The last two weeks have witnessed media frenzy over Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s private life.
State media claims Tsvangirai paid a handsome US$36 000 as a bride price for his groom, with the marriage set for next month.
But the prime minister’s aides have been quick to dismiss the whole marriage as a sham, arguing that this was an elaborate honey pot plan by state security agents to discredit Tsvangirai.
They argue that he only paid US$10 000 as “damage” for impregnating a woman out of wedlock. Damage is a form of compensation for impregnating out of wedlock, I stand corrected here, but it’s paid for the first pregnancy only.
I will not seek to enter the debate whether he paid a bride price or just damage, but my message is Tsvangirai must gird his loins.
Since the death of his wife two years ago, Tsvangirai has lurched from one sexual controversy to another and that isn’t doing his public image any favours.
Early this year he was embroiled in another sex scandal after it was claimed that he impregnated a 23 year old woman who, because Tsvangirai was no longer funding for her upkeep, was demanding maintenance, threatening to go public.
It is claimed that Tsvangirai made a hasty retreat, paid the young lady, bought her a flat and promised to look after her. But this is not before his aides repeated the all too familiar line that their boss was part of an elaborate scam to discredit him set in motion by state security agents.
Tsvangirai has spoken widely (presumably with a forked tongue) about HIV and Aids but he himself has gone onto to do indulge in unprotected sex with multiple partners. A classic case of our leaders saying one thing and doing another.
Zimbabwe and southern Africa have some of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world and the premier must know better.
The prime minister was again in the news after he was said to be dating a married woman from Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo and her husband was suing for divorce. Denials of the affair flew in left right and centre, but for the discerning mind, a clear pattern was developing.
Again Tsvangirai is at the centre of a storm over another relationship he is said to have wrecked. The prime minister reportedly wrote to one Harare woman informing her that she had a “significant part of his heart”. State media claims that the lady’s boyfriend has used for adultery.
The truth of the said correspondence has not been independently verified. Then there is a woman who lives just outside Harare, the capital, who at some point thought she was the chosen one. She and the premier reportedly have three kids together.
At one time Tsvangirai was reportedly seeing an American based Zimbabwean doctor and they even attended South African president, Jacob Zuma’s inauguration together. But there were no wedding bells within earshot.
Recently Tsvangirai told a meeting of his supporters that he would not be getting married anytime soon; he strikes me as a man who still wants to play the field.
While the easy way out the messes that he creates for himself is to claim that he is the victim of a sting operation, there shall come a time when this will not stick.
The only way his enemies can plan such elaborate plans to discredit him is because they have realised that he has a weakness, and like the Biblical Samson, women may just be his downfall.
His supporters may also claim that this is a private matter and the media should not be involved. But the man is a public figure, who lives on tax payers money and as the public we should be worried, in fact very worried, when our leader cannot take charge of his private life, which is smaller and obviously less complicated than leading a nation.
Tsvangirai has a lot of goodwill; he is seen as a brave man who has stood up to long time ruler President Robert Mugabe and for this reason people tend to look aside at his transgressions.
Only murmurs will be raised here and there, but Tsvangirai will remain largely unscathed. Maybe it is true, after all, we get the leaders we deserve.