Discretion better part of valour

HARARE - Prime minister Morgan Tvangirai’s woes over his very busy love life and subsequent bungled  attempt to make one his lawfully wedded wife seem to go a gear up each time he opens his mouth.

It is doubtful that his attempt to explain himself after what  has been termed his “mock wedding” to Elizabeth Macheka last weekend has done him any favours.

The  PM   was quoted in the press over the past week making utterances in an attempt to justify  the reckless and insensitive manner in which he has conducted himself.

In these cringe-worthy remarks, he likened love to “ a human spirit medium which hovers over many individuals before it finally settles on its chosen medium,” Ouch.  

Zimbabwe does not need a national leader “hovering” over its womenfolk.

This characterisation is a blithe declaration by Tsvangirai  that he had every right to bed as many women as  he wished  before choosing one to settle with. In other words, use them and leave them.

“Love is like a spirit medium, it just won’t go away. It checks on how a person’s heart is, goes to the other and checks if the heart is strong until it settles”, he said.

From all evidence available, it is clear  that all he was interested in  was one thingand it was not the heart!

Tsvangirai’s attempted explanation is  all wrong and misses the point altogether.

Nobody has said the PM was not entitled to find a woman to settle down with. Like the chaotic and ruinous land reform programme undertaken by the Zanu PF government, what is at issue is how Tsvangirai executed his intentions.

The MDC leader did not become a single man as a result of a divorce or after being deserted by an unworthy partner.

He was a widower who lost his wife Susan in that horrendous road accident that shocked the whole nation.
It was unbecoming as though he was free at last to sow his wild oats.

He should have been careful to avoid offending various sensibilities, not least those of the millions of  Zimbabweans who spontaneously mourned with him when he lost his wife.

The PM should have taken the sensibilities of his children and his late wife’s family into account before embarking on the frenzied bed-hopping that has come to light.

Courtship and marriage after a bereavement should be conducted in a sensitive manner that does not trivialise the memory of the deceased spouse.

It is said that discretion is the better part of valour and the PM would have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had learnt this lesson.

But instead of an unobtrusive and low-key approach, Tsvangirai chose to behave like Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati, who can force his amorous attentions on any young virgin he chooses.

But at least Mswati and South African president Jacob Zuma, marry the women and practise polygamy openly.

Tsvangirai would have spared himself and the nation the excruciating embarrassment of his careless conduct if he had emulated people like former South African president Nelson Mandela and members of the British royal family who have married for the second time.

They all recognised that these subsequent nuptials were taking place in changed circumstances and needed to be scaled down affairs.

Following his divorce from Winnie on the grounds of her infidelity while he was incarcerated, Mandela could have thrown caution to the wind and played the field.
But his courtship with Graca Machel was discreet.

He could have drawn the whole world to South Africa for a showy and lavish wedding but the couple married quietly.

Likewise, when the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, married for the second time in 2005, his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles was a subdued affair, a far cry from the pomp and pageantry of his first marriage to Princess Diana and the wedding of their son Prince William last year.

Similarly, when Prince Charles’s sister, Princess Anne married for the second time, her wedding was a small and private affair conducted far away from London.

The point is that in all these examples, cognisance was taken of the circumstances in which the parties were marrying.

Great care was taken not to offend public sentiment.

Zanu PF is often criticised for staging extravagant feasts during its congresses and other occasions while the rest of the people struggle to afford one decent meal per day.

The MDC leader deserves to have the same brickbats thrown at him for planning a lavish, albeit ill-fated wedding amid the economic hardships the masses are experiencing.

This is adding insult to injury after revelations of the large sums of money he has also spent to appease or silence scorned lovers. - Mary Revesai

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