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PM Tsvangirai Takes Marriage Dispute to Supreme Court

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai filed a Supreme Court application Tuesday seeking to set aside a ruling of the lower court that recognized his former lover Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo as his wife.

In the court papers, Mr. Tsvangirai’s lawyers said High Court judge Chinembini Bhunu erred when he upheld a Harare magistrate’s ruling recognizing Karimatsenga Tembo as the premier’s customary wife.

Karimatsenga Tembo successfully applied for the cancellation of a marriage license issued to Mr. Tsvangirai by magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi resulting in the premier resorting to marrying his new love, Elizabeth Macheka, under customary law.

The lawyers argue that Mr. Tsvangirai should have been allowed to marry Elizabeth under civil rites. The prime minister denies paying a bride price or lobola for Karimatsenga Tembo insisting that he only paid damages for getting her pregnant.

Court records show that Karimatsenga Tembo suffered a miscarriage after seven and a half months.

According to the Supreme Court application, Justice Bhunu erred in upholding magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi’s ruling before conducting an inquiry with the concerned parties.

If the application succeeds, Prime Minister Tsvangirai can marry Elizabeth under the country’s Marriages Act.

Following the cancellation of the marriage license, Mr. Tsvangirai proceeded to wed Elizabeth under customary law.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai sent emissaries to Karimatsenga Tembo seeking to make peace following the publication of a story in a local daily quoting her saying she was prepared to bury the hatchet.

But Karimatsenga Tembo is said to have locked herself in her house resulting in the emissaries returning empty-handed.
It is still not clear what they intended to discuss with the woman, who’s still seeking maintenance from the Prime Minister in the courts.

The matter has been set down for Friday.

Meanwhile, there was drama at the High Court Tuesday when Mr. Tsvangirai’s wife, Elizabeth, turned up for the bail hearing of the 29 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters accused of murdering police Inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View last year.

The 29 accused started singing at the sight of Mr. Tsvangirai’s new wife temporarily halting proceedings at the court.

Giving testimony, the father of the deceased, Solomon Mutedza, reiterated his family’s position that Mutedza was not murdered by the 29 accused.

Last week the deceased’s brother, Tichaona, was accused of grandstanding to gain political mileage by accusing Zanu PF and state security agents of the killing.

But law officer Edmore Nyazamba yesterday described Mutedza, a self-confessed MDC activist, as an attention seeker who is not concerned by the death of his brother.