The Herald (Harare)

10 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Locardia Copycat Storms Gweru Wedding

Midlands — A 34-year-old Gweru woman from Umusungwe Block caused a scene during a church wedding ceremony when she tried to block a couple from exchanging vows, citing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's estranged wife, Ms Locardia Karimatsenga, as her inspiration.

Ms Karimatsenga made headlines recently when she won a last ditch court order to bar Mr Tsvangirai from marrying his new wife, Ms Elizabeth Macheka, resulting in the two settling for what they called "a traditional ceremony".

The Gweru woman, Ms Muchaneta Mushipe (34), stunned congregates at an Awake Grace Ministries Church on Tuesday when she rose and tried to block a man, she claimed to be her husband from exchanging marriage vows with his new wife before the church pastor citing Ms Karimatsenga as her inspiration.

Witnesses said there was chaos when some congregates later confronted Ms Mushipe and threatened to beat her up. They accused her of trying to draw fun out of a serious event.

"The church pastor, Mr Oliver Mhuka, had asked the congregation if there was anyone against the two, Mr Raphael Ndamba and the bride, Ms Dian Hwinya's plans to wed when Ms Mushipe rose and argued that she had a son with Mr Nbamba and that the two were married.

"What, however, provoked the gathering was that Ms Mushipe went on to say she was taking her inspiration from PM Tsvangirai's estranged wife, Ms Karimatsenga.

"This was when some people who were in the church, led by Pastor Mhuka's wife confronted Ms Mushipe accusing her of trying to make fun out of a serious and important event," said the witness.

The witness said some male church members then dragged Ms Mushipe out of the church and locked her at the pastor's house.

The witness said the wedding ceremony later proceeded with the two, Mr Ndamba and Ms Hwinya, exchanging vows.

"The majority of people who were at the event could not take Ms Mushipe seriously as they thought she wanted to just create fun when she talked of Ms Karimatsenga. She was taken to the pastor's house for counselling by the pastor's wife and other church elders," said the witness.

Ms Mushipe confirmed having tried to block the wedding ceremony between Mr Ndamba and Ms Hwinya when contacted for comment. She also confirmed having cited Ms Karimatsenga as her inspiration.

"I was emotional to the extent of mentioning the person who inspires me because these men treat us as objects and not as equal partners. I was only giving an example to the church that my situation was similar to that of Ms Karimatsenga but my case had even more evidence than Ms Karimatsenga's because I have a three- year-old child with Mr Ndamba," said Ms Mushipe who was speaking in a telephone interview.

She blamed the church pastor for allowing the wedding ceremony to proceed after she had raised objections before the congregation.

"Under normal circumstances, the wedding was supposed to be stopped.

Surprisingly, the pastor's wife Ms Emilda Mhuka, had the guts to keep me locked in her house as the wedding proceeded at the church. She was supposed to use her position as Mai Mfundisi (pastor's wife) to stop the wedding but she chose to stay with me while she pretended to be a counsellor when the only noble thing to do was to stop that wedding," she said.

Ms Mushipe said she was considering suing Pastor Mhuka and his wife over the incident.

"I will have to sue them because what they did was unethical. That wedding was just supposed to be stopped," she said.

Mrs Mhuka confirmed the incident when contacted yesterday. She, however, could not comment on the reasons that caused the wedding to proceed following the objections from Ms Mushipe.

"Pastor Mhuka is away. He is attending a pastors' seminar in Chiwundura. He is the one who can give you details on what transpired, but one thing you should know is that Ms Mushipe was a nuisance and noone could listen to her.

"This is why she was dragged out of the church," said Ms Mhuka who answered her husband's phone.

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