After a lot of speculation and rumour-mongering bordering on scandalising him, it is very much in order to congratulate the Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, for the formal declaration of love and marriage to Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo.
We do not wish to dwell on the monumental bungling of the PM’s advisers who thought, for reasons only known to them, that Luke Tamborinyoka should not be privy to this momentous occasion in the Prime Minister’s life – unfairly making him a shameless liar at the end of the day.
This matter requires to be dealt with separately. Tamborinyoka must be very embarrassed and angry. Whoever advised Tsvangirai to sneak to the marriage ceremony made a big fool of his spokesperson who yesterday had to deal with the swearing he had done to the media — that believing such a thing (marriage) happened would be “like believing Nelson Mandela had turned 12” or that “Jonathan Moyo is a white man”.
That aside, we must congratulate the new couple. Tsvangirai, who lost his first wife in a tragic accident in June 2009, paid lobola/roora to his in-laws on Monday afternoon and reportedly asked for and was granted, as per custom, a wedding which could be as soon as next month.
They may have appeared in public together already, but it can only be now that Locadia would be viewed and judged in public as the Prime Minister’s wife. It means the ball game has changed for her and for Tsvangirai as well.
There continues to be debate on whether or not wives of politicians should be involved in their husbands’ politics, and if so, how and to what extent.
What is not in doubt is that wife-involvement in a politician’s activities promotes the sense of gender equality — that wives are not merely showpieces in the presidents’ or prime ministers’ drawing rooms, but are involved every step of the way.
An election is, therefore, more realistically won by the couple and not singlehandedly by the Prime Minister.
What Locadia and Morgan must know is that they — together — are now responsible for the political success or failure of the party called the MDC-T or that of Tsvangirai in his quest for the Presidency of this country.
Never before have party leaders relied on their spouses to win an election!
It would be shameful for a candidate running for President to go it alone and confine his wife to the background. The reality is that both Tsvangirai and Tembo are adults fighting for the occupancy of State House.
Not that we wish to compare them, but everyone remembers the late Susan Tsvangirai and the hopes are that Locadia will come in as the right substitute or, having been more prepared for public life, better able to steer Tsvangirai through the political storm that beckons ahead.