Tsvangirai moves into mansion


HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has moved into his $2,5 million Highlands mansion with his fiancée Elizabeth Macheka.

This comes ahead of the MDC leader’s September 15 nuptials with the 35-year-old businesswoman, the Weekend Post can confirm.

The couple’s love nest is a plush multi-bedroom pad and close associates say the timing could not have been perfect.

Luke Tamborinyoka, the PM’s spokesperson, confirmed the development.

“We can confirm the PM has moved into his new home,” he said.

The sprawling mansion was purchased from South African-based Justin Davenport in 2007 for $800 000 and government renovated it for an extra $1,5 million.

Private architects and contractors revamped the H-shaped mansion in the A-list neighbourhood of Highlands and to the Tsvangirais’ specifications, Public Works minister Joel Gabuza confirmed.

Boasting a huge guest house and spacious garage, it is likely Tsvangirai’s fianceé will be spending a considerable amount of time there.

It is also likely the PM will be splashing the cash to make the property state-of-the-art, including installing the latest high-tech gadgets.

The spacious two-storey home was at the centre of controversy after damning allegations that the PM and his relative Hebson Makuvise,  Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Germany, misappropriated funds disbursed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in 2009 to bankroll the purchase of the home.

The luxury house has been renovated to fit the expected standards of a high profile official such as the Prime Minister.

The master suite was built after Tsvangirai failed to move into State House.

State House was left vacant after 1987 when the post of ceremonial president was abolished.

Mugabe stayed at Zimbabwe House from independence until he moved to his private home.

But apparently Mugabe blocked Tsvangirai from both houses.

A fuming Tsvangirai protested what he termed “blatant contempt” for his role, and this was one of the reasons that forced the MDC to disengage from government in October 2010.

Following the snub, Tsvangirai — who resided in a modest middle-class home in Strathaven — tabled a request for funding to build a new home.

Mugabe then okayed $1,5 million to renovate the Highlands property after the MDC agreed to end its boycott of Cabinet meetings in the aftermath of a Sadc troika summit held in Maputo in November of 2010.

Tsvangirai’s move to take the government-funded mansion could open him to political attack from his adversaries.

Already, one of the best known current sayings in Zimbabwe’s GNU is “it’s our turn to eat”.

It also says the most important thing about the defining characteristic of the country’s politics —  namely the quest of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite for personal enrichment through politics.

The GNU has provided ordinary Zimbabweans with an opportunity to  see their leaders and how they have sought to use state resources for self-enrichment, and used them to build up slush funds to maintain a grip on power and at the expense of voters.

Tsvangirai, who lost his wife Susan in a March 2009 car crash, has been linked with a string of women over the last one-and-half years .

But the father of six is finally settling down with Macheka — daughter of Zanu PF central committee member and former Chitungwiza mayor Joseph Macheka.

The PM is so smitten with his the tall beauty and the couple is set to tie the knot this month after their recent engagement.

Tsvangirai will be exchanging his nuptials at an invite-only event at the exclusive Rain-Tree Gardens in Umwinsdale.

Political analysts say the GNU has exposed the MDC, just like Zanu PF, as a party producing people who regard their entitlement to “eat” as the natural fruit of victory; and, because all aspire to a place at the trough, all have an interest in a culture of impunity.

With three-and-a-half years in the GNU, there has been primitive accumulation that has flabbergasted the MDC’s rank-and-file.

Transactions surrounding Tsvangirai’s Highlands home have been subject of a police probe after allegations of double-dipping by accessing $1 million from Finance minister Tendai Biti and another million from the RBZ when he was entitled to $1,5 million.

Mugabe is said to have halted the probe, which raised questions about the MDC’s sincerity in fighting graft.

Last week Tsvangirai fired 12 councillors from his party over corruption.

MDC ministers have been arrested for corruption in what the party says is trumped up charges.

But critics say along the way, nepotism and favouritism, and the thoroughgoing distortion of the administration has emerged that most ordinary transactions in ministries cost the citizens a premium beyond the face-cost of the service; and deny them services of the standard and extent which Zimbabwe’s revenues could afford if they were not mismanaged.

Meanwhile, confidence in national leaders has tumbled to its lowest ebb, but still the country seems resilient. — Weekend Post

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