The marital saga of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai continued to grip the nation on Friday as the family of the woman Mr. Tsvangirai said in a statement he could not marry insisted that in fact she became his wife in a traditional ceremony.
The family of Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that she remains married to Mr. Tsvangirai under traditional law and will continue to reside at Mr. Tsvangirai’s rural homestead in Buhera, Manicaland province.
A Karimatsenga family spokesperson said the 39-year-old divorced businesswoman was living at what was termed her “husband’s” home.
In his statement on Wednesday, Mr. Tsvangirai said he was obliged to terminate his relationship with Tembo due to interference by the media and secret police.
He claimed everything was “choreographed to inflict maximum damage on his person and character for political gain” and indicated he did not consider himself married.
Mr. Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka told VOA reporter Violet Gonda that the Prime Minister has communicated his position to the Karimatsenga family and the woman at the center of the controversy was aware of his position.
He said Mr. Tsvangirai now considers the matter closed.
“So we will not be responding to whatever statements are emanating from elsewhere. The prime minister has made his position very clear and he will not be talking about this matter in the near future,” the spokesman said.
A Karimatsenga family spokesperson, Simba Karimatsenga, told the Herald he could not respond to the prime minister’s statement, “but what I can say is that Locadia is with her new family. Everyone knows where Locadia is.”
Tamborinyoka was asked whether Ms. Karimatsenga as reported is pregnant. “The prime minister says the woman claims to be pregnant.That's what he says in his statement and I think it would be unfair for me to say whether I know if she is pregnant or not."
Church minister and cultural expert Dr. Levy Kadenge said there is likely more going on than what is being disclosed through statements and press reports.
“No one actually knows what is going on … but each day as it comes we are being led nowhere, but I am afraid we won’t get any truth from the news outlets because really only the two of them know what’s going on," Kadenge said.