HARARE – As the clock ticks towards make-or-break elections next year, the governing party is pulling everything out of its bag of tricks, including attempts to destabilise MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s five-year-old marriage to Elizabeth Macheka in the hope of weakening the former trade unionist’s presidential election bid.
By Fungi Kwaramba
The Daily News can report that Tsvangirai’s wife, Elizabeth, has been under the microscopic lenses of State agents prying into her activities in a bid to extract dirt they could use to sidetrack the MDC leader who, despite his troubling health, remains President Robert Mugabe’s strongest challenger at the forthcoming polls.
This week, there was hype around Elizabeth’s trip to Sydney, Australia, amid suspicions in government circles that she could have abandoned her ailing husband in South Africa or that the mother of two could still be seeing one of her ex-husbands.
Tsvangirai wed Elizabeth (nee Macheka) in September 2012. Before her marriage to the former prime minister, Elizabeth bore two daughters from her previous marriages –Rumbidzaishe Sharon Guma and Tashinga Ngirazi.
Elizabeth and her daughters flew to Sydney and are expected back on October 5 via Emirates flight EK713.
Just before flying out, Elizabeth’s ex-husband Kennedy Ngirazi reportedly called a National Handling Services check-in agent to help her with her luggage saying she was running late. This fuelled speculation Tsvangirai’s wife, who checked in as Elizabeth Guma at the Harare International Airport, could have been joined by one of her ex-husband in Australia.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Ngirazi said he was not involved in Elizabeth’s travel.
“People say stupid things; people should not include me in their fights. Vanhu varikuda nyaya pasina, hapana nyaya mdara. (People just like to gossip even when there is no story). Why should I sponsor their trips? Don’t they have their own resources?” said Ngirazi.
Tsvangirai, speaking through his spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, yesterday said Elizabeth was in Australia to attend the graduation ceremony of her daughter Rumbidzai.
Rumbidzaishe Sharon will receive her bachelor’s degree in Commerce today from the prestigious University of Newcastle.
Tsvangirai could not travel with his wife to Australia because he had been told by doctors to avoid stress and strain until he fully recovers.
The former Prime Minister allowed his wife to travel with her two children, as he recuperates in South Africa.
He is now out of hospital after being airlifted from Harare two weeks ago following the sudden onset of severe vomiting.
Tsvangirai has been receiving treatment for colon cancer in the neighbouring country since last year.
Tamborinyoka said: “Mrs Tsvangirai, who will rejoin her husband in South Africa soon, is currently in Australia for the graduation of her daughter, Rumbidzaishe Sharon, who was a student at the University of Newcastle.
“Rumbi will be graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the graduation ceremony set for tomorrow. Mrs Tsvangirai’s daughter will now proceed to do two Masters’ Degree programmes, a Master’s in Business Administration and another Master’s in Applied Finance.
“Mrs Tsvangirai went to Australia with no one else but her two other children, Mutsa and Tashinga and they will constitute the three guests per student required by the university for tomorrow’s graduation ceremony.
“We know why and by whom Mrs Tsvangirai is being fought, especially at such a time when she is standing by her husband, our dear president Tsvangirai, who remains the only source of hope for the despondent people of Zimbabwe.”
He also rubbished claims that Ngirazi accompanied Elizabeth to Australia.
“For the record, Mr Ngirazi did not go to Australia but filed an affidavit in Harare for his child Tashinga who is under 18 years of age and who would need such an affidavit in line with Australian regulations.
“One can tell from the loud and sonorous insinuations around this sordid story of yours that there is an ill-wish for the president’s marriage.
“It is not by coincidence that this is happening at a time when the hope of Zimbabwe, president Tsvangirai, is depending on his wife for moral support ever since he went public that he is suffering from cancer of the colon,” Tamborinyoka said.
According to Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai, who has been in South Africa since a fortnight ago when he was airlifted to South Africa, is not concerned about this sideshow.
“Rest assured, Tsvangirai remains unperturbed by all this. The people’s president is keeping his eyes on the ball – and the ball is the 2018 elections and the respite that those elections must provide to the suffering people of Zimbabwe,” said Tamborinyoka.
In 2013, the State media claimed that Tsvangirai’s wife was still seeing Ngirazi, a few months after she had wed the former trade unionist, and even published e-mail exchanges between Elizabeth and Ngirazi, who is the father of one of her daughters she took to Australia.
According to the State media, on January 21, 2013, at 1801hrs, Elizabeth emailed Ngirazi: “Baba Tashinga — What you did on Friday reminds me exactly how you used to treat me, how you used to hurt me, how you used to break my heart. Still I would patiently wait for you, until that day I just decide to give up on us… no stress, it’s just a reminder.”
She also allegedly wrote a few days later: “Why ndisingaitwewo good morning, good night. Ndakatsamwa. Asi you are still deciding? Or you haven’t made up your mind. Asi mune confusion. Kasikai ku maker decision Mrehwa.”
And Ngirazi reportedly replied: “I love you always.”
Another excerpt of Ngirazi’s alleged e-mail that was published read: “Good afternoon my love. You know very well you are always on my mind. Hapana chekumbo decider. My quietness does not mean I’ve forgotten about you but it’s to keep you safe. You are too delicate to mess up. I love you always.”
The State media did not disclose how it obtained the emails, amid claims Elizabeth and her ex-husband were victims of a State-led cyber-security attack that went unnoticed for months.
The former prime minister’s wedding was dogged by court cases which denied him permission to marry widow Macheka, now 40, in either a civil or traditional “customary” ceremony.
A customary ceremony went ahead regardless in front of hundreds of his supporters and was blessed by a Catholic priest.
Tsvangirai’s first wife, Susan, died in a car crash in 2009 shortly after Zimbabwe’s inclusive government was sworn into power.
Ahead of the wedding, businesswomen Locadia Karimatsenga had applied to the Magistrate’s Court to have Tsvangirai’s August 27, 2012 marriage license cancelled.
She claimed that Tsvangirai, 65, paid a bride price to her relatives in 2011 and that she was pregnant with his child, but later miscarried.
After his wedding, Tsvangirai – facing a public relations nightmare of immeasurable magnitude – tendered a rare apology from a top political figure in Zimbabwe, saying he was sorry about his flings with several women before he settled for the imposing Macheka.
He had been accused of being in sexual relationships with a South African woman Nosipho Regina Shilubane and another Bulawayo woman Loreta Nyathi.
Tsvangirai has also described as “hogwash” claims carried in the State media last month that he fathered a child with a Bulawayo woman, adding that there is a plot to tarnish his image as the country hurtles towards the 2018 elections.
This comes after the State media reported that Tsvangirai allegedly impregnated a Bulawayo woman, Nobuhle Marylin Ndiweni, 36, who is said to have given birth to a baby boy at Mater Dei Hospital last month.
But speaking to the Daily News through his spokesperson Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai rubbished the claims.
“I will not dignify hogwash. We are going to see more of this hogwash ahead of the 2018 elections. The agenda is very clear; they want to dent the brand Morgan.
“We have a grand coalition to focus on, not this nonsense. If you check the story, the woman allegedly involved is also shocked,” Tamborinyoka said. – Daily News