Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s ex-lover Lorcadia Karimatsenga-Tembo has agreed to negotiate an out-of-court settlement in the maintenance dispute that had threatened to dent the Premier’s political standing.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON SENIOR COURT REPORTER
Karimatsenga was claiming $15 000 per month for her upkeep from Tsvangirai after the two fell out with each other following the PM’s decision to settle for Elizabeth Macheka as his wife.
Yesterday, Tsvangirai, through his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, pleaded with provincial magistrate Reuben Mukavi for more time to pursue amicable means to resolve the maintenance impasse with Karimatsenga.
“We have been talking to each other as counsels and we believe we owe it to the profession, the court and to the generality of Zimbabweans that we settle this matter. We have been able to talk to each other and we believe there are ways of settling this issue that will not involve the court,” Mpofu said.
The matter, which was initially set down for hearing yesterday morning at 9am in open court, was later adjourned for two hours after Tsvangirai’s lawyer sought the court’s indulgence to briefly communicate with Karimatsenga’s lawyer. When proceedings started at 11:20am, Mpofu again requested the court to have the matter heard in the magistrate’s chambers without giving reasons.
“We have agreed that with the indulgence of the court, this matter should be postponed to allow the process we are carrying out to unfold. We both believe we can settle this matter without the involvement of the court,” Mpofu said.
In response, Karimatsenga’s lawyer Everson Samukange confirmed there were out-of-court discussions between his client and Tsvangirai for a settlement without the involvement of the courts.
“We do not expect to fail. The respondent has approached us and we think it is possible for us to settle it. We are looking at October 18. That is what we have agreed,” Samukange said. The out-of-court settlement negotiations come barely two weeks after Tsvangirai applied for dismissal of his ex-lover’s maintenance application, arguing it had not complied with court rules.
Magistrate Mukavi, however, dismissed Tsvangirai’s application and ordered the matter to proceed.
Karimatsenga was confirmed Tsvangirai’s customary wife by the courts in a week-long court battle after she thwarted Tsvangirai’s intention to wed Macheka in September.
Her objection was upheld by the High Court after the magistrates’ court cancelled the Premier’s marriage licence.
Karimatsenga is reported to have claimed she did not have problems with Tsvangirai taking a second wife as long she was recognised as the first wife in terms of customary law.