Zimbabwe vice president Phelekezela Mphoko has reportedly spent at least R1.7 million in the more than 280 days that he has so far stayed in a five-star hotel, as he seeks suitable accommodation in the capital Harare since his appointment last year.
According to a News Day report, Mphoko, the second of Zimbabwe’s two vice presidents, checked into the executive suite of the five-star Rainbow Towers Hotel on December 14, 2014.
Mphoko had spent at least $120 000 on bed and breakfast as of September 26.
The revelation came as government claimed it wanted to cut costs and was already carrying out staff and pensioner audits, the report said.
In March, the country’s first vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, defended Mphoko’s continued stay in the hotel, saying the government was still constructing his house, according to a Southern Eye report.
Mnangagwa had been asked in parliament to explain why Mphoko was staying in a hotel.
“VP Mphoko’s house is being constructed and once painting is finished, he will stay there,” Mnangagwa was quoted as saying at the time.
Mnangagwa also hinted at the time that the government house being used by ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai could not be occupied by Mphoko as it did not befit his status, a Daily News report said.
This was after a suggestion that Mphoko could move into the house used by Tswangirai since the former PM had left government.
Media reports in January indicated that Mphoko’s wife, Laurinda rejected three houses, among them, a mansion in Harare’s affluent suburb of Ballantyne Park worth $3m (R41.8m), claiming that it was too small for a person of the VP’s stature.
The Mphokos, the reports said, also refused to move into a house left by the late vice president Joseph Msika in Harare’s leafy suburb of Mandara, saying they wanted a house of their own, not the one vacated by others.