Morgan Tsvangirai's love exploits laid bare
ZIMBABWEAN Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's 12-day marriage has cast the spotlight on his private life - with a list of women with whom he has allegedly had relationships crawling out of the woodwork.
Up until this week, Tsvangirai was married to Harare businesswoman Locadia Karimatsenga, who is pregnant with twins.
And details of other alleged relationships he has had since the death of his wife Susan in 2009, emerged in the local media. Some of the women were married while others are alleged to have borne his children.
Tsvangirai was first linked to a US-based doctor, Arikana Chihombori, with whom he was seen at President Jacob Zuma's inauguration. Afterwards, news of his relationship with Karimatsenga surfaced.
He was then linked to a married woman, Aquilina Pamberi, whose husband said in court papers Tsvangirai was responsible for their break-up. It was then rumoured that he had a child with Lerato Nyathi while The Herald newspaper claimed Elizabeth Guma was dating him too.
News of Tsvangirai's exploits - which he has consistently denied - have been followed closely in Zimbabwe. "He is a man just like anyone in power. People with money and power love women," said John Nyahuma, a student. "It's unfortunate that it came out like this."
Tsvangirai has not denied his affair with Karimatsenga but has blamed the Central Intelligence Organisation, which is working at the behest of Zanu-PF to discredit him.
His spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, said: "The PM was not involved with any of those women. They are being maliciously linked to him to tarnish his political image."
The scandal was likely to become election campaign fodder for Zanu-PF, according to political analyst Samuel Lunga. "Jokes on the prime minister will start flying and questions on his ability will be raised. But at times the masses tend to side with the victim, which Tsvangirai is at the moment."
On his short marriage, Tsvangirai said in a statement: "The 'marriage' has been hijacked and there is an apparent active political hand now driving the processes. State security agents have also weighed in to force and direct proceedings which has resulted in everything regarding this relationship now taking place in camera."
But her family have hit back. Spokesman, Simba Shopera, told the Sunday Times: "We didn't invite Tsvangirai to come and marry our daughter. He came alone and we are wondering why he is not telling the truth."
Another relative said: "We will not allow our daughter to be used and dumped just like that. What he has done to the other women won't happen here. There will be blood on the floor."
Karimatsenga's close friend warned Tsvangirai "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. He must watch out.''