HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s prime minister said at his marriage ceremony Saturday that he had to date several women to find the one he truly loves.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dismissed as propaganda the reports by the state media that say his private life is irresponsible and makes him unfit to lead the country.
A Zimbabwe magistrate ruled on Friday that Tsvangirai could not to go ahead with a formal wedding after a jilted ex-lover filed a suit against him claiming the two were still married under Zimbabwe’s tribal laws. The court upheld that Tsvangirai paid a traditional bride price for the woman last year and therefore was married to her.
The magistrate cautioned Tsvangirai that if he signed a legal marriage register with his new wife he could be prosecuted for bigamy.
Tsvangirai, 60 and Elizabeth Macheka, 35, exchanged vows Saturday but did not sign the legal marriage register.
Speaking in the local Shona language at the lavish event that continued until the early hours of Sunday, Tsvangirai reassured his supporters and Zimbabweans in general that he had not made errors of judgment in seeing other women since his wife of 31 years, Susan, 50, died in a car accident in 2009. Tsvangirai said he has finally found the right partner.
Several top regional leaders had been invited to the wedding but did not show up, presumably because of the court order that the wedding should not go ahead.
Polygamy is recognized under Zimbabwe’s traditional customary law but not in its formal legal system.