Court cancels Zimbabwe Prime Minister Tsvangirai's weddingBy KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare | Friday, September 14 2012 at 17:23
A Zimbabwe magistrate's court has cancelled Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wedding set for Saturday after his former lover challenged the nuptials on the grounds that they were customarily married.
Ms Lorcadia Karimatsenga Tembo approached the courts to stop the politician from marrying Ms Elizabeth Macheka, 39, at a ceremony in Harare where more than a dozen African leaders had been invited.
She first approached the High Court, which on Thursday ruled that unregistered customary marriages were not recognised, and advised her to seek recourse from the lower courts that had issued Mr Tsvangirai with the marriage licence.
"The magistrate has recognised the customary union is a lawful impediment to Mr Tsvangirai’s plans to enter into a civil union with Ms Macheka," Ms Karimatsenga’s lawyer, Mr Jonathan Samkange, said.
The magistrate, Mr Munamato Mutevedzi, cancelled the licensing, warning that President Robert Mugabe’s rival risked violating bigamy laws if he went ahead with the wedding.
The Prime Minister’s lawyers immediately filed an appeal at the High Court and it was not clear when it would be heard.
However, Mr Mutevedzi dismissed another application by a South African woman, Ms Nosipho Shilubane, who also approached the courts on Thursday claiming that Mr Tsvangirai had promised to marry her.
Ms Shilubane claims she met the Zimbabwean Premier in September 2009, six months after the death of his wife Susan, and he told her that he was a widower looking for a spouse.
She further said that Mr Tsvangirai was due to pay her bride price in January, but the Prime Minister claimed he was held up by government business and would only do so in December.
The magistrate ruled that Ms Shilubane's claims had no merit after the Premier admitted that she was once his girlfriend, but had never promised to marry her.
On Friday, Mr Tsvangirai booked full page advertisements in the press announcing that the wedding would start at 17:00hrs, instead of 14:00hrs as indicated in the invitation cards.
He also invited his supporters to celebrations at a stadium that would have begun at 11am (local time) “until late”.
The flurry of women claiming that Mr Tsvangirai promised to marry them was likely to damage the political career of a man who is viewed as 88-year-old President Mugabe’s successor.
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