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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai's MDC Rejects 'Summons' by Traditional Chief


ZANU-PF lawmaker Cairo Mhandu, who was with Negomo on Wednesday when he dropped off a summons at the prime minister’s office, threatened to have Mr. Tsvangirai arrested if he does not appear at the hearing

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed moves by traditional Chief Negomo to summon Mr. Tsvangirai to a hearing over his alleged marriage ceremony in November, a month in which, according to Shona culture, such ceremonies are not supposed to be held.

The MDC issued a statement calling Negomo's proposal ““awkward and legally foolish,” also accusing him of being a tool of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and state security agents seeking to embarrass Mr. Tsvangirai.

Mr. Tsvangirai has been embroiled for the past two weeks in a controversy sparked by his alleged traditional marriage to Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo, a 39-year-old divorced businesswoman, a marriage which he says never took place. Tembo and her family say they consider her to be married to the prime minister, however.

In a statement last week Tsvangirai declared the matter closed.

An aide to the chief, ZANU-PF lawmaker Cairo Mhandu, who was with Negomo on Wednesday when he dropped off a summons at the prime minister’s office, threatened to have Mr. Tsvangirai arrested if he does not appear at the hearing.

Spokesman Douglas Mwonzora of the Tsvangirai MDC formation accused Negomo of playing politics and said Mr. Tsvangirai will not respond to the summons.

Experts differ on whether November is completely off-limits for marriages. The custom is said to have arisen because the rains typically begin that month and rural inhabitants are preoccupied with trying to get their maize crops in the ground.

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