Morgan’s wedding woes

2012-09-15 14:45

Court cancels marriage licence issued to Tsvangirai and fiancée

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has learnt.

Tsvangirai’s preparations to wed his new sweetheart, Elizabeth Macheka (34), at a lavish wedding yesterday were in limbo after the courts scuttled his plans following two dramatic legal battles by two women.

While a claim to be engaged to the prime minister by a South African woman, Nosipho Shilubane, was summarily thrown out due to lack of merit earlier in the day on Friday, Harare provincial magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi later cancelled a marriage licence he had recently issued to the prime minister and his fiancée, Macheka.

The cancellation of the marriage licence followed protracted appeals to the courts by Tsvangirai’s jilted lover, 39-year-old Harare businesswoman Locadia Karimatsenga. ­

Karimatsenga, a relative of a Zanu-PF legislator, claimed in court papers the leader of the MDC was still customarily married to her.

Mutevedzi ruled that an unregistered customary marriage existed between Tsvangirai and Locadia after watching a video recording showing the prime minister’s emissaries paying lobola to the Karimatsenga family on November 11 last year.

The magistrate added it was criminal for one to enter into a ­monogamous marriage when they were already in an unregistered marriage.

The beleaguered Casanova is highly embarrassed by the turn of events. He had already invited regional leaders to the wedding.

Botswana president Ian Khama and Swaziland’s King Mswati III had already jetted into Harare for the nuptials, dubbed the “mother of all weddings”, at Raintree Gardens, Harare.

In another embarrassment for the bed-hopping prime minister, a bid to traditionally ­divorce Karimatsenga in court was dashed.

He had attempted to issue Karimatsenga with a divorce token of US$1 as per Shona tradition, but apparently suffered a blow when the magistrate refused to entertain it, forcing Tsvangirai’s lawyers to regroup.

But to save face, his spin doctors went into overdrive late on Friday and Saturday morning, claiming the public and private wedding ­ceremonies would proceed.

They claimed the two attempts to stop Tsvangirai’s wedding were “clearly a well-choreographed move – replete with malice and vindictiveness”, and political machinations by President Robert Mugabe and his spy agents – to discredit the MDC leader ahead of polls the Zanu-PF leader wants held this year without fail.

Tsvangirai spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, was defiant, insisting the wedding would proceed with or without a marriage licence, and risking the arrest of his boss for contempt of court.

Lawyers representing Locadia want ­Tsvangirai arrested for bigamy if he proceeds to tie the knot with Elizabeth, the daughter of a Zanu-PF central committee member.

“There are those who have obviously sought to dip political fingers in a social pie. Zimbabweans are pleased that the PM has now found a rightful companion with whom he publicly engaged, a loved one he will publicly wed on Saturday,” said the spokesperson, adding that the past week alone had seen an outpouring of messages of support and prayers for the prime minister and his wife from Zimbabweans of many political shades.

But Tsvangirai’s sex scandals come after three damning independent reports indicate that his popularity has been eclipsed by Mugabe’s.

The reports, one by the US-based Freedom House, cited his ­alleged bed-hopping and corruption among officials elected to run municipalities as the reasons for the drop in his support, although the MDC claims the surveys are fundamentally flawed.

Apart from Macheka, Karimatsenga and Shilubane, Tsvangirai also reportedly impregnated a 21-year-old Bulawayo woman.

They have a son.

He is paying maintenance for both the child and the mother.

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