Thursday, March 23, 2023

Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s bed-hopping better come to an end

I am most upset that, with Zimbabwe so burdened with so many bread and butter issues and problems, the attention of the nation has been forced to shift from the country’s pressing issues to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s bedroom politics.

Our attention on national issues and priorities is being shifted while we are made to talk about our bed-hopping Prime Minister whose love life is a soap opera, particularly in Zimbabwe’s state media.

The state media has had a field day with Tsvangirai’s nuptials while ZANU-PF and its wings in government and security agencies spent scarce national resources and time compiling useless romantic escapades of an individual at the expense of the nation.

ZANU-PF is a master at diverting attention from important issues, much as the fallen Archbishop Pius Ncube found out. The reason for that is simple: to divert attention from the disaster that is ZANU-PF.

It is called propaganda, “a form of communication that is aimed at “” “Social influence”influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument”.

All they do is take 1 percent of the truth and wrap it inside folds and folds of lies and, presto, someone is gonna spend a lifetime denying something.

There is no doubt that Tsvangirai is a victim of such propaganda, churned out by ZANU-PF through state media.

As I snooped around for more information about this, I started getting mail from colleagues, commenting on this very issue and I got the impression that many people are not amused by what is happening.

“There is a saying that if you throw enough dirt, some of it is bound to stick. I think we can agree that there have been truck loads heading in Tsvangirai’s direction recently,” said an exiled colleague. ”There is a feeding frenzy taking place in the media being driven by ZANU-PF with lots of other media houses jumping on the band wagon.”

While I agree that propaganda is being churned out against Tsvangirai, I am worried that the old adage of “no smoke without fire” might actually become an albatross around Tsvangirai’s neck.
You see, I am very convinced that it is Tsvangirai himself who is fuelling the propaganda against himself…through his behaviour.

It is exactly three and half years since Mr Tsvangirai lost his wife in that unforgettable car accident in March 2009. But in those three and half years, Mr Tsvangirai has publicly been associated with Arikana Chihombori, a Zimbabwean doctor in the United States who allegedly turned out to be his niece, Loreta Nyathi, a young woman for whose child Tsvangirai pays maintenance in Bulawayo, Leocardia Karimatsenga, who was once reported to be carrying Tsvangirai’s twin babies before miscarrying, South African Nosipho Regina Shilubane and, now, Elizabeth Macheka, the one he married just last week.

On the periphery, also in Tsvangirai’s romantic scandals, is one Aquilina Kayidza Pamberi, again of Bulawayo.

Interestingly, Arikana, Leocardia and Elizabeth have strong ties to ZANU-PF.

Leocardia’s elder sister is a ZANU-PF member of parliament while Elizabeth’s father, with whom I went to secondary school, is a ZANU-PF stalwart, member of the Central Commettee and ZANU-PF’s former mayor of the town of Chitungwiza, just outside Harare.

These are the six prominent ones who received some form of media coverage.

However, if we divide 6 (women) into the three and half years since Mrs Susan Tsvangirai passed away, we find that Tsvangirai, based on these six known women, has since had an average of one different woman every 5 and half months, if he was dating one woman at a time.

And what about those we don’t know?

“We have heard of conspiracy theories here and there but these things are known to happen,” said Zimbabwe’s Women’s Rights activist, Grace Mutandwa. “Yet surely, in the space of a year we have seen so many women that he has gone out with and abandoned. He now thinks that he is entitled to sleep around with women because he has power and money. It is disrespect towards women and he is setting the wrong example to society.”

Last Saturday, Tsvangirai “broke the silence on his love life” and unbelievably tried to justify his flirtation with several women, saying love was like a “human spirit which hovers over many individuals before it finally settles on its chosen medium”.


“Love is like a spirit medium,” Tsvangirai told delegates at his wedding, “it won’t just go and say I am here. It checks on how a person’s heart is, goes to the other and checks if the heart is strong until it settles.”

That’s utter nonsense. Spirit mediums don’t do that.

Spirit mediums don’t come searching; they come directly to their chosen one and make things happen right then, making us all scurry around buying blankets, snuff, beads and spotless chickens to appease them.

Hovering? What an excuse for promiscuous charade!

After denying that he had married Leocardia in a customary union, Tsvangirai now wants to have that “marriage” annulled because Leocardia went to court and stopped Tsvangirai from marrying Elizabeth, embarrassing several heads of state who were on airport tarmacs ready to fly to Zimbabwe. In the end, no head of state showed up, except Swaziland’s Prime minister.

With the marriage licence cancelled, Tsvangirai was forced to marry her bride under the Customary Marriage Act, which permits an unlimited number of wives.

Whatever way we look at it, this is not the behaviour of someone who leads a political party, let alone the nation.

Having “married” Leocardia under customary law (is this what Robert Mugabe meant a few weeks ago about the need to recognise so-called “small houses”?), Mr Tsvangirai wanted to marry Elizabeth under a “one-woman-only” chapter of the law, thereby rendering the customary law wife, Leocardia, a nullity in the eyes of the law without her having been divorced.

It was a sneaky thing to do and I do not believe Tsvangirai’s handlers advise him accordingly.
This is childish, dangerous and stupid.
And where does this leave the nation?

Given the circumstances and timing in Zimbabwe’s history, the last thing the democratic movement needs right now are these types of easily avoided diversions. “It is sabotaging the struggle for democracy at a time when Zimbabwe should be put first and everything else last,” said my colleague.

As the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe national chairperson, Virginia Muwanigwa, said the fiasco playing out is only a miniscule manifestation of the challenges that women in the broader society face on a daily basis in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe has done his part in breaking up marriages by literally taking someone’s wife. Many of his ministers have several wives so Mugabe’s recent call for the recognition of the so-called small houses was tailor-made to placate and cover these practices.

But these men are our leaders. They cannot behave in a manner that we, including our pastors, discourage ourselves and our children from doing.
These politicians are not ordinary people; they set the pace for everyone else.
Muwanigwa rightly points out that this scenario has been brought out because Tsvangirai is a prominent person.

Leaders don’t behave that way.

This incites wrong priorities in the country because, as Muwanigwa says, we need to look at the bigger societal picture of the issues that women have been facing year in and year out, with regard to women’s rights in and out of marriage, dissolution of marriage and so on. These are the very issues that women have been fighting to address.

MDC-T party leaders must congregate and get serious with their president, our prime minister.
And why does Tsvangirai have such an affinity for ZANU-PF women?

Well, I guess it is because Tsvangirai wants to do to the ZANU-PF women what Mugabe has been doing to Zimbabwe…


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