By Lance Guma
Locadia Tembo, the woman at the centre of the marriage storm with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is alleged to have slept outside his Harare home in Strathaven for 3 days, in an apparent attempt to force him into marrying her.
In line with the Shona custom of ‘kutizira’ a pregnant woman will either go to the man’s house or his relatives and refuse to leave until she is taken into the family, or damages are paid. This could explain why Tsvangirai later sent emissaries to the Tembo homestead last week Monday, to pay a reported US$10,000 in damages.
SW Radio Africa has now been told by sources close to the Prime Minister that “he is battling a major sting operation that is being coordinated by Mugabe’s regime.” Tembo travelled to Buhera at the weekend to meet Tsvangirai’s mother, without the knowledge and consent of the PM who was in South Africa at the time. Tsvangirai was said to be seething with anger about this on Sunday.
Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, who is believed to be Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, pre-empted Tembo’s visit to Buhera by writing about it even before it happened. His article ‘Tsvangirai: Tying the Knot or Knotty Ties’ was posted on Friday evening at 10:19 pm long before Tembo made her trip.
To make matters worse, Tembo was allegedly accompanied by journalists from the state owned media and she posed for pictures outside and inside the house. “Where on earth have you seen a rich woman like that going into a rural home, clutching ‘mutsvairo’ (broom) while clearly posing for pictures,” our source said.
It was further alleged that Tembo distributed cash ‘like confetti at a wedding’ while at the Tsvangirai homestead, much to the delight of some of the PM’s relatives. “This is how the state media journalists were able to do their job, taking pictures etc. Everyone who was travelling with Tembo on the day was treated well,” he said.
The confusion surrounding whether Tsvangirai paid for damages or married Tembo has been covered extensively by the state owned media. “The articles have tended to be a mixture of the truth and outright lies to try and tarnish the image of the Prime Minister,” another senior MDC-T official told SW Radio Africa.
Although Tembo was initially said to be 7 months pregnant, the state owned Sunday Mail newspaper is now quoting family members claiming she is not pregnant. A source who spoke to SW Radio Africa however said Tembo is the one who told the PM she was pregnant and on that basis went to his house in Strathhaven, Harare, refusing to leave.
Several people in the MDC-T pointed accusing fingers at co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone, claiming she was trying to influence Tsvangirai into marrying Tembo, who is her friend. But in an exclusive interview with SW Radio Africa, Makone denied meddling in the PM’s private affairs.
But Makone’s claims were later contradicted by Tembo’s uncle, Isaiah Karimatsenga, who told the Sunday Mail that Makone was present during the entire ‘marriage’ ceremony in Christon Bank last Monday. We also received information that it was actually Makone who bought the groceries taken to the Tembo homestead.
Meanwhile several members from the Karimatsenga family are claiming they will post video footage of the ‘marriage’ ceremony on the video sharing website You Tube, if Tsvangirai’s aides continue denying that he married.
An official in Tsvangirai’s office however told us “they can go ahead, You Tube will not marry Locadia. The PM is the only person who can make that decision.”
Political commentator Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa: “I have indicated before and I will continue to argue that it’s a sting operation. The state media seems to be aware of every move this woman takes. If you look at the details, you can tell there is another hand at play.”
Ruhanya said: “There are those who are naïve, who are saying why are we blaming this woman and not talking about the Prime Minister. But surely we cannot ignore the hand of the state. We cannot continue to blame Tsvangirai because if it was a normal issue, why is the state so interested?” SW Radio Africa
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