- The prime minister cites a "plot" for the failure of his marriage
- Mugabe asks the media to respect Tsvangirai's private life
- Tsvangirai's first wife died in a 2009 car accident
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced Wednesday he had divorced his wife of less than two weeks, claiming that a "greater and thicker plot" had undermined his confidence in the relationship.
"This relationship has been irretrievably damaged to a point where marriage is now inconceivable," said Tsvangirai, 59, in a statement released late Wednesday, referring to the traditional marriage he had with 39-year-old Lorcadia Karimatsenga since November 18.
"I was well-meaning and had good intentions to rebuild my family and start a new lease of life following the tragic passing on of my wife on 6 March 2009," Tsvangirai's statement said.
But since the day he paid lobola -- money a prospective husband pays the family of his bride -- "everything has been played in the press and I have become an innocent bystander in what is supposed to be my relationship. I have become a spectator in this relationship and things are happening too fast, on camera and without my knowledge. This has led me to conclude that there is a greater and thicker plot around this issue which has undermined my confidence in this relationship."
Since the announcement of the marriage -- for which Tsvangirai reportedly paid $36,000 -- state and social media has been stalking Karimatsenga.
Some media reports said she was already pregnant with twins.
Earlier in the day, President Robert Mugabe, who formed a coalition government with Tsvangirai, appealed to the media to respect his prime minister's private life.
"Everyone has a right to do what he wishes. But this one (Tsvangirai) is being targeted and mobbed by the media every day. Please leave him alone," Mugabe told journalists.
Tsvangirai's first wife died in 2009 in a car accident in which the former opposition leader survived with minor injuries.
"Sometimes when you are searching for a partner especially after losing your wife, there are many stakeholders in the process some of whom have their own ulterior intentions. Having been married for 31 years, the tendency is to want to use your experience as a yardstick for future relationships. Regrettably, the individuals, like the one in question, may not meet the same standards," added Tsvangirai without explaining.
He said the intention of those who worked against his marriage is to "inflict maximum damage on my person and character for political gain."
"The 'marriage' has been hijacked and there is an apparent active political hand that is now driving the processes. State security agents have also weighed in to force and direct proceedings which has resulted in everything regarding this relationship now taking place in camera, with the public media journalists in tow," the prime minister's statement said.