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Africa

Tsvangirai threatened with perjury charges over alleged marriage

media Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and partner Elizabeth Macheka … Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

In Zimbabwe the storm over Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's marriage is far from over. Lawyers for his ex-partner, Locardia Tembo, are trying to get him arrested for perjury. They say the Movement for Democratic Change leader lied in court papers by saying he wasn't married when in fact he had paid bride price for Tembo last year.

Morgan Tsvangirai's marriage fiasco is still front-page news in the official Herald newspaper.

The Zimbabwe prime minister tried to get married at the weekend to his fiancee Elizabeth Macheka.

But ex-partner Locardia Tembo got his marriage licence cancelled - and Tsvangirai had to settle for a traditional bride-giving ceremony.

State media now say that Tembo's lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, will be holding meetings with Zimbabwe's attorney general to see if Tsvangirai should be arrested.

The lawyer says Tsvangirai lied under oath by signing an affidavit claiming he never actually married Tembo in November last year.

But video footage shows he paid bride price for her and that's an essential part of traditional Zimbabwean marriage rites.

Perjury is a serious criminal offence in Zimbabwe and can attract a jail term.

Lawyers are likely to haggle over what a legal marriage is, given that Tsvangirai and Tembo do not have a wedding certificate.

Reports say Tembo is happy to remain in a polygamous marriage as long as she is seen as the senior wife.

Tsvangirai’s MDC party claims state security agents are stirring things up to tarnish his reputation.

Commentators say with elections due next year, Tsvangirai needs to clean up his image or risk permanently spoiling what has until now been his powerful political brand.

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