TOMORROW is supposed to be Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s biggest day since he lost his first wife Susan in a car accident in 2009, as he weds new spouse Elizabeth Macheka, but it now appears it might also be a day of political reckoning.
Instead of it being a day of popping champagne corks, celebrating life and enjoying with family, friends and relatives, it might prove to be a moment when the consequences of the premier’s mistakes or misdeeds catch up with him politically.
After riding out a disorienting storm prompted by his estranged “wife” Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo last week in her bid to stop his wedding to Macheka, Tsvangirai yesterday found himself in the middle of another sex scandal.
A South African woman, Nosipho Regina Shilubane, popped up from out of the blue, claiming she had also been promised marriage by the prime minister, hence his wedding to Macheka must be stopped until the air has been cleared.
Even without Tembo’s dramatic bid to stop the marriage to Macheka, Tsvangirai’s wedding was still going to be scandal-ridden, given how he was last year involved in a public row with the woman he “married” for just about a fortnight before dumping her, citing all sorts of grounds including shadowy interferences.
Quite apart from that, Macheka is the daughter of Zanu PF central committee member and former Chitungwiza mayor Joseph Macheka.
This has provoked controversy in certain circles.
Interestingly, Tembo was also coming from a Zanu PF-linked family, amid fears Tsvangirai would be compromised politically, right from his bedroom to the office where he is reportedly swarmed by teeming state agents in one form or another.
To make matters worse, Tsvangirai has since the death of Susan been linked to a harem of other women, including Arikana Chihombori, Aquilina Kayidza Pamberi, Leah Mhundwa and Loretta Nyathi, among others.
And all of sudden Shilubane emerged from the woodwork yesterday –– just 48 hours before the wedding!
There are many compelling issues of public interest which arise out of this saga: Tsvangirai’s personality, his temperament and judgement; not to mention his ability to organise himself and run his life.
So who is behind this Hollywood-style drama? There are also career-related issues at stake, including public trust, opinion, voters and elections, and ultimately the question: is he fit to govern?
It is quite possible –– in fact it is as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer –– that there are some dark forces behind this spectacle. Spooky forces are almost certainly pulling the strings behind this tragi-comedy.
Intelligence services are almost unquestionably involved. There is a script behind the theatre. “Honey traps” and sting operations have been used since time immemorial by intelligence operatives.
However, this argument is not sustainable because it wholly ignores the issue of Tsvangirai’s character and judgement.
It also presupposes he was not an active participant in all these affairs. Yet it is clear he has been involved by choice.
One is tempted to empathise with Tsvangirai.
He is largely a good guy but has serious limitations as a politician and leader. Of course, politicians in general are associated with dirty politics: political scandals involving power, sex and money –– and yes, lies.
Sex scandals can be destructive. In some cases, these scandals are so damaging, they can destroy careers, or even bring down governments.
They have brought down powerful politicians, movie actors, football stars and musicians all over the world. This is obviously something of an oversimplification: every politician’s scandal is different, and no one overarching theory can explain exactly how each plays out.
Indeed, some politicians have had their careers ended by such incidents as Tsvangirai is facing, while others have survived, and even gone on to become more popular than before.
Some find that voters are more forgiving than we expect, while others have been able to convince the public their accusers are politically motivated and have sinister agendas.
At the same time, some stories are simply too devastating to survive. But there are some contexts that determine whether a damaging event becomes politically fatal.
That said, the question here is: Will Tsvangirai survive this series of salacious sex scandals? If he does, is he fit to govern?