Some Zimbabweans have given Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko seven days to vacate the plush Rainbow Towers Hotel in the capital where he has been burning taxpayers' funds with seemingly reckless abandon over the past two years, warning that if he doesn't heed their call, they would literally drag him out of the hotel.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday after his release from police custody, National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe president Sten Zvorwadza said Mphoko should take heed of the warning by fed-up citizens.
Zvorwadza, 47, who was arrested on Saturday while staging a demonstration against Mphoko’s continued stay at the top hotel, appeared in court yesterday before Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe, charged with threats to commit malicious damage to property.
The State alleged that he had closed the main entrance of the hotel and demanded that police officers leave the premises to pave way for a demonstration, arguing it was his constitutional right.
He was released on $200 bail and remanded to July 13 for trial.
Mphoko, who has been staying at the hotel since 2014, has got a government-issued house in the leafy Harare surburb of Grange which he does not want to move into, which cost the State a reported $3 million -- choosing instead to stay in the pricey Presidential Suite of Rainbow Towers.
Zvorwadza said Zimbabweans the were fed up with the vice president’s poor attitude, adding that Mphoko’s continued stay at the hotel was draining an already squeezed fiscus, as money used to foot his hotel bill could be channeled towards improving the dying health and education sectors.
“We will camp at the hotel until he leaves and if he continues staying there we will be forced to shut down operations at Rainbow Towers for supporting such corrupt activities. We do not want to disturb the activities there but they leave us no option.
"Failure to leave the hotel in seven days will result in people taking the matter into their own hands,” he thundered.
Zvorwadza said once the seven days had lapsed without Mphoko leaving the hotel, Zimbabweans would mobilise themselves to force him out.
Chipping in, the leader of pressure group Tajamuka, Promise Mkwananzi, told the Daily News that Mphoko’s "history of being a parasite" allegedy went as far back as the Second Chimurenga when stayed in a hotel in Mozambique, while other freedom fighters were fighting in the bush.
He said it was a terrible indictment on Mphoko that the VP's term would soon come to an end with him still staying at Rainbow Towers, and while three State houses were lying idle.
“He has become a real burden to society with his antics. Our campaign against his parasitic stay is escalating and when his seven days lapse, rest assured action will be taken,” he said.
Speaking in Bulawayo at the weekend, a defiant Mphoko said he would continue staying at the hotel as it was similar to living in a government house, since the State had shares in Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG).
According to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, the National Social Security Authority owns 36,21 percent in Rainbow Towers, while Hamilton and Hamilton Trustees has a 32,08 percent stake in it. Stanbic Nominees own 19,96 percent shares of RTG.
The remaining 11,74 percent shares are held by minority shareholders, with the government reportedly holding a miniscule four percent direct share in the hotel group. NSSA is funded by working Zimbabwean citizens, not the State.
Mphoko also scoffed at the cited $3 million house that he is spurning, saying it only cost “one million and something” -- further likening his predicament to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s stay at his State-owned Highlands home. Daily news