Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s continued hotel stay should be ranked as one of the most embarrassing episodes of last year.
Zimbabwe faced one of the most difficult years last year and this year does not seem to bring any glad tidings, yet the government unashamedly spent a quarter of a million dollars housing just one person.
To add insult to injury, the government will also splash $3,5 million on a house for Mphoko. It seems no expense is spared in ensuring Mphoko’s luxury.
Mphoko has clocked 386 days in an upmarket hotel at a cost of more than $250 000. It all looks hypocritical for the government to urge Zimbabweans to cut their spending and tighten their belts, yet it is willing to spend such a fortune on one man.
As it is, government delayed nurses and doctors’ salaries by more than two weeks, because it has no money and yet how does it justify spending so much on Mphoko? The Vice-President’s hotel bill can pay for no less than 700 civil servants’ monthly salaries, but no one seems bothered by this anomaly.
It is never too late for Mphoko to do the right thing and check out of that hotel, but his image has been forever dented. While Mphoko and the government may come up with some high-sounding explanations for why the Vice-President is living in a hotel, the truth is most ordinary Zimbabweans won’t care.
What the government and Mphoko have shown us is that they are unmoved by the suffering of Zimbabweans, they are contemptuous of the unpaid civil servants and the unemployed masses and they are uncaring for the plight of the suffering millions.
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Mphoko urgently needs to have a conversation with himself and ask himself what benefit staying in a hotel brings him if it comes with such untoward publicity.
It was reported that Mphoko wanted a house that matched his stature as Vice-President, but the longer he stays in that hotel, the more his status is eroded and he will earn very little respect, if any, from Zimbabweans.
Efforts to get government spokesmen to comment on Mphoko’s stay have often drawn blanks. While they may think this suits their agenda, the sad and unfortunate truth is that it does the exact opposite.
From where we stand, it looks like the government is turning up its nose at Zimbabweans and cannot be bothered what its citizens think of them.
There are many examples of government wasting taxpayers’ money, but there are few as bad as this one and the authorities ought to act now.
We plead with Mphoko and the government to act now, the hotel stay was supposed to be temporary, it has gone on for far longer than necessary and he must check out now.