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High Court Judge Dismisses Application to Block PM's Wedding

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wedding with his new love, Elizabeth Macheka, will go ahead as planned this Saturday after a Harare High Court judge Wednesday dismissed an application by his former lover and prominent businesswoman, Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo, seeking to stop the premier from tying the knot.

High Court judge Antonia Guvava ruled that the prime minister’s wedding should go ahead as planned saying there is no reason for the marriage to be blocked.

Justice Guvava said although there is a dispute of facts on Mr. Tsvangirai and Karimatsenga Tembo 'customary law marriage', unregistered unions are not valid if they are not solemnised.

She said the onus is now on the House of Assembly to harmonise Zimbabwe's marriage laws in order to avoid such complicattions.

Karimatsenga Tembo told the court that Mr. Tsvangirai paid bride price or lobola last November though this was denied by the prime minister who said he only paid damages for impregnating her.

Karimatsenga Tembo also told the court that she later suffered a miscarriage after seven and a half months.

Justice Guvava said the High Court does not have any jurisdiction to deal with this matter as it cannot invoke powers given to the marriage officer through a statute.

She said Karimatsenga Tembo could seek remedy by writing an objection to the magistrate who issued Mr. Tsvangirai a marriage license.

One of the premier’s lawyers, Innocent Chagonda, told reporters that preparations for the wedding ceremony are at an advanced stage.

Karimatsenga Tembo’s attorney, Everson Samkange, said his team "will continue to fight for the wedding to be stopped and an objection will be filed with the magistrate along with evidence of a traditional marriage captured by a digital camera recorder".

"The magistrate who is going to hear the objection can listen to the DVD and view it and see for himself that indeed a marriage ceremony was conducted," said Samkange.

Karimatsenga Tembo's other lawyer, Dumisani Mtombeni, said the Tsvangirai-Karimatsenga marriage saga was a test case for women’s marriage rights.

"This case has always been about the ordinary African woman who has done so much for her family, who has worked so hard for a family, who has been so loving but has always suffered immense irreparable prejudices," said Mtombeni.

The prime minister has been linked to several women following the death of his wife, Susan Tsvangirai, in a car accident in 2009.

Some of those invited to Mr. Tsvangirai’s wedding at Rain Tree Cafe in Harare include President Robert Mugabe, Malawian President Joice Banda and Botswana leader Ian Khama.

Observers say the premier’s messy love affairs are creating a platform for President Mugabe to attack him in the run up to the next crucial polls as a person incapable of running the country which he has ruled with an iron fist since independence from British rule in 1980.

The High Court recently received another application from Karimatsenga Tembo in which she is demanding $15,000 from Mr. Tsvangirai for her monthly upkeep, including $1,700 for "hair and beauty therapy" and $1,200 for telephone bills.

She is also seeking $3,000 for rent, $4,000 for groceries and $1,500 as a clothing allowance - arguing that Tsvangirai has the money.

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