Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly fired his senior secretary Mr Ian Makone and three other high-ranking officials for allegedly meddling in his marital affairs.

Officials that were reportedly thrown out of the PM’s Office yesterday are protocol officer Mr James Maridadi and policy implementation principal director Pastor Lazarus Muriritirwa. Mr Gandhi Mudzingwa was redeployed from the PM’s office to MDC-T’s Harvest House headquarters. However, Mr Tsvangirai has no authority to make staff changes in his offices because civil servants can only be fired or redeployed by the Public Service Commission, their employer.

This is not the first time Mr Maridadi has been reassigned in the same office. In 2010, PM Tsvangirai wanted to fire Mr Maridadi as his spokesperson, but was told by the PSC that he did not have such powers. It is understood that the PM made the drastic changes at the instigation of his wife Ms Elizabeth Macheka. Sources said Ms Macheka threatened to walk away from the marriage if the three remained his confidantes.

Reports say UK-based law lecturer Mr Alex Magaisa replaces Mr Makone. It was not clear who would take up Mr Maridadi and Pastor Muriritirwa’s posts. PM Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka could neither confirm nor deny the changes. “The Prime Minister reserves his right to make alignment and appointments from Cabinet ministers (from his party) to staff in his office and Harvest House.

“If he has made the changes that you are talking about, then there will be a formal announcement. But one thing I can assure you, to show that there are holes in what you are saying, if you come to the Prime Minister’s Office in December 2012 or January 2013 or beyond, you will see Mr Makone in the PM’s Office.”

Mr Tamborinyoka declined to comment on Mr Makone and his colleagues’ fate in the premier’s office.

In separate interviews with The Herald yesterday, Mr Makone, Mr Maridadi and Pastor Muriritirwa could not shed more light on the developments.

“If there are any changes, there will be a formal announcement. That is the formal procedure,” said Mr Makone without elaborating.

Pastor Muriritirwa said: “I cannot comment on that. Ask Luke (Tamborinyoka).”

Mr Maridadi promised to contact The Herald, but was not answering his mobile phone later in the night. Sources said Mr Makone was accused of paying legal costs to lawyers who represented PM Tsvangirai’s estranged wife Ms Locardia Karimatsenga in their court cases. Pastor Muriritirwa has not been spared because of the role he played in the PM’s courtship with a South African woman, Ms Nosipho Regina Shilubane. Pastor Muriritirwa acknowledged introducing PM Tsvangirai to Ms Shilubane.

Ms Shilubane said in her court affidavits that she had her first sexual encounter with PM Tsvangirai at Pastor Muriritirwa’s Borrowdale house. The reasons behind Mr Maridadi’s sacking were not clear last night, but it is widely believed that they were linked to his relationship with the Makone family. Mr Maridadi was subsequently reassigned to the protocol desk. Meanwhile, more officials are reportedly going to be reassigned for their alleged role in the PM’s love and sex woes.