Home | HEADLINES | Minister Theresa Makone in hot soup over PM Tsvangirai’s jilted lover issue

Minister Theresa Makone in hot soup over PM Tsvangirai’s jilted lover issue

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose image has been battered by a badly-handled relationship, is under pressure from within the MDC to deal decisively with some of his top aides who stand accused of being at the heart of his still-birth “marriage” to Locadia Karimatsenga.

Well-placed MDC sources told the Daily News last night that the alleged “schemers” could even be expelled from the party. Chief among these alleged plotters was Theresa Makone, the country’s co-Home Affairs minister.

At the same time, the Karimatsenga family promised fireworks yesterday, warning Tsvangirai that they would not be taking his humiliating move against them lying down.

Tsvangirai, who until Wednesday had chosen to remain mum on the matter for days, has since confirmed that while he indeed had a relationship with Locadia, he no longer wished to be with her — claiming that the relationship had been hijacked by state security agents.

In his statement to the media, Tsvangirai also implied that there were some MDC officials who were working with Zanu PF and state security agents to “ambush” him in the marriage debacle. Locadia comes from a pro-Zanu PF family and is sister to Beater Nyamupinga, the Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi.

Many MDC officials are pointing their fingers at Makone, who is also the party’s Women’s Assembly leader, whom they accuse of orchestrating the “marriage” and the ensuing circus around it. Some of the officials describe her as “a threat to the premier’s life and political career”.

Makone, wife to Ian Makone, the premier’s close confidante, personal advisor and secretary in his office also stands accused of being a bad influence on the premier — and ironically is said to have been part of the crowd that gathered for the “marriage” ceremony at the Karimatsenga family home in Christon Bank, just outside Harare, on November 18.

The Makones are very PM advisors under fire close to the Tsvangirai family. They played a leading role at the funeral of Tsvangirai’s late wife, Susan. The MDC officials told the Daily News in separate briefings that Locadia was allegedly very close to Makone.

“We are baying for her blood following this debacle and we intend to pressure Tsvangirai to purge her from the party. She is up to something sinister,” said one official who is eager to see Makone questioned over her role in the marriage debacle. The attacks on Makone appear to fit well with MDC Deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu’s claims in a leaked cable by whistle-blower site WikiLeaks.

Gutu, with other top MDC officials, told the Americans that Tsvangirai’s biggest weakness was that he took advice from the wrong people. “Gutu also stated that Tsvangirai had a tendency to listen to the wrong people. He pointed to Ian Makone, Tsvangirai’s chief of staff, and Makone’s wife, Theresa, who is the Minister of Public Works,” read part of the cable.

However, deputy party spokesperson Thabita Khumalo said yesterday that she was not aware of the rift within her party over Makone.

“We are not aware of that plot. Yes, the president (Tsvangirai) hinted on the involvement of party officials but since he did not mention any name we do not know who these people are. We will wait until the president announces the names,” Khumalo said.

Efforts to get a comment from the Makone family failed as Theresa was said to be out of the country, while her husband was reported as saying that he “doesn’t speak to the press”.

Tsvangirai was initially said to have paid $36 000 as lobola for Locadia on November 18, but his spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka denied that the marriage was on. Reports indicated at the time that he had paid only $10 000 damages to the Karimatsenga family.

Tsvangirai eventually moved to deal with the matter this week.

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