Tsvangirai’s marriage woes mount

2012-09-22 19:32

Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s marriage woes are mounting, with one of his jilted lovers launching a plethora of legal challenges in a desperate attempt to declare his marriage last week invalid.

Miffed that Tsvangirai tied the knot with his new sweetheart ­Elizabeth Macheka in a lavish mock wedding last Saturday, despite having their marriage licence cancelled at the eleventh hour, scorned former lover Lorcadia ­ Tembo has turned to the courts again.

The newlyweds were spending the week in Tsvangirai’s new home in Highlands, a leafy suburb in Harare.

In her latest court papers, Tembo insists she is still traditionally married to Tsvangirai, claiming he paid lobola for her, while Tsvangirai insists the payment was only damages for making her pregnant.

In her application, Tembo argues that if the prime minister proceeds to have a registered monogamous ­marriage with Macheka, her status as first wife would be invalidated.

Tembo says she has no reservations about Tsvangirai taking a second wife, as long as she is recognised as the first wife in terms of customary law.

Tsvangirai, on his part, has filed a Supreme Court application challenging the cancellation of the marriage licence after the High Court late last Saturday threw out his desperate bid to suspend the cancellation of the marriage licence.

Tembo wants Tsvangirai arrested and charged for perjury and contempt of court as her lawyers strongly believe he could have lied under oath when he sought a ­marriage licence at the magistrates’ court.

Tembo – a 39-year old businesswoman who Tsvangirai dumped 12 days after ­he paid the bride price, citing infiltration into his private life by President Robert Mugabe’s spy agency and Zanu-PF – has also filed an application in which she is seeking financial maintenance totalling $15 000 (R125 000) a month from the beleaguered leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.

The maintenance case was postponed on Friday until next Thursday.

In her maintenance application, Tembo argues that her claims are based on the fact that since being with Tsvangirai, she has become accustomed to living a good life and enjoying other trappings that come with being married to the prime minister of Zimbabwe.

Of the $15 000 monthly maintenance she is demanding, Tembo is claiming $3 000 for rent, $4 000 for groceries, $1 500 for clothing, $500 for electricity bills, $500 as wages for a maid, $300 for a gardener, $1 000 for fuel and vehicle expenses, $700 for medical aid, $250 for water, $1 700 for her hair and beauty expenses and $350 for a driver.

But Tsvangirai’s spin doctors accuse Tembo of working in cahoots with Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation to discredit the opposition party leader before the election.

The prime minister faces mounting criticism from the electorate after being linked with a string of women since he lost his wife of 31 years, Susan, in a horrific car crash in 2009.

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