Mugabe snubs Tsvangirai

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HARARE – Ex-prime Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai faces the prospect of leaving office without a retirement package, following the scuttling of talks with President Robert Mugabe to define his benefits.

Government is also yet to assent to the evaluation of Tsvangirai’s Highlands mansion.

“The government has not evaluated the house and as such the onus solely lies on the government to play the ball,” Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson told the Daily News yesterday.

“They have to come and evaluate the house and then give Tsvangirai the right of (first) refusal.”

With Mugabe keeping Tsvangirai at bay, scuttling discussions on the Highlands mansion, which the former Prime Minister is currently staying in, frustration seems to be setting in.

The former premier is currently living in suspense, as government has not made it clear whether it intends to evict him out or sell the house to him.

The house was bought by government for $750 000 and officials say it was renovated for $1.5 million.

A team from the Public Works ministry visited the residence two months back in a chilling stop-over.

Efforts to get a comment from George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesman, were futile yesterday.

Official sources say hawks in Zanu PF are pushing for an order directing that Tsvangirai vacates the official residence.

Tamborinyoka told the Daily News yesterday that government has not communicated anything to his boss regarding the house.

“Tsvangirai is still staying at the official residence,” Tamborinyoka said. “We have not received any communication from the government and therefore I cannot tell you what is going to happen concerning the house.

“But according to the law, Tsvangirai has the first right of refusal if the government intends to sell the house.”

Tamborinyoka said government has not even evaluated the house.

Asked if Mugabe was snubbing Tsvangirai, Tamborinyoka said the former premier was not desperate for a meeting with Mugabe but only wanted government to evaluate the property.

“Why would he want to meet Mugabe?” Tamborinyoka said.

“About the house, it is very clear that it has to be evaluated and he must be given first right of refusal and so I don’t see any reason why he must meet with the president.”

Sources say Tsvangirai was infuriated when government fired about 100 civil servants who served in his office during the inclusive government.

“On the retrenched staff, those were employed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Tsvangirai has got nothing to do with PSC,” Tamborinyoka said.

Nathaniel Manheru, a State media newspaper columnist, last month suggested that Tsvangirai stood to benefit personally if he accepted Zanu PF’s electoral victory, which he has rejected as a fraud.

“Here is one about-turn which levies not an iota of a cost on him personally, on his party or his white benefactors. Yet it will restore him dignity, open new possibilities of engaging the winner in national spirit, for national gain. Yes, for personal gain. Even his supporters will gain too,” wrote Manheru.

“His former ministers, including his deputy, want assistance from the Zanu PF government, as indeed does he too. But the bind is a simple one: how do you engage a government you don’t recognise?

Once he recognises the obvious victory of Zanu PF, he leads his defeated supporters into becoming strong MDCs who are good, loyal citizens of the country.”

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