PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court to lift his marriage ban imposed by a magistrate and confirmed by a High Court judge last week.
Tsvangirai had planned to marry his fiancé, Elizabeth Macheka, last Saturday but a magistrate cancelled a marriage certificate earlier issued to him after ruling that the MDC-T leader was still married to a second woman, Locardia Karimatsenga.
Tsvangirai went ahead with a largely symbolic wedding ceremony and exchanged vows with Macheka under customary rites.
Now his lawyers have filed an appeal at the Supreme Court as he seeks to force through his civil marriage.
Tsvangirai argues that magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi’s finding that he was in a customary union with Karimatsenga was legally unsound, and High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu erred in confirming that judgement which “legitimised the magistrate’s failure to conduct an inquiry as mandated by law and as required by the facts of the matter.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Tsvangirai sent emissaries to Karimatsenga’s residence to seek to end the marriage and pay gupuro – a token usually in the form of a coin – but were denied the opportunity. It is claimed she locked herself indoors.
Karimatsenga’s legal team is pressing ahead with her maintenance case which is set for hearing this Friday. She is demanding $15,000 monthly from the Prime Minister.
The lawyers are also contemplating approaching the Attorney General seeking the Prime Minister’s arrest for lying under oath in denying ever marrying Karimatsenga during a traditional ceremony in Mt Darwin last November.
Meanwhile, Catholic priest Father Patrick Makaka has claimed Tsvangirai withheld information from him about the status of his relationship with Karimatsenga before he presided over their show wedding ceremony last Saturday.
Tsvangirai had not revealed that he paid lobola for Karimatsenga. Polygamy is against Catholic doctrine.
“I didn’t have that information about lobola. He had always told me that he was finished with Locardia,” the priest said.
“I wouldn’t say I was misled, but yes I was not aware that there was lobola paid. He said he paid damage, so he was through with Locardia.”
Father Makaka said he did not have regrets about officiating at the ceremony because he “did it in good faith”.
He said the reason for his involvement was that Elizabeth was a member of his parish.
“I have a Roman Catholic Church baptism certificate for Tsvangirai from Mutero Mission in Gutu and Elizabeth is one of my parishioners here.
“When these court cases started, all these arrangements had been done. We asked how deep this involvement was and we only heard that he had paid damage.”
He, however, said he would marry the couple once the legal hurdles the PM is dealing with were concluded.
“I am still waiting, until the dust has been cleared, we can legalise the union.”