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Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Francis Nhema, who recently divorced his wife, Louise, daughter of the late liberation icon Joshua Nkomo, claims he is still single and searching for a new wife despite widespread speculation that he has married a 22-year-old beauty.

55-year-old Nhema (born on  April 17, 1959), who has become one of the most eligible bachelors in the country — if indeed he has not married  — had been married to Louise for 20 years until their divorce in 2013.

Nhema's divorce settlement with Louise was not littered with public fights like that of Local Government minister, Ignatius Chombo, which became public fodder as his ex-wife Marian could not go down without a fight.

Nhema is reported to have paid more than $20 000 in lobola (bride price) for the 22-year-old with our sources maintaining that indeed he had quietly completed the traditional rites and will in due course, officialise the marriage.

"Definitely, minister Nhema married this young girl and they seem happy. He will not confirm it now because there are many traditional rituals that have to be followed given that this is a minister coming from a divorce. There are many things that need to be managed, he has to inform the president and look it's not easy also given the background that he divorced the daughter of the late vice-president."

But Nhema yesterday strenuously denied reports that he had married the young girl and actually said he was still looking for a perfect wife.

But he insisted that he was not getting married anytime soon.

"There is still a vacancy. You made my day with your suggestion that I got married. I don't know about the issue you are talking about.  I am just resting. If God gives me someone, then I will marry."

Nhema is one of the easy-going ministers in President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet and usually maintains a low profile unless he is publicly officiating as per his mandate as minister. He is, however, occasionally spotted playing social soccer friends.

His divorce with Louise was smartly done and there seemed to be no acrimony between them.

Justice Hlekani Mwayera granted the divorce order by consent in 2013. The couple averted an acrimonious split by reaching agreement on the division of immovable assets, custody of a minor child and maintenance.

Alarmed by the high numbers of divorce cases involving his ministers, Mugabe last year publicly rebuked them saying their acts were disgraceful.

Speaking at the official opening of the 21st Session of the Junior Parliament, Mugabe said in these divorce cases, women and children suffered the most.

"Out of any three weddings I have attended, at least one couple has broken up. There is so much divorce and separation, take your time before marriage, don't rush…study your partner. Even looking at my own Cabinet, I ask them ah uyu ndewechingani (I ask is this the first wife)?," said Mugabe.

Besides Chombo and Nhema, the other ministers in Mugabe's team who have divorced are minister of State and Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, minister of State in Vice President Joice Mujuru's office Silvester Nguni and deputy minister for Economic Planning and Development, Samuel Undenge.

Army chief Constantine Chiwenga is reportedly in the final stages of his divorce to Jocelyn.

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