The woman at the centre of an alleged affair with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Aquilina Kayidza Pamberi, acknowledged having met the Premier at a graduation party for Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, but denied the MDC-T president ever made any advances.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay yesterday in the presence of her lawyer, Nomsa Ncube, Pamberi poured cold water on the claims saying the allegations were meant to tarnish the image of the MDC-T president.
Pamberi is divorcing her husband of 12 years, Jacob Mandeya, citing violence as the major cause of the marriage breakdown.
Media reports on Saturday alleged that the disquiet in Pamberi’s marriage had been because “Mandeya is convinced that Pamberi is seeing Tsvangirai whom she reportedly met at a gathering in the city sometime in 2009”.
The reports came in the wake of the couple’s appearance before Bulawayo magistrate Rosemary Dube for a protection order hearing.
Pamberi yesterday said no mention of Tsvangirai was made in court.
She said the breakdown of her rocky customary marriage to Mandeya had no link to Tsvangirai, but attributed her marital problems to violence within the union.
She said the court appearance was merely for the granting of a protection order against her husband following the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
“My former husband did not even object to the protection order. Never at any time did he raise the issue of Tsvangirai during the court proceedings. He was only asked by his lawyer after the court session whether I had any links to MDC-T, to which he said he knew me as an ordinary supporter of the party and nothing else,” Pamberi said.
She said she met Tsvangirai at a party to celebrate Deputy Prime Minister Khupe’s graduation.
Khupe obtained a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the National University of Science and Technology in December 2009.
“The Prime Minister was the guest of honour at the party and he addressed us and afterwards we went to greet him. I greeted him like any other party member so I do not know where the allegations of the affair are coming from,” Pamberi said.
“In any case I had already moved out of our matrimonial home when the party was held because of problems that often degenerated into violence. I moved out of the house for three months until Mandeya promised that he would change. Unless the newspapers are suggesting that there were 15 months in that year,” Pamberi said.
“Never at one time has Mandeya accused me of having an affair with Tsvangirai. He did not mention it in court or anywhere so it boggles me where the sources that are attributed got all this information.”
Pamberi went on to call “Mandeya” and put him on speaker phone in front of the Newsday crew and her lawyer. He distanced himself from the allegations during the telephone conversation.
“I do not know where that came from. You know I never said such a thing,” Mandeya could be heard saying on the phone.
Pamberi said she was taking legal action against the two publications.
“I am taking legal action because I feel violated by these falsehoods. I have been used to tarnish the name of Tsvangirai through falsehoods,” she said.
Her lawyer also confirmed that they were taking legal action against the two publications.
“That is why she is here. It is all a smear campaign,” Pamberi’s lawyer said.
It never rains but pours for Tsvangirai.
Last year, he was accused of having an affair with Harare businesswoman Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo, a 38-year-old wealthy commodity broker.
The two were spotted attending a church congregation in the capital graced by US televangelist Joyce Meyer.
But his office denied the allegations.
The Premier was yet again linked to his late wife’s sister Leah Mhundwa, the caretaker mother for his six children. His office again denied the alleged love affair.
Eyebrows were also raised and speculation swirled that he had found a new love in Dr Akirana Chihombori when the two appeared together at South African President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration in 2009.
Again his office denied the two were seeing each other saying she was his niece.