MORGAN Tsvangirai is “mentally unstable” and needs urgent “psychological evaluation”, his estranged wife Locardia Karimatsenga sensationally claimed on Friday as she launched a court bid to stop the Prime Minister’s marriage to his new love, Elizabeth Macheka.
Karimatsenga, whose marriage to Tsvangirai lasted 12 days last November before the MDC-T leader publicly announced they were splitting, insists in court papers that their marriage is still subsisting.
She claims in court papers that Tsvangirai “has never said it in my face that he no longer loves me”, while admitting that the 60-year-old stopped all communication with her after she miscarried their baby.
Locardia, who is represented by top lawyer Jonathan Samukange, says Tsvangirai’s decision to get engaged to Elizabeth barely six months after marrying her during a customary ceremony in Mt Darwin points to someone who is unstable.
“My husband, I believe, is still angry with me for the miscarriage (and) could be suffering from a psychological and mental problem as a result,” she said.
“My husband has been looking forward to having a child with me and the issue of the child had bonded us very close and he has not accepted the fact that I have had a miscarriage. The miscarriage has mentally devastated him and he is using me as a scapegoat.
“My husband has not come to terms with this. He is mentally unstable in that he has gone to marry Elizabeth whom he met a few months ago, whom he had not even introduced to his family and his family still considers me as his wife.
“This shows his mental state and that is why I question his mental ability to even engage in this marriage. I believe that he is taking his frustrations of the miscarriage by marrying Macheka. I believe my husband needs psychological evaluation and assistance.”
Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, dismissed the application, claiming it was driven by politics.
“There is absolutely no basis at law for the order sought. The only thing we can think of when looking at the papers, is that it is meant to either politically harass the PM or settle personal issues through abusing the court process,” he said.
In her affidavit, Karimatsenga said the September 15 wedding would effectively deny her “privileges and rights that I have been entitled to as a spouse, such as conjugal rights, love, affection and companionship.”
“If my husband married Elizabeth, it would mean I can no longer have sexual intercourse with him as this would mean I would be committing adultery.”
Karimatsenga says she is customarily married to Tsvangirai – the most common form of marriage in Zimbabwe in which the man pays lobola (bride price) for the woman and is effectively married.
Zimbabwean law recognises three types of marriages – civil, registered customary union and unregistered customary unions.
Unregistered customary unions – the most common in Zimbabwe – are not considered as valid marriages for the purposes of sharing property acquired during the existence of the union, although they are applied in inheritance and guardianship.
The law obliges a man in a customary union to have the marriage registered, with the threat of prosecution for those who fail to comply. But legal experts say there is no record of such prosecutions.
If Tsvangirai marries Elizabeth under the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:11), his new marriage – a civil union under the law – would supersede any other marriage and forbid him from engaging in a romantic relationship with any other woman.
Chagonda said: “The Prime Minister says no to the claims that Karimatsenga is his wife. Even if what she claims is correct, there is no basis for the order sought.
“If such applications are granted, then no-one will ever wed in Zimbabwe. Even girlfriends will stop legitimate weddings.”
Tsvangirai initiated traditional marriage rites with Locardia last November but announced they were splitting within days, claiming state security agents and political rivals had hijacked the intended nuptials to damage his reputation.
By then, Karimatsenga had moved in with Tsvangirai’s mum in rural Buhera to complete the marriage rites. She stayed there for two months before returning to Harare where she claims Tsvangirai leased a pad for her.
Karimatsenga insists Tsvangirai never formally divorced her, adding the MDC-T leader was just upset after she lost their baby through a miscarriage.
She said she still loved Tsvangirai and had no objection to him taking a second wife under customary law.
“I have no objection to him being married in terms of the African Customary Law as Elizabeth is his second wife,” she said.
“That I am prepared to live with and to condone, but I am not prepared to allow my husband to marry her in terms of the Marriages Act Chapter 5:11 and thereby rendering my marriage to him, which still subsists, void.
“I must also point out that I will not give up my right to be my husband’s first wife. I believe I am entitled to protect my interests and rights and I can only do so by coming to this Honourable Court.”
She is seeking an order from the High Court stopping Tsvangirai from marrying Elizabeth; an order directing a Methodist bishop from marrying the couple and an interdict against the Registrar General from issuing the couple with a marriage certificate.
In a separate lawsuit filed Wednesday, Karimatsenga is demanding US$15,000 in monthly spousal maintenance from Tsvangirai, who is known to pay maintenance to Bulawayo woman Loreta Nyathi, with whom he had a child in 2010 – a result of brief fling.