14 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Prime Minister Faces Possible Arrest

Photo: Fikile
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

LAWYERS representing Ms Locardia Karimatsenga have written to the Attorney-General seeking the arrest of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on allegations of bigamy if he proceeds with his wedding tomorrow.

Mr Jonathan Samukange of Venturas and Samukange law firm yesterday wrote to Mr Johannes Tomana arguing that Mr Tsvangirai had breached Section 104 of the Criminal Law Codification (Reform) Act.

Mr Tsvangirai paid lobola for Ms Macheka and on August 27 this year obtained a marriage licence in preparation for his wedding slated for tomorrow.

The lawyers argue that the PM was customarily married to Ms Karimatsenga and that he cannot marry Ms Elizabeth Macheka under Marriage Act Chapter 5:11 as planned.

PM Tsvangirai is set to tie the knot with Ms Macheka tomorrow at Raintree Gardens in Umwinsidale, Harare.

"We act on behalf of our client Locardia Karimatsenga, who was married in terms of African Customary Law as defined in Section 103 as read with Section 104 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act," read part of the letter.

"It has now been brought to our attention that the Honourable Prime Minister has committed a criminal offence by contravening Section 104 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

"In the circumstances, we request you in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe to direct and order the police to arrest Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for contravening the said section."

The lawyers indicated that they had documentary proof of the existence of the marriage that could be provided to the AG or the police.

It is claimed that the lawyers had a video recording of the proceedings relating to the marriage ceremony.

The lawyers stated in the letter that the matter was urgent and that action should be taken.

"Could this matter be attended to urgently as we understand that the Honourable PM intends to persist in this criminal conduct on Saturday September 15, 2012.

"It is important in this case that the PM be made to answer to these criminal charges. He is a leader of a political party and leader of this country and which he took oath to obey and respect the laws of Zimbabwe.

"The oath that he took during swearing in as Prime Minister is that he must obey all the laws of Zimbabwe and he has actually committed a criminal offence," he said.

Ms Karimatsenga on Wednesday lost an urgent chamber application to stop the wedding at the High Court.

The High Court ruled that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the case before advising her to file an objection to the magistrate who issued a marriage licence.

The court also found the existence of disputes of facts that could not be dealt with in an urgent chamber application.

The matter is now before Mr Mutevedzi together with the new objection by Ms Shilubane.

Yesterday, another lawyer representing Ms Karimatsenga said the legal team was considering filing an appeal at the Supreme Court contesting the decision by the High Court.

"We have made a decision to file an appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision by the High Court.

"We are working on the papers and maybe tomorrow (Friday) we will be able to file the appeal," said Mr Samukange.

Ms Karimatsenga is also claiming US$15 000 monthly maintenance from Mr Tsvangirai and the matter is set to be heard at the civil court on September 21.

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