'It's okay to have many wives'

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday said there was nothing wrong with local men taking many wives as long as it was done openly, raising questions on where exactly the president stands on polygamy.

In a post-election change of heart, Mugabe told mourners at the burial of polygamist Eric Nyakudya Gwanzura, a veteran politician and liberation war icon, that he believes that polygamy was okay.

In thinly-veiled remarks at the National Heroes’ Acre targeted at his rival Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe said: “Don’t play women as we have seen done by some elements in MDC. If you want them as your wives, just do it, it’s okay.”

Tsvangirai, whose first wife, Susan, died in a car crash in March 2009, was linked with a string of women in the aftermath of his spouse’s death and had to deal with claims that he fathered a child with a 23-year-old Bulawayo woman.

But the father of six finally settled down with the imposing Elizabeth Macheka — daughter of Zanu PF central committee member and former Chitungwiza Mayor Joseph Macheka.

The couple moved into a plush pad in the A-list neighbourhood of Highlands last year ahead of their September 2012 wedding.

Mugabe said he had only learnt of Gwanzura’s polygamist nature at his burial while his son presented a graveside eulogy.

“He fell short of having 20 children as he had 19 and 65 grandchildren,” Mugabe said. “That is the life he chose. I never knew he had three wives, he kept his life private.”

The witty 89-year-old leader chuckled that the family should form their own football team and call it “Gwanzura Special”.

Gwanzura Stadium in Harare’s township Highfield was named after the late national hero, who was instrumental in the stadium’s building.

Critics say Mugabe’s presidency has been filled with  U-turns. Mugabe’s decision yesterday to do a 180 degree about-turn on the issue of polygamy is the latest major reversal by a presidency that has become increasingly adept at making them, usually without batting an eyelid.

At the wedding of his niece Shammah Chidhakwa, who married Nicholas Bhero in Harare in October, Mugabe encouraged the newly-weds to remain faithful to each other and said he had shared the same advice with his ministers whom he expected to lead by example.

“The wealth some of these people have is what is causing problems,”

Mugabe said on October 30. “Small houses, small houses! I said to Cabinet the other day: ‘looking at all of you, who can I say does not have a small house?’

“Let us not follow that. One man, one wife and your marriage will go a long way.”

At the same wedding, Mugabe also criticised women for allowing themselves to be “concubines”.

“The ladies must fight this out, but they are the people in small houses,” he said.

Critics say Mugabe has shown a striking lack of consistency with regard to the question of polygamy.

Speaking at a recent Apostolic pilgrim ahead of elections, Mugabe said: “Our Constitution allows polygamy.
We will not force people into monogamous marriages. It’s there in the Bible; Solomon wasn’t only given wealth but many wives too. But we say no to gays! We will not listen to those advocating for inclusion of
homosexual rights in the Constitution”.

Mugabe has been Zimbabwe’s leader since independence in 1980.

Comments (19)

small houses are not the same as vakadzi vepabarika, so there is no inconsistencies in the President's speeches. pabarika the wives are officially married while small houses are secret relationships

Pepe - 16 December 2013

In our culture a person is allowed to marry many wifes, this is different from having a small house.

Sarkozy Makman - 16 December 2013

Come on, Bob. The country is burning and you have time for trivial talk? Just tackle the challenges and let's see if you are a hero. Your heroic efforts are all in talking and cracking flat and inappropriate jokes. Be known for action, Bob. Zimbabwe has been looking for a leader for the past 33 years. Let the factories be opened, let food be on the tables of common people and our unemployed children must be employed. Surely, that's not too much to ask from our ruler!

Durban Bingudza - 16 December 2013

I am not a Mugabe fan but in tis case there is no inconsistency here. Zimbabwe does allows polygamy if you are married traditionally. Its only when you have married according to the European type wedding that you are expected to follw the European laws of one man one wife.

Zivanai - 16 December 2013

Mugabe dismissed small houses and to me a small house is a girlfriend but if you pay lobola for a woman whether you have already have that woman is not a small house but a wife. So polygamy and small house are 2 different people all together. But the issue of small houses is caused by the stigma of polygamy. During the early biblical times some had many wives and where proud of that now we look at those men with accusatory fingers so they end up having small houses. Polygamy too cannot be blamed for HIV. If i am negative and my wife is negative and I want another woman I must look for one who is negative and if all of us keep stuck to each other where does the question of HIV come from? It is when I start having small houses who I don't control that it enetrs the home, or my wife cheating because in cheating you don't have the time for HIV tests so whether your from a monogamous marriage or a polygamy you can still get HIV positive. We have wives in our offices with rings who play hide and seek sausage with other people but they are not in a polygamous marriage.

Maita Manyuka - 16 December 2013

ITS ALL MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING REALLY!

XX - 16 December 2013

Hey reporter,having a small house and being a polygamist are two distinct things.

Bra 4 - 16 December 2013

why do you allow this old man divert your attention. Its the economy STUPID!

Chatunga - 16 December 2013

Small Houses and Polygamy are not the same MrReporter,after all munhu wemurume chaiye iye wechishona angaita mukadzi one kuti ndiAmai wako here?Anoitwa one ndiAmai nyakubereka,vakadzi murume anoita waanoda,as long as they are traditionally married and open to everybody,no to small houses pliz.

Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 16 December 2013

That's the problem with lying you easily forget your lies. Bob had apparently forgotten that he is a devout Catholic and that Catholics are taught that "one man , one wife".

Durban Bingudza - 16 December 2013

WHY IS MUGABE SO OBSESSED WITH TSWANGIRAI AND THE MDC???? IS HE GUILTY ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HE KNOWS HE DID TO BE WHERE HE IS????

SHIBHOBHO - 16 December 2013

Why is Gumbura in jail? Tell mai mujuru not to bring her personal hatred of polygamy to the executive simply because the General also was polygamous. Stop Chitsinde/mujuru conspiracy and persecution of Gumbura because he is polygamous. The God of polygamy made you president and you will serve your entire term. I cannot say the same for mai mujuru. She has touched the Lord's annointed and therefore will not succeed you in the presidium. To show you are greater than Mandela you will surpass 95 years.

freegumbura - 16 December 2013

Mugabe haana araudhi yekukuudza vanhu anything about their private lives. Akamupa araudhi iyoyo ndiani? He is simply overstepping his mandate as president, if he has it. Our private lives have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the geriatric scum!

Hauna Araudhi - 16 December 2013

His job is to run the country, not to run its citizens. However, I am not really surprised coming as it does from Robert Geriatric Mugabe.

Haiwawo - 16 December 2013

Reminds me of primates from Shanghai Zoo loves to steal the sun glasses. They just look at their face in the reflective glass.

ZhangWei - 16 December 2013

I think it is not OK have many wives it can create a big problem to our family peace and if you are just going to marry a women for sex then you can simply call up a beautiful escort which are available now days in each and every corner of the world for example you can visit www.pimpurcity.com anytime this type of service.

Matthew trott - 17 December 2013

I personally listened to Mugabe on TV. This reporter is liar. Please ZTV replay it for everyone to hear for themselves. It is all twisted for his writing benefits.

piripiri - 17 December 2013

So what? zvinei nesu zvemahure and small houses? fix the declining economy old man

Mafikezolo - 17 December 2013

VIB

T Keta - 20 December 2013

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.