HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has rubbished photographs linking him with scantily dressed women after an MDC function in Gweru last weekend, describing any suggestion of impropriety as absolutely ridiculous.
Tsvangirai was photographed seated with an excited harem of smartly dressed ladies in a park in Gweru, some in cleavage-baring tank tops and bum shorts, stirring media frenzy.
The pictures have stirred a public relations nightmare of immeasurable magnitude for the opposition leader.
But he has dismissed reports of impropriety as mischief-making, claiming the ladies asked him to pose for a picture with him.
“Wherever I go in Zimbabwe, supporters ask to have photos taken with me and I have no reason to deny them a photo with their president,” Tsvangirai said yesterday.
“I had photos taken with a lot of people in Gweru over the weekend, including a group of ladies coming from our meeting.”
The charismatic former prime minister said he has posed for pictures with supporters on so many occasions and could not understand why there was scandal over the latest images.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka also said the nation must be more worried about the national picture of despondency and hopelessness among the country’s citizens.
“Tsvangirai’s picture with a group of Zimbabwean ladies after an MDC function in Gweru at the weekend is an unnecessary sideshow!” Tamborinyoka said.
“Tell us about the national picture of gloom!”
Tsvangirai, 63, who had a string of illicit affairs with young women as he searched for a life-long partner after the tragic death of his much-loved wife of 30-plus years Susan, has in the recent past found himself fighting scandals over his private life.
Since 2011, a 23-year-old woman has claimed he fathered a child with her, and another woman said she was pregnant by him.
The stories dented his public image, but he later issued a public apology at the 13th MDC anniversary at White City Stadium in Bulawayo in 2012 for his indiscretions.
In a rare apology from a top political figure in Zimbabwe, he said he was sorry about his flings with several women before he settled for the imposing Elizabeth Macheka.
His peccadilloes with Locardia Karimatsenga, which resulted in a court challenge, could have been enough to dent Tsvangirai’s image for good, but there was an apparent “overkill” when a second woman Nosipho Regina Shilubane also lodged her papers dishing out sensational details of their escapades, a move that earned Tsvangirai a “victim image”, which is a good thing in politics, according to political analysts.
His spin-doctors insist that what we have here is an out-of-control intelligence agency with its own political agenda and vendetta, a blank cheque to spend millions to look into every nook and cranny of Tsvangirai’s public as well as personal life.
You add this to a zealous group of Zanu PF spin doctors and State media fanning the flames and some members who in the midst of all this were suggesting he was not fit for the highest office in the land, his spin-doctors said this was a
blatant and vindictive political case.