Tsvangirai wedding: Premier walking political minefield

JUST when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai thought he had rode out of the ferocious Lorcadia Karimatsenga Tembo storm after the High Court gave him a reprieve on Wednesday, yet another woman, Nosipho Regina Shilubane (pictured) from South Africa yesterday filed an urgent application at the Harare Magistrates’ Court in another bid to stop his wedding to Elizabeth Macheka tomorrow.

Report by Brian Chitemba/Wongai Zhangazha
Judgment was reserved to today — just 24 hours before the wedding — putting Tsvangirai on tenterhooks. The premier has been walking on a minefield, getting caught up in a series of damaging sex scandals with different women locally and outside the country.
Tsvangirai’s lawyer Innocent Chagonda could not immediately comment on the saga which has intelligence fingerprints and hallmarks of a sting operation all over it. Shilubane (35) through her lawyers Manase & Manase Legal Practitioners, yesterday pulled another shocker as she objected to Tsvangirai’s exchange of vows with Macheka, saying she was astounded to learn about the union as the premier  had also promised to walk with her down the aisle.
In her court papers, Shilubane gave salacious details of how she gallivanted and romped with the Tsvangira in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Seychelles and Singapore.
For good measure, she also attached photos of her in purported amorous company of the prime minister, frolicking on pleasant Seychelles beaches with a relaxed Tsvangirai clad in blue shorts with a matching beach shirt.
Shilubane said she was “very much” in love with Tsvangirai and wanted him to “finish issues with me, that is his proposal of marriage”.
According to the papers, Shilubane was introduced to Tsvangirai on September 5 2009 in Johannesburg at the Monte Casino shopping complex by her pastor Lazarus Muriritirwa from the Gospel Assembly Church.
“He said there was a friend of his who wanted to meet me. I only got to know it was Tsvangirai when I went with his pastor to his hotel room in Pallazio Hotel in Fourways, in the Monte Casino Mall. When we were introduced at his hotel room, he asked his pastor and his son Edwin Tsvangirai who were present on the day to give us some privacy and we remained the two of us in the hotel room,” reads Shilubane’s affidavit.
Tsvangirai then allegedly told her he was a widower looking for a new bride to marry and had approached the pastor to find a suitable woman for him, triggering a chain of events and loves scenes.
Shilubane’s claims add fuel to an already burning fire as Tsvangirai has been linked to a string of women since the death of his wife Susan in March 2009, including Bulawayo businesswoman Aquillina Pamberi, Loretta Nyathi, US-based Zimbabwean doctor Arikana Chihombori and his late wife’s sister Leah Mhundwa, among others.
Shilubane said: “He told me that he wanted to start a relationship with me and that I could go home and think about it and if I was willing and interested I could return the next day and we would talk. He said he had other things to do since it was son’s birthday and he was having a party for him.”
Before he left, Tsvangirai gave her his business card with his name and details and “the number at the time was 0027718972979 although he subsequently changed his numbers numerous times thereafter, inclusive of the following numbers 00263772383532 and 00263772383593,” she said.
According to Shilubane, Tsvangirai phoned the following day and asked her if she had been to Zimbabwe, to which he replied she had only visited the country for a church conference.
“He said he wanted me to come to Zimbabwe. I agreed that I wanted to date him and I would like to see him and visit Zimbabwe. So he bought me an aeroplane ticket and that was on the September 18, 2009 via British Airways.”
“I stayed at my pastor’s house in Borrowdale and he would come after work to see me. I stayed in Zimbabwe from September 18 2009 to September 20 2009. We made love for the first time on Saturday September 19 2009 at the pastor’s house in Borrowdale (and) I returned to South Africa on the September 20 2009,” she said.
Shilubane said after her first visit to Zimbabwe she returned to South Africa and Tsvangirai phoned her and asked her where she was staying, to which she told him Yeoville in Johannesburg, down the notorious Hillbrow full of Zimbabweans and other foreigners.
“He expressed disgust and shock and he said: ‘How can you stay in that hellhole; you need to get a nicer place in a nice location where I can come and see you in uptown area. I looked for a place and I found a town house in a place called Buccleuch in Johannesburg North near Sandton at No 53 Northfields, Fife Street Buccleuch.”
“R(rands) 13 000 were (sic) deposited into my Standard Bank account No 026640473 by Morgan, I paid for the place and moved into the new place at the end of November 2009,” she said.
The romance blossomed, Shilubane said, as they communicated daily on her mobile 0027726854436 and in November of 2009 Tsvangirai told her that he wanted to go with her on a holiday.
She said the holiday was from December 28 2009 to January 10 2010 during which they could not take their hands off each other, as “we were intimate throughout the holiday period and we always had unprotected sex all the times as he had asked me to go on family planning medication as he said he did not want to have any more children”.
Shilubane said she continued communicating with Tsvangirai after the holiday everyday and whenever he travelled aboard he would pass by South Africa and “I would go to whichever hotel he would be in and we would be intimate and make love two or three times on each occasion”.
On November 2010 she went on holiday to Gaborone, Botswana, with Tsvangirai   and on December 27 2010 they went for another “love cruise” in Singapore for two weeks until early 2011. Shilubane attached photos of the holiday of the two on a boat called “Legend of the Seas”.
She also claims in January 2011 Tsvangirai said he wanted to be serious with her and “throw me in the kitchen” – local lingo for marrying – after which she introduced him to his two children as her boyfriend.
Tsvangirai would go see her on numerous occasions with his motorcade and sometimes he would even come with South African Police Services motorcade vehicles.
In February 2011, Tsvangirai proposed to marry her, with the wedding ceremony to be held in Zimbabwe, she said.
“I accepted his marriage proposal and I told him he needed to pay lobola as per our Tsonga custom. He promised he would do that and he tasked me to go and speak to my family to arrange a date. Which I did and was set for early January 2012,” she said.
Shilubane said throughout 2011 Tsvangirai would go to South Africa and at times she would see his friends Ian Makone, and his aides Wallace and Edgar Gobvu to whom she would be introduced as his fiancée and future wife.
However, she says Tsvangirai started “acting funny” at some point. “Morgan started acting funny when stories and issues of his numerous women started, first there was a woman called Loreta Nyathi, then Aquilline Pamberi and then Locardia Tembo. Every time I asked him about these stories he would deny them and I always believed his explanations as we were in love and I never thought that Morgan could have such a character as every time he professed undying love for me and he never seemed to be such a chauvinistic man he poses himself to be,” she said.
She said Tsvangirai did not turn up in January 2012 and gave the excuse that he was dealing with government business and reconvened the date to end of December 2012.
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week President Robert Mugabe on Monday during a meeting advised Tsvangirai to carefully handle his private life amid the storm brewed by Karimatsenga. Mugabe is said to have “given notes” to Tsvangirai on how to manage his marital life since he was a high profile figure.
In a press statement released last night by the Prime Minister’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai said the two interdicts to stop his wedding were a clearly “well-choreographed” move “replete with malice and vindictiveness”.
He said his lawyers had opposed both objections to his wedding to Macheka.
“The latest claim, for example, has sought to wrongfully allege that the complainant had engaged with Prime Minister Tsvangirai. This is false. Some of the claims are part of a grand political scheme to besmirch, to malign and to soil the image of the Prime Minister for political gain,” he said.
“Today’s claim was lodged with the newspapers before it was served on the PM’s lawyers and with the magistrates’ court. There are those who have obviously sought to dip political fingers in a social pie.”

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