Zimbabwe Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told Parliament on Wednesday that government had not yet secured a suitable house for his counterpart, Phelekezela Mphoko, who has been staying in a five-star hotel at taxpayers’ expense since his appointment last December.
Mphoko has now clocked more than 306 days at a top Harare hotel, where he is staying with his family.
The issue has caused a storm among members of the public and opposition MPs, prompting Chitungwiza North MP Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T) to demand answers from Mnangagwa during Parliament’s question-and-answer session.
“The issue you are discussing is beyond your level,” Mnangagwa curtly said.
“But, I would like to say that, currently, we are working very hard to ensure we get a house for my counterpart (Mphoko).”
Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) then asked Mnangagwa to further clarify the issue of Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomona, who has also reportedly stayed in a hotel since her appointment two years ago.
“I am not fully informed about the facts of the matter that the MP has raised about the Deputy Speaker,” he said.
“I may be correct or incorrect, but I believe Parliament has regulations on how the Speaker shall be looked after when he is in Harare during Parliament sittings.
“We need to look at that to see whether those rules were violated or not.”
Mphoko was said to have been offered houses ranging from $1,5 million to $3 million in leafy suburbs of Harare, but his wife Laurinda reportedly declined them, saying they were unbefitting of a person of his stature.