Mphoko kicked out of hotel

EMBATTLED Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has reportedly been ordered to temporarily vacate his presidential suite at Rainbow Towers Hotel to pave way for visiting Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma.


BY OBEY MANAYITI

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko

Koroma arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday to explore areas of bilateral co-operation between the two countries and to consult with President Robert Mugabe on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms.

During his stay, Koroma will be booked at Rinbow Towers’ presidential suite, where Mphoko has been staying since his appointment as Vice-President in December 2014.

Mphoko’s continued stay at the top hotel has generated heated debate, with critics calling on him to check out and stay in a government house in Harare’s Grange suburb, but the Vice-President has defended his long stay, claiming the hotel was owned by the State.

Information minister Christopher Mushohwe yesterday said he was not privy to the accommodation arrangements for the visiting President, as he was out of the country.

“I don’t know about that (accommodation arrangements). I am out of the country. May you check with (permanent secretary in the ministry, George) Charamba? I don’t know where he (Koroma) is staying,” he said.

Minister of State in Mphoko’s Office, Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga, said she was in her Mazowe Central constituency and was not aware of the visit by the Sierra Leonean leader.

“I have no information on that. I cannot confirm anything because, right now, I am in my constituency. I don’t have any information on what you are asking,” she said.

The Sierra Leonean leader is the chairperson of the African Union Committee of Ten, which is charged with promoting and advocating for Africa’s position on UNSC reforms.

Africa, which currently has three non-permanent seats in the UNSC, is demanding two permanent ones.

Yesterday afternoon, staff at Rainbow Towers were busy preparing for the arrival of the visiting President, who arrived in the afternoon.

They had also rolled out the red carpet and sealed off the entrance Koroma would use.

This is not the first time Mphoko has been asked to temporarily relocate to create room for State visitors.

Last December, Mphoko vacated his room, located on the 17th floor, to accommodate Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Sources told NewsDay yesterday that Mphoko, who stays with his family, had been moved to a lower floor room at the five-star hotel.

“There is nothing amiss here and I don’t think the Vice-President will have problems with paving way for the visiting President. That arrangement should not surprise anyone. He will reoccupy the presidential suite once the visiting President is gone,” the source said.

Several activists have, at different intervals, demonstrated against Mphoko’s continued stay at the hotel.

On Sunday, a group of activists, led by National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe leader, Stern Zvorwadza stormed the hotel, demanding he moves out, before police intervened and arrested the picketers.

Zvorwadza, who is on $200 bail, has since been barred from visiting the hotel until his court case has been finalised.

This also came as Mphoko insisted he had the right to continue staying at the hotel, as it was government-owned, until additional renovations to his State mansion were completed.

However, it has emerged that contrary to his claims, the government is a minority shareholder at Rainbow Towers Group (RTG), owners of the hotel.

Local financial firm, Equity Axis, has disputed Mphoko’s assertions, claiming the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is the hotel’s major shareholder with a 36,3% stake followed by tycoon, Nicholas van Hoogstraten holding a 32,5% stake.

“The government, through the Tourism ministry, is a minority shareholder coming fourth on the shareholder list, with a holding of 4,46%.
This holding or any of the above does not merit free occupation of any of RTG’s hotels, as it exhibits corporate governance decadence,” Equity Axis said.

“Exclusive occupation comes usually when the hotels are privately owned, such as Donald Trump occupying one of his Las Vegas five-star hotels.

“There is, however, a relationship between government and NSSA, which is often misconstrued and taken advantage of.

“Primarily NSSA, which was created through an Act of Parliament, is controlled by government. Control, not in the sense of shareholders but as stakeholders, of the pension scheme, is through the Public Service ministry.”

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22 Comments

  1. There is a thing called ownership and control. The government may only own 4% of RTG but it has influence which it also have over NSSA which has the highest stake. There is nothing contrary to what Mphoko said about it being government owned because of the control it has. You don’t need a majority share to exercise control over an entity.

    1. NSSA has a duty to make sure they get a good return from its investments so that the benefits may flow to its members whose contributions it uses to buy these investments in the first place.
      Mphoko cannot derail NSSA because of his appetite for living large in a very poor country that cannot pay its workers.
      Therefore Mphoko should not have stayed in this hotel for more than two months if he had any sense of shame.

    2. Dzvinyangoma, does it mean once the government has that control over an entity it’s destructive decisions like the Mboko’s must be unquestioned.

    3. You are missing the entire point. Government owns the building therefore the amount of rent is offset against the cost of accommodation for a staff member. That is not the issue here. The issue is that even if the government owns the hotel it is foregoing revenue it can make from letting that room out. The same government that does not have enough money to pay civil servants! Regardless of who controls what it is a waste of money. And all government money is ultimately taxpayer money. I own 1,000 RTG shares, that does not entitle me to go and stay at the hotel for free. This is not a defense at all! Maybe if it was a combi we would say muridzi we combi anokwira mahara…

  2. bullshit…its like saying a political party and government are one and the same thing, which is not, coz any other party can take over gvt. so mboko is a corrupt liar….

  3. Mari yako chete

    The headline is very misleading as he is simply moving rooms. Who owns NSSA anywhere. Editor you are sleeping on the job.

    1. Editor is NOT sleeping on the job…..check the picture ha ha ha – Mphoko IS!!

  4. Mboko must do the most honourable thing and go to his mansion. This is a sign of plunderism which has destroyed the nation. Move out now and be smarter than defending what is morally wrong. Get ouuuuut!

  5. Timothy Thorton

    @Dzinyangoma, I don’t think the issue is about control here but the opportunity cost to the economy and to NSSA which by the way is a pension fund meant to create wealth for disbursements to its contibutors when they retire. That cost is now in excess of $250 000.00 and continues to grow. It is neither here or there that government through a loose relationship with NSSA can claim ownership of the Hotel and we would be trying to split hairs. His thinking resonates with many in government who do not believe that the government is broke and continue to live in luxury when the economy cannot support it.

  6. Apa hapana kana nenyaya yese, hanzi “…kicked out”. Imwe journalism so.

  7. When the visiting President checks out and Mpoko goes back to the Presidential Suit, may your headline scream ” MPOKO DEFIANT,GOES BACK INTO HOTEL .”

  8. This is not good news at all. He was not kicked out he was only temorarily moved from the most expensive to something less. Thousands of dollars are still being lost to government, so there is no joy at all. Mboko is living in style.

  9. Eish Newsday pliz dont do this to me, I almost jumped up to touch the sky with joy when I read your headline only to be disappointed & lose my appetite when I read further into the article that this is just a temporary arrangement, ma1 chaiwo

  10. nyika ndeyedu

    Newsday you are crooks like ZANU PF

  11. Is this really how heartless are our leaders, honestly how can a vp live permanantly in a hotel on taxpayers money and have the guts to defend himself, hey God plz deliver Zimbabwe

  12. musatipedzere nguva dzedu ka… how can someone leave the hotel for another person… asi rtg ine room one yepresidential suite…. musada kutinzwawo tapota

  13. The Vice-President, though he did not take anyone’s wife nor stolen any money should just leave the hotel permanently. What is so special about this Mphoko guy….inga wani Vice-President John Nkomo whom he took over from vaigara in a simple house in Milton Park. So what is so special about him yet he did not steal anybody’s wife and money!

  14. Asi zvakawoma murume mukuru kungonyadziswa nguva dzese panowuya more important people than him nekubuditswa mupresidential suite.Kana the visitor adzokera wodzokera zve.Ko kungobuda wongonogara hako kusina madisturbances nhai vaMphoko.Inga Grange yacho yakanaka ingavani.Iye mukadzi wacho achingo garo bvisiswa zvinhu mubedroom maanorara nguva yoga panoda kushandiswa suite haanyarewo here mukadzi iyeye.I can just imagine achimhanya kuti please mapants angu musabate mudrawer mangu ndichawuya ndichibvisa ndega.Ko kungowudza murume kuti ha izvi hazviyite ngatibudeyi muno.

  15. So let’s say Mphoko goes to South Africa on government business and stays in a five-start hotel, it means he is staying in two five-star hotels at the same time. Ndokunonzi kuripwa kugara muhoteraka uku. BaTencen muripiko? Two person-five-star-nights in one day for one person in a country that can’t pay that poor civil servant, who is living in a soon-to-be-demolished shack? Who said there is no money in Zimbabwe? Government should just come clean and tell those “useless” civil servants that “government has no money for people like you”. Shame maningi stereki. This is the only time I don’t feel proud to be Zimbo.

  16. this is just tribalism venting your anger to the wrong person , but ignoring the really things that have destroyed the economy of the country. what Mphoko has spent in this hotel is far much less than what Mugabe does on a single trip with air Zim.

  17. The headline is misleading and it demonstrate the marketing strategy of newsday purporting to make profits at the expense of informing zim citzens but foolish ,barbaric, defacto executive robbery.but zimbabweans should open their minds our real problem haisi mboko but the whole zanupf systems that span all facets our life in this country.of coz mboko can move out but corporate corruption continue to exist as evidenced by unaccountable 15 billion frm our gems. Arise and fight zim citizens u have been complain too much,and for several decades without action

  18. The headline is misleading and it demonstrate the marketing strategy of newsday purporting to make profits at the expense of informing zim citzens about foolish ,barbarism, defacto executive robbery.but zimbabweans should open their minds our real problem haisi mboko but the whole zanupf systems that span all facets our life in this country.of coz mboko can move out of RTG but corporate corruption continue to exist as evidenced by unaccountable 15 billion frm our gems and a lot of corruptionuership that has failed to see the light of the day. Arise and fight zim citizens u have been complain too much,and for several decades without action

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