Tsvangirai circumvents court order, marries under customary law

The wedding of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was due to proceed Saturday under customary laws, a day after a court cancelled his marriage licence.

"The prime minister will have a customary union wedding which is different from the one that was denied by the courts," a senior officer from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party told AFP.

Tsvangirai (60) dressed in a black suit and his bride Elizabeth Macheka (35) in a white wedding gown, arrived minutes apart at a plush outdoor wedding venue in the capital Harare where hundreds of guests gathered.

The prime minister had originally planned his marriage under monogamous laws. That was before his ex-lover Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo stormed the courts seeking to stop it, claiming she was still married to him under customary laws.

A magistrate court granted her the order.

But Tsvangirai decided to circumvent the order by staging the wedding under the country's customary law which allows a man to have as many wives as he wants.

Tsvangirai's earlier urgent appeal to the high court to overturn the magistrate's ruling was dismissed early Saturday.

He ended his union with Tembo last year, saying the relationship had been "irretrievably damaged" to the point where marriage had become "inconceivable".

The magistrate court on Thursday dismissed a similar case by a South African woman who claimed the premier promised to marry her.

Macheka is the daughter of a senior member of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Tsvangirai's first wife of 31 years, Susan, was killed in a car accident in March 2009, just weeks after he went into a unity government with his long-time rival Mugabe following failed elections in 2008. – Sapa

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Sapa Afp
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