Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has finally reached an out of court settlement with his estranged traditional wife, Locadia Karimatsenga, in a deal that is said to have reached a six figure sum.
The state broadcaster – the ZBC - reported that the prime minister agreed to a one-off cash payment of between US$280,000 and US$300,000.
Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka declined to comment but referred the VOA to the premier’s lawyer Innocent Chagonda who said he was in a meeting.
Karimatsenga’s lawyer Jonathan Samukange confirmed that his client was given a substantial cash payment on Thursday but would not divulge the exact figure, only saying it is a lot of money.
“He has already paid. We have got the money and he has even paid my fees which are quite substantial too.”
Samukange said: "I charge US$1,000 an hour and this case has been going on for many months now. So it is quite substantial and I am obviously happy.”
"My client got what she wanted and she is very, very happy. That why we don't want to say anything. We are very, very happy."
The outspoken lawyer said the latest development has made him very unpopular with men “because they are saying I am making women much wiser.”
Last month, the Movement for Democratic Change leader's civil wedding to Elizabeth Macheka turned into a traditional bride handover ceremony without a proper exchange of marriage vows after the couple’s marriage license was cancelled.
Karimatsenga successfully blocked the wedding in the courts, claiming she was married to the premier under customary law.
Nosipho Shilubane, a South African woman, had also attempted to block the marriage claiming that the prime minister had promised to marry her.
Samkange said this cash deal does not mean the end of his client’s marriage to Mr. Tsvangirai.
“This is a maintenance settlement. It has nothing to do with divorce. She still loves him and she still wants him as a husband but of course if Morgan Tsvangirai says he doesn’t want anymore, she cannot refuse to be divorced,” Samukange said.
Gender activist and former opposition leader Margaret Dongo said the prime minister’s personal relationships have in many ways exposed how women are abused under the guise of customary law.
She added: “The prime minister has no respect for women and he cannot have loose moral values as a leader... in fact it is an embarrassment.”
Dongo also called on the unity government to institute investigations into how Mr. Tsvangirai, who came into power three and a half years ago, could afford to pay Karimatsenga the reported six figure out of court settlement.
Dongo said: “We seem to be moving from the frying pan (Mugabe) to the fire (Tsvangirai).”
“Am calling upon the inclusive government to investigate where the prime minister is getting that money which he is using to pay for lobola and damages.”
Dongo said: “If that money is donor funded then it’s a pity,
“It does not make sense because when such things happen in America it is an issue that can actually bring down a leader.
“Unfortunately in Zimbabwe if that person is fighting Mugabe, even if he is corrupt, he has to continue on fighting. It is very unfair. The party should ask Morgan to stand down.”