Tsvangirai’s love-life: a series of disasters

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has proved to be a brave and astute politician who took on the monolithic Zanu (PF) party of President Robert Mugabe and shook it to its roots. Today it is but a shadow of what it was when it came to power and has no chance whatsoever of forming the next government.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai placing a ring onto Elizabeth Macheke's finger during their engagement.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai placing a ring onto Elizabeth Macheke’s finger during their engagement.

He is admired and supported by the majority of Zimbabweans and is expected to be the next president. Unfortunately, his love life, after the tragic death of his wife of more than 30 years, Susan, in a car accident, has raised some anxiety amongst his faithful followers, including this writer.

It is accepted that in matters of romantic love the human animal suspends a degree of rational behaviour. However, when it comes to the behaviour of a future head of state, people expect a higher standard than the norm. Such a leader must understand that he is no longer a private being, but a hero from whom the public expects exemplary behaviour. At the same time he must be aware that his many detractors will any machination to destroy him and the MDC-T. At first there were stories about Tsvangirai being a playboy even though he professes to be a faithful Methodist Christian. These stories were dismissed by most with the contempt they deserved.

He was single, in need of a partner, and he is not an angel but a man of flesh with human weaknesses. But his relationship with Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo raised eyebrows because she is the sister of Zanu (PF) MP Beatrice Nyamupinga, a relative of the Mujuru family.

This raised legitimate fears that the party had been infiltrated. State security agents were said to be busy behind the scenes to damage Tsvangirai’s chances in the forthcoming elections.

This was given credence by the fact that the marriage was soon embroiled in controversy. The PM and Chief Negomo are still embroiled in a court battle after Negomo accused him of having married in the Shona sacred month of November.

Tsvangirai denied that he had ever married Locadia. He claimed that he had only paid the customary damages to her people for having impregnated her. Even though the Methodist Church, of which Tsvangirai is a member, remained silent, this was quite a blow to them.

Five months later a beaming Tsvangirai announced his engagement to Elizabeth Macheka, the daughter of senior Zanu (PF) official. This set alarm bells ringing because Macheka is not an ordinary party member. He is a member of its highest policy making body, the politburo, a former mayor of Chitungwiza, and was recently appointed by Minister Ignatius Chombo to be a special interest member of the Chitungwiza Town Council.

He was accused of shooting to death a man and wounding two others in the January 1998 food riots. To be fair, he was judged to have acted in self-defence in the whole matter even though some people drew their own conclusions.

To complicate matters even more, the Karimatsenga family is now up in arms, claiming the PM paid lobola and is still their son-in law and Locadia’s husband. Does the Prime Minister need such distractions at this juncture in the political life of the country?

Meanwhile, some MDC-T officials are saying by marrying into a Zanu (PF) family the Prime Minister has compromised his position. The Standard Newspaper was told that MDC-T officials could not openly challenge Tsvangirai’s decision to engage Elizabeth Macheka since he earlier warned them that matters to do with his marriage are personal. But this does not apply to the general public.

He belongs to the people and, whether he likes it or not, they are publicly going to discuss, positively or negatively his decisions both public and personal. Women in the MDC-T are livid. One beauty, who happens to be single, said, “Are there no beautiful and intelligent women in the MDC-T that Morgan had to look for a wife from among those who are still beating, killing and harassing us? He has betrayed all MDC-T women and we are not going to forgive him easily for that.”

Professors John Makumbe and George Kahari said Elizabeth should not be demonized just because her father belongs to Zanu (PF). She is an independent adult with her own political views. Who knows, she may belong to the MDC-T. They said that since the two are obviously in love, they should be wished well.

Dehwa Mavhinga, a political commentator, suggests the intended marriage may be a strategic plan by Mugabe and Tsvangirai to forge a union between the MDC-T and Zanu (PF) to prepare for the peaceful takeover of government by Tsvangirai through a form of GNU-2. A Zimbabwean grey-beard, who prefers not to be named, said, about this idea, “In the old days, when there was bad blood between families or tribes, inter-marriages were arranged to wash away the hatred, as the children from those marriages would be blood relatives of the former enemies.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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