By Mugove Tafirenyika
HARARE – The government house being used by ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai cannot be occupied by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko as it does not befit his status, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Responding to a question without notice by Makonde MP Kindness Paradza in Parliament on Wednesday, Mnangagwa said government operations were guided by certain rules and regulations which affect officials’ accommodation..
Paradza had sought to understand why Mphoko was staying in a hotel when the former prime minister Tsvangirai — who has since left government — was still using the No. 49 Kew Drive government accommodation.
He said the Constitution of the country had no clause which stated that when one has left government as prime minister, he should be taken care of and accommodated by the State.
“Therefore, my question is, if a civil servant leaves his job, does he still have to stay in government accommodation or residence free of charge and is that the rule?” asked Paradza.
In response, Mnangagwa explained that a house set aside for the President for example, befits his status and said vice presidents also have suitable accommodation befitting their status.
“In that manner, everyone has his or her type of accommodation that suits their position,” Mnangagwa said.
He informed the House that as a result, the house which is supposed to be occupied by Mphoko was still under refurbishment and that he would occupy it as soon as it is done.
“On the issue regarding the accommodation which is being used by the former prime minister Mr Tsvangirai, it is not the suitable accommodation for the vice president and therefore, this is out of question,” Mnangagwa said.
Tsvangirai and his wife Elizabeth moved into the Highlands pad in April 2012 ahead of their wedding.
The mansion was renovated by government after the former trade unionist failed to move into Zimbabwe House — President Robert Mugabe’s former residence when he served as PM soon after independence in 1980 until 1987.
The father of six, who shared executive powers with Mugabe during the subsistence of the GNU, has a right as a sitting tenant to buy the house and has already indicated his intention to do so, raising questions on the push by the “hard-line faction” to evict him.
Tsvangirai’s Highlands house was valued at $790 000 before improvements and officials say its value is nowhere near the $4,5 million being peddled by the Public Works ministry. Daily News