Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko is yet to move into the $3,5 million Harare mansion acquired by the government last year as renovations are still underway.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Mphoko has stayed put at the five-star Rainbow Towers hotel — three months after the government bought him a house in the city’s leafy suburb of The Grange near Chisipite.
The VP has been staying at the hotel since December 2014, soon after his appointment as one of President Robert Mugabe’s deputies following an elective Zanu PF congress.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing permanent secretary George Mlilo told The Standard recently that nothing had changed regarding Mphoko’s accommodation.
“When you ask about the occupation of the said house, I can’t say much on that. I would rather refer you to talk to Cde Tizora [Dzepasi Innocent], the man who is responsible for State Residence in the President’s Office,” he said.
“What I can tell you is, we acquired a house for the VP and that is where we are at the moment… [on] the next stage, talk to Tizora.”
Despite several attempts to get a comment from Tizora, his office was not picking up calls, while sources said government was still to accustom the VP’s new mansion to his desired standards, as well as have all the paper work finalised.
Mphoko — a career diplomat who served in various countries — was appointed VP following the ouster of Joice Mujuru from both Zanu PF and government.
Since he had no accommodation in the capital, Mphoko was booked at Rainbow Towers where he has now clocked 400 days — spending an estimated $280 000 in food and accommodation.
Last week, The Standard visited the hotel and was told that the VP was still checked in, while on the foyer a team of his security aides could be seen keeping a close eye on their boss who was in the luxurious presidential suite at that time.
According to the hotel rates, for one to stay in the presidential suite — located in the 17th floor — he has to fork out $403 inclusive of bed and breakfast for two per day. Lunch and dinner costs $15 each and Mphoko is reportedly staying with his grandchild in the suite, which significantly increases the cost.
The hotel charges an additional $130 for an extra bedroom in the same suite for two kids and his aides.
Early last year, Mphoko’s wife, Laurinda, reportedly rejected three houses, among them a mansion in Ballantyne Park worth $3 million — saying that it was too small for a person of the VP’s stature.