ZIMBABWE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Ms Locardia Karimatsenga have failed to agree on an out-of-court settlement in their maintenance dispute.
They are expected back in court next week after their lawyers yesterday asked for more time to negotiate.
Although lawyers for both parties refused to divulge the figures involved, sources said that they had initially agreed on a US$200 000 once-off payment for Ms Karimatsenga.
But the sources said the parties reached a stalemate when Ms Karimatsenga raised her demands to US$500 000.The sources also said Ms Karimatsenga demanded three oxen from PM Tsvangirai.
Ms Karimatsenga’s lawyer Mr Everson Samukange confirmed the deadlock, but dismissed the figures as false.
He said his client was not after money.
“I heard there are figures being talked about to be the money claimed by my client,” he said. “Those figures are false and my client is not after money.” But he said the negotiations failed to yield good results.
He said the parties were set to argue the matter before a magistrate next week. The parties had agreed to indefinitely postpone the matter yesterday afternoon, hoping the negotiations would yield positive results.
But a few hours after the deferment of the court proceedings, the parties failed to agree on a settlement. Mr Samukange said the talks were not about money. “We have deliberated on several issues, but the discussion failed to yield positive results,” said Mr Samukange.
“This means we are going back to court to argue the matter. Next week we will be back in court. Our client does not want money. She is simply asserting her rights as a wife.” PM Tsvangirai’s lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu refused to comment on Ms Karimatsenga’s demands.
When the parties appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Reuben Mukavhi yesterday afternoon, the lawyers said the talks were almost complete.
Adv Mpofu said the parties were about to strike a deal by end of yesterday. “We have identified the root of the dispute and we have actually got to the pith. We hope to settle the matter by the end of the day today,” said Adv Mpofu, requesting for a postponement.
“If we agree, my learned colleague will then withdraw the court case. We have reached the horizon.”
Mr Samukange indicated in court that the chances of the parties appearing before the same court again were slim considering the high prospects of succeeding in the talks. “We are of the view that this file may be held in abeyance to allow the negotiation process,” he said.
“Should there be any need to come and appear before you, which need I suppose is very unlikely, we will always come back.
“I respectfully seek the indulgence of the court for the matter to be postponed sine die (indefinitely).”
Ms Karimatsenga was claiming US$15 000 monthly maintenance from Mr Tsvangirai, but opted for an out-of-court settlement.
She argued in her court papers that the premier paid lobola to her parents in November last year and the parties never divorced. Ms Karimatsenga claimed the PM accustomed her to a good life and that there was need to maintain the standards.
After marriage, Ms Karimatsenga said, she spent some time at the PM’s rural home in Buhera as per custom and that she later joined her husband in Harare. She said the PM started snubbing her after she had a miscarriage and spent some time in hospital.
Ms Karimatsenga said she was unable to contact PM Tsvangirai and as a result approached his uncle who had been representing him during the marriage negotiations. The PM then promised to talk to her.
She said she stayed with Mr Tsvangirai’s uncle for four days before she went back to South Africa for medical review. Ms Karimatsenga believes the PM has the capacity to pay the US$15 000 monthly for her upkeep.
PM Tsvangirai last month married Ms Elizabeth Macheka.