The country’s flashy vice president, Phelekezela Mphoko, is building a massive multi-million mansion for himself, at a time he has refused to vacate Rainbow Towers Hotel, in the capital amid growing outcry of taxpayer money abuse, as government continues to foot his bills to an executive suite.
Information gathered by Spotlight Zimbabwe indicates that Mphoko, is constructing the villa thought to be almost the same in size, with President Robert Mugabe’s own famed Chinese-roof mansion in Borrowdale, in the affluent suburb of Douglasdale in Bulawayo.
“It is really obscene,” said a local government official who requested not to be named. “The Mphokos recently turned down a beautiful house in the Grange area in Harare valued at over US$3,5 million. The house is ready for occupation, but the VP wants more improvements done. We really don’t understand what he wants the ministry of public works and national housing to do, but we have done our best to it. We don’t know what more needs to be done. Meanwhile he is building a big mansion in Bulawayo worth millions of dollars from his own pocket, and he has even had the road to his new project tarred.”
Other officials close to the Presidency, this week said Mugabe’s office has now taken over the issue, as Mphoko has now refused to move into more than three houses, offered to him by government, citing a chain of security demands and that the homes are not befitting for someone of the vice president’s stature.
Mphoko’s wife, Laurinda, has been figured as the one behind rejection of the three houses, among them, a mansion in Harare’s upmarket suburb of Ballantyne Park worth US$3m. The other property, is a house in Mandara, formerly belonging to the late vice president Joseph Msika. The VP and his wife said they wanted a house of their own, not the one vacated by others.
Human rights activists have deplored Mphoko’s continued stay at Rainbow Towers, saying the money could be channelled towards underfunded sectors such as health and education.
The VP is about to clock a record 24-months staying at the hotel since his appointment in December 2014, accruing costs close to the tune of US$500 000 for the taxpayer.
The main opposition, MDC-T, last month described VP Mphoko’s continued stay at the expensive hotel in the capital as a “shame and disgrace”.
Below are some of the mansions, which have sent the tongues of Zimbabweans wagging:
Minister Saviour Kasukuwere
VP Emmerson Mnangagwa rural mansion
First Lady Grace Mugabe’s Mapfeni farm mansion in Mazowe