Several MDC-T officials yesterday said the party was increasingly getting unsettled by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s deafening silence over his alleged “marriage” and said unless their “morally embattled” leader came clean without further delay, the party’s image could suffer irreparable damage.
The Prime Minister — who was said to be out of the country as of yesterday — was expected to speak out on the issue of his “marriage” to Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo upon his return, officials who preferred anonymity said.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora, however, said in an interview yesterday the hullaballoo over the PM’s marital status was unjustified. He said the party was treating the matter as “a purely private issue”.
Mwonzora said: “We are treating this as a purely private issue. We believe that the people involved, the president (Tsvangirai) and the lady, really deserve privacy and we are content with the fact that when the right time comes, an announcement will be made. We don’t think the hullaballoo is justified,” said Mwonzora.
“We noticed as a party that none of the people who are supposed to have been married have said anything about the issue, so we await the official announcement,” he said.
“We had a routine caucus meeting (last week). It was not called to discuss that issue and the president assured us that he would make an announcement when the time comes,” said Mwonzora.
The Tsvangirai-Tembo saga has reportedly divided the MDC-T amid reports knives were out for the party’s women assembly boss, Theresa Makone, who is accused of overly influencing the PM.
The MDC-T officials yesterday said even the Premier’s relatives were not amused by the manner the matter was being handled, particularly Makone’s alleged involvement.
They accused her of harbouring a sinister motive.
Makone is the Home Affairs co-minister and her husband Ian is Tsvangirai’s adviser and close confidant.
A high-ranking party official said Tsvangirai fell for a Makone trap and “scored”. People like Makone, the official said, “should be kept away from the Premier”.
“I am told she was there and is said to have bought groceries.
I was surprised when I heard about that and many in the party now believe the PM fell for the trap. There is chaos now in the party because of her involvement in the whole matter.”
Makone’s phone went unanswered yesterday, but SW Radio Africa quoted her explaining her close links to Tsvangirai.
“You know, I think it is a problem of proximity,” she said.
“There is no question that I was Susan Tsvangirai’s best friend and that I have paid for with my political life.
“People have got this natural hatred — I don’t know if you can call it hatred or jealousy — of anyone who happens to get close to a leader, any leader I think in the world and it just happens that Susan and I had something in common.
“So people can write and say what they like. They can say that we influenced the Prime Minister — well, if we influenced the Prime Minister, then it follows that he influences us.
“So if he is influencing Ian and I to live the kind of life that we do as husband and wife, then he is doing a good job. So what are we doing interfering with his life so that it ends up in the public domain?
I want people to understand that even in a close relationship there are boundaries, there are areas where you don’t go into each other’s lives and who he (Tsvangirai) marries is his business.
“If he introduces me to the person that he has married or he wants to marry or that he will marry, that will be my privilege, but so far he has not done that and I don’t want to even go there because he has not broached the subject with me.”