Tsvangirai speaks on mansion, Merc

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has angrily rejected claims that he has “pleaded” to purchase his Highlands mansion and official Mercedes Benz to secure his future after the imminent expiry of the inclusive government.

The State-run media claimed yesterday Tsvangirai has officially “pleaded” with authorities to allow him to purchase his official Highlands mansion for $4,5 million and his official Mercedes Benz vehicle for an undisclosed amount.

But Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka described the claim yesterday as “a desperate attempt to scandalise and soil the image of the prime minister and equalise him with Zanu PF people known for living beyond their means.”

Tsvangirai and his wife Elizabeth moved into the Highlands pad in April ahead of their highly-anticipated wedding.

The mansion was renovated by government after the former trade unionist failed to move into Zimbabwe House — President Robert Mugabe’s former residence when he served as PM soon after independence in 1980 until 1987.

The father of six said while the Global Political Agreement specifically indicates that the Prime Minister shares executive powers with Mugabe, “the PM has remained modest using a second hand Mercedes Benz given to him four years ago.”

“As we speak, the car is in the garage and the PM has never sought to insist on material demands even of those things that he is entitled to,” Luke Tamborinyoka, the PM’s spokesperson told the Daily News yesterday.

Tsvangirai has a right as a sitting tenant to buy the house but he has not indicated his intention to do so, Tamborinyoka clarified.

He said the PM’s Highlands house was valued at $790 000 before improvement and its value is nowhere near the $4.5 million being peddled in the State-run media.

“The PM has right to buy the house but is yet to do that because he does not have the money which amount is far less than the $5 million being peddled by the public media,” Tamborinyoka said.

While the State media claimed Tsvangirai has written to Public Works Minister Joel Gabuza Gabbuza asking to buy the mansion, the minister said yesterday he had not received any such communication from the PM’s office.

“We have not received such a request,” Gabbuza told the Daily News yesterday. “We only said in the contract of occupation that if he so wishes to buy, he has a right of first refusal, he can approach us and we will be able to give him. For now he has not approached us.”

Tamborinyoka said as Zimbabwe hurtles towards fresh elections, there was escalating and consistent maligning of the person of the Prime Minister “to put him on equal footing with those known for pillaging the country’s resources.”

“The public media has not said a word about those that own mansions in Borrowdale,” Tamborinyoka said. “They have not talked about those that claimed over a 100 percent disability to abuse the War Victims Compensation Fund but still hold high offices in government.”

The State media claimed Tsvangirai was scared of losing elections, hence his attempt to negotiate an exit package.

 “Mugabe lost elections in 2008 and a few months before the country’s biggest electoral fight our opponents are quacking in their boots,” the PM‘s spokesperson said.

“They have stalled security sector and media reforms. When even their president is calling for a free, fair and credible peaceful poll, the likes of (Webster) Shamu (Media, Information and Publicity minister) are declaring that a vote cannot precipitate a change of power in Zimbabwe.

“Our people must then ask, who is petrified of the elections? They know their removal from power through the ballot is imminent.”

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