Zimbabwe prime minister settles out of court with ex-lover

HARARE Thu Nov 1, 2012 8:21am EDT

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (R) speaks to Finance Minister Tendai Biti before President Robert Mugabe opened the country's Parliament in Harare, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (R) speaks to Finance Minister Tendai Biti before President Robert Mugabe opened the country's Parliament in Harare, October 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

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HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reached an out-of-court settlement with a former lover to end a messy maintenance case that was damaging his reputation ahead of elections expected next year, a lawyer said on Thursday.

Locardia Karimatsenga had been demanding $15,000 a month in upkeep from Tsvangirai. Her claim was strengthened in September when a court stopped Tsvangirai from marrying another woman by ruling he was married to Karimatsenga under traditional law.

"We have managed to settle the matter but my client is not at liberty to disclose the terms of the agreement," her lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, said.

Tsvangirai's lawyers were not immediately available for comment.

While Tsvangirai's main political rival, President Robert Mugabe, has been criticized for turning one of Africa's most promising economies into a basket case, Tsvangirai is now being publicly questioned over his relationships with women and money.

His personal troubles, which followed the death of his first wife in a 2009 car crash, have handed Mugabe political ammunition as he seeks to extend his three-decade rule in an election expected within a year.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Ed Cropley)

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