Morgan Tsvangirai's Wedding On Despite Lover's Protest
A former lover of the Zimbabwean prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has filed a high court injunction to block his wedding on Saturday, arguing that she is his wife under the country's "customary marriage" law.
The move by Locardia Karimatsenga, 39, has sparked a frenzy in Harare newspapers, which have plastered their front pages with headlines such as "Tsvangirai wedding war", "Plot against PM intensifies" and "D-day for PM wedding".
Tsvangirai, who lost his first wife a in car crash in 2009, is due to marry his fiancée, Elizabeth Macheka. Having the nuptials blocked would be an embarrassment at a time when the president, Robert Mugabe, is enjoying a surge of popularity ahead of Zimbabwe's next elections, expected next year.
Tsvangirai, 60, had been expected to invite Mugabe and some foreign leaders to the ceremony. "It is embarrassing, plain and simple," a senior official said. "It is an unwanted distraction which we would rather not have."
The prime minister paid lobola, or bride price, reportedly worth $36,000 (£23,000) and 10 cows when initiating marriage with Karimatsenga last year. Twelve days later Tsvangirai announced that the relationship had been irretrievably damaged after it was "hijacked" by political foes and state security agents.
Karimatsenga, said by local newspapers to have a taste for luxury, alleges that she suffered a miscarriage while carrying Tsvangirai's child last year, and that this had "mentally devastated him".
The high court has received another application from Karimatsenga in which she asks for $15,000 from Tsvangirai for her monthly upkeep, including $1,700 for "hair and beauty therapy" and $1,200 for telephone bills.
She is also seeking $3,000 for rent, $4,000 for groceries and $1,500 as a clothing allowance. The court is expected to rule later on Wednesday.