WOMEN'S organisations have condemned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for his much publicised sexual escapades.
Tsvangirai had been scheduled to have a white wedding with Elizabeth Macheka yesterday in Harare but had to settle for a traditional customary union celebration with her after his marriage licence was cancelled by the courts.
The magistrate said the wedding could not go ahead because Tsvangirai was still customarily married to Locardia Karimatsenga, who had launched objections to the PM's marriage to Macheka.
Another lover, a South African national, Nosipho Regina Shilubane, launched a bid to block Tsvangirai's marriage last week citing contravention of bigamy laws.
However, her case was thrown out by the courts. Women's rights activist, Grace Mutandwa said Tsvangirai's actions were patently disrespectful towards women. The premier's behaviour and treatment of women he had affairs with, said Mutandwa, showed that Tsvangirai regarded them as objects.
"We have heard of conspiracy theories here and there but these things are known to happen. Yet surely, in the space of a year we have seen so many women that he has gone out with and abandoned. He now thinks that he is entitled to sleep around with women because he has power and money. It is disrespect towards women and he is setting the wrong example to society," she said.
She added: "Neither is he doing the fight against HIV and Aids any good. The measure of a good leader is the ability to take responsibility, and that is just what he must do."
Mutandwa said Tsvangirai should have conducted a due diligence exercise before rushing into marriage with women that he did not really know. Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCZ) national chairperson, Virginia Muwanigwa said the fiasco playing out was only a miniscule manifestation of the challenges that women in the broader society faced on a daily basis in the country.
"This scenario has been brought out because he (Tsvangirai) is a prominent person," said Muwanigwa. "But we need to look at the bigger societal picture of the issues that women have been facing year in and year out, with regard to women's rights in and out of marriage, dissolution of marriage and so on. These are the very issues that we have been fighting to address."
Tsvangirai has been linked to several women in the past few years after the death of his wife Susan in 2009 in a car accident.