Monday, April 22, 2013

Tsvangirai secures comfort after Govt
Sunday, 21 April 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

In a clear move to secure his future after Government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has officially pleaded with authorities to allow him to purchase his official Highlands mansion for US$4,5 million and his official Mercedes-Benz vehicle for an undisclosed amount. The MDC-T leader’s plea is indicative of the fact that he is not confident of winning the forthcoming harmonised elections while also raising suspicion on the source of his funds.

Impeccable sources told The Sunday Mail last week that Mr Tsvangirai initially disclosed to Public Works Minister Mr Joel Gabuza Gabbuza that he wanted to purchase the luxurious property priced at a whopping US$3 million.

He was asked to make an official request in writing which he did two weeks ago.

The ministry advised the PM that he could only secure the house after paying the US$3 million as well as a further US$1,5 million which would settle a loan granted to him by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for the purposes of renovating the property.

Although Minister Gabbuza last night said he is yet to receive official communication on the proposed house purchase, sources maintained the Prime Minister submitted a formal request.

Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesman, Mr Luke Tamborinyoka, could not be reached for comment last night, but several MDC-T officials who commented on the matter expressed shock that their boss had that kind of money to spend on a house, especially now when his party is facing serious financial challenges.

An MDC-T provincial executive member who spoke on condition of anonymity said most party officials were disappointed by their leader’s decision.

“The MDC-T is a party for change, but, definitely US$4,5 million is not small change.”

Another top party official said Mr Tsvangirai risked alienating himself from the party “which is in dire straits.”

“It is wrong timing to do such a thing. Why couldn’t he wait until after the elections? After all, everyone knows that the party’s finances are in a bad state.

“I do not remember the last time we bought vehicles, but, just go to Jongwe (Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare) and you will see how many vehicles are parked there. People in the MDC-T are not happy. We do not even know the last time we bought chairs for our offices.”

The Highlands mansion courted some controversy for the Prime Minister after he was accused of securing two separate loans for the same property. He had allegedly received US$1,5 million from Treasury and another US$1,5 million from the Reserve Bank.

Last week, the Western media attacked him over his apparent love for a lavish lifestyle. In an article titled Tasting Good Life, MDC-T Slips off Pedestal, The New York Times wrote that Mr Tsvangirai was content with forming the inclusive Government alongside Zanu-PF to secure a luxurious lifestyle.

CNN also quizzed him for failing to identify with the masses.
In addition, the Prime Minister’s spending sprees came under the spotlight after he reportedly splashed US$300 000 to buy the silence of his traditional wife, Ms Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo.

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