contravenes to section 57(d) of the Zimbabwean constitution which guarantees all of the right not to have the privacy of their communication infringed.

“There is no law which provided that a husband or wife has a right to infringe on the privacy of the other’s communications. Whatever message which the deceased received was not intended for Nsoro, otherwise Mutasa would have conveyed the message to her. She (Nsoro) simply could not respect her husband’s right to privacy,” said the judge.

It was however not mentioned in court why Nsoro wanted to read the message.

“In a way, by insisting that Mutasa divulges the message, Nsoro was the cause or torched the altercation which ended up with disastrous consequences. It is the court’s view that society should learn to respect privacy of communications. Many a time, the cellphone has been cause of matrimonial quarrels and domestic disputes because couples do not respect each other’s rights to communications made or received,” said Justice Chitapi.