Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has moved to marry his long-term lover after she fell pregnant with their twins.
The MDC-T leader shelled out US$36,000 in lobola at a private ceremony in Mazowe on Monday – but it’s now thought the decision to solemnize their year-long affair may have been taken out of his hands by her pregnancy.
The privately-owned Daily News reports that Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo, 39, is set to give birth to twins early in the New Year.
Tembo’s family asked Tsvangirai to pay “damages” for impregnating her outside wedlock – a traditional practice normally employed when the woman is pregnant with her first child. Tembo is the mother of a 16-year-old boy.
Tembo’s aunt, Felistas Tsine, described how Tsvangirai, 54, removed his shoes and sat on the floor after arriving at their home in Christon Bank with “groceries to fill a house”.
“He was well prepared,” she told reporters.
The Prime Minister was charged US$15,000 in what is known as rusambo in Shona – the major expense of a traditional marriage – and also handed over 10 head of cattle. Five more head of cattle were paid as cash at US$400 for each beast.
Other charges and the “damages” took the bill to US$36,000.
There was no public sighting of Tembo on Tuesday but her sister, the Zanu PF MP for Gotomonzi West, Biata Beatrice Nyamupinga, was asked on radio last night how her family was reacting to the marriage.
“The family is very happy; every family becomes happy when a good thing happens,” she told Sandra Nyaira of the Voice of America’s Studio 7.
Asked how Locadia was, Nyamupinga added: “She’s happy, but that’s not unique to her. Everyone who gets married gets happy.”
She confirmed that Tsvangirai and his emissaries – his brother Manasa and uncle Innocent Zvaipa – had “requested for a wedding”, adding: “We don’t know the arrangements as yet.”
Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, died in a car accident in March 2009. They had six children together.
The Prime Minister has been linked with a string of women in the last two years, including a 23-year-old Bulawayo woman who claimed they had a child together.
Loreta Nyathi threatened to take Tsvangirai to court after he told aides he “could not remember her”. Tsvangirai soon beat a hasty retreat and she was put up in a flat. He also pays for her upkeep and the year-old boy named Ethan.
Consistent with denials issued since New Zimbabwe.com broke news of the marriage, the Prime Minister’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said last night: “The official position to the best of my knowledge is that nothing has happened. But if at all the Prime Minister is going to marry, the nation is going to be told at the appropriate time.
“What I am telling you is the Prime Minister’s position.”