Court halts Tsvangirai's marriage

HARARE - A Harare magistrate yesterday revoked Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s marriage licence, ruling the PM was still customarily married to Locardia Karimatsenga. However, the PM said the ceremonies, both at the Glamis Arena and at Raintree Gardens in Umwinsidale will go ahead although there will be no signing of certificates.

Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson said: “While we take note of the ruling, our lawyers are applying for a review at the High Court,” he said.

“But the preparations on the ground are continuing. We urge invited guests to join us. There will definitely be a ceremony tomorrow. We remain exuberant.”

Harare provincial magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi withdrew the licence for Tsvangirai’s wedding to his fiancée Elizabeth Macheka after a day of high drama at the courts.

Yesterday’s ruling came as a shock given that earlier on Wednesday, a High Court judge Antonia Guvava threw out Karimatsenga’s challenge saying the court had no jurisdiction over the case, referring her back to the magistrates’ court which issued the marriage licence.

Mutevedzi, after reviewing evidence before the court including a video of a traditional ceremony between Tsvangirai and Karimatsenga in Mazowe in November, stopped the wedding, which was scheduled to be attended by several heads of state.

Tsvangirai’s lawyers said they were filing an urgent application to proceed with the event. They were due to file the application late yesterday evening.

Mutevedzi also dismissed objections by a South African woman; Nosipho Shilubane’s who claimed she was engaged to marry Tsvangirai.

Shilubane filed an objection to the premier’s wedding on Thursday morning.

The 35-year-old mother of two claims Tsvangirai wanted to marry her in January this year but postponed the wedding to December due to his hectic schedule.

Karimatsenga’s lawyer Everson Samukange yesterday told reporters at the Rotten Row Magistrates’ Court after the ruling that justice had been served.

“The marriage licence that had been issued to the premier has been cancelled,” Samukange said after the ruling yesterday.

“If he goes ahead with the wedding, he will be committing bigamy,” he said.

“The day has been the best day ever. It has recognised the rights of the African woman. The licence has been cancelled so it means the wedding cannot go over under the impediment law. The law of impediment says that there is customary union between Locardia and Tsvangirai,” said Samukange.

Asked why he was pushing for the premier’s arrest, Samukange said no one was above the law.

“It is the law which wants the Prime Minister arrested for bigamy. Bigamy says the Prime Minister cannot marry since he is already married to Karimatsenga,” he said.

Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Innocent Chagonda said after the ruling: “We just have to make a decision on how we will deal with it. The ruling is clear to all.”

Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was also representing Tsvangirai, said they will file an urgent application in the High Court against the magistrate’s ruling. They hoped the case would be heard before the wedding tomorrow.

“We are going to file an urgent chamber application before the wedding tomorrow,” said Mpofu.

Tsvangirai’s soap opera has enthralled Zimbabweans but is now attracting a worldwide audience with new plots involving alleged dalliances with more women in what the PM says is a State security plot to hurt his poll chances.

It is quality drama and many new characters entered the plot this week. Tsvangirai insists it is all part of a grand political scheme to besmirch, to malign and to soil his image for political gain. - Ivan Zhakata

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