Parly speaker protects Mphoko on hotel stay

HARARE - There was furore in Parliament yesterday after Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda shielded Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko from answering questions about his continued stay in a five-star Harare hotel since 2014 at taxpayers’ expense.

Mphoko will this week cloak exactly 15 months since he occupied the Presidential suite in the Rainbow Towers in Harare together with his wife, a grandchild and his personal aides.

Mphoko sought a home in the hotel after rejecting some mansions in Harare’s leafy suburbs on the grounds that they were not befitting a person of his stature.

His stay at the hotel has been met with widespread criticism from ordinary Zimbabweans reeling under the effects of a struggling economy.

Opposition MDC MP for Mabvuku-Tafara James Maridadi sought to have Mphoko explain his continued stay, said to have gobbled over $300 000 in taxpayers’ funds.

But Mudenda leapt to Mphoko’s defence, ruling that Maridadi must submit written questions.

“This is pertaining to him so he would not need to refer to anything other than that…”, Maridadi attempted to explain, but was asked to take his seat by Mudenda, causing rancour from opposition benches.

“May I remind honourable members that the questions to be asked are only on policy? With all due respect, honourable Maridadi, if you want to ask a specific issue you can do that through written questions,” Mudenda said, provoking remonstrations from Maridadi.

“Don’t argue with the chair,” Mudenda said. “I have given you the opportunity to speak. I have asked you to put your question in writing,” he added.

Further attempts by Maridadi to have Mphoko respond to the question were quashed at every turn by the Speaker, even when the legislator sought to rephrase his question.

This prompted the intervention of the MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese on a point of order, demanding that Mudenda respects the mandate that MPs carry from their constituencies.

“I believe that when we are in this house, we are mandated to take the business of the house seriously and also the issues that affect this country… But I haven’t articulated, I have not finished, when someone is raising a point…” Gonese said, with Mudenda threatening to eject the opposition legislators out of the house.

“Order! Order!” Mudenda thundered.

“I think the chair has been generous enough. I said the member can put his question in writing . . . The question relating to the honourable vice president staying in the hotel can be asked in writing, so you are not excluded, put it in writing.”

This comes as leading civil society group has condemned Mphoko’s continued stay in the hotel, at a time Zimbabwe’s fiscus is bleeding.

Comments (8)

Mphoko in general,and Zanu in particular have nothing to do with the welfare of the ordinary people of the country.Right now hospitals have run out of ARVs the life saving drugs, for people living with Hiv yet there is some body who blows thousands of dollars of the tax payers' money in hotel bills. It all starts with the big chef who keeps on creating ministries yet there is demand that there be reduction in public expenditure.This is the country for big chefs and cronies not for the povo.

gen spinola - 17 March 2016

It will make sence for vp mphoko to relocate to Bulawayo.The tate house in Bulawayo has neva been lived in by anyone n its a mansion.One vp has to live in bulawayo ,wth the people.Relocate his office n staff to skies.Summon ministers to bulawayo for meetigs on projects in matebeleland.yes I repeat for matebeleland.whats so bad about living in Bulawayo?Why shun it?Come bak n walk the proud streets of bulawayo n see for yoself.Every one frm bulawayo once appointed they move fast to Harare,never to see them again unless theris a funeral.All these days in hotel yu culd have been staying in bulawayo n that mney given to mpilo hospita.$300 000 will do wonders for Mpilo hospital.It will enhence pples lives,sick pple.instead of only yo family enjoying that money ,it will take care of 5000 sick pple,and make them well.Mr vp,please consider this,its not way too late to do the correct thing.

viola gwena - 17 March 2016

I meant state house( tate house)

viola gwena - 17 March 2016

The worst mistake that ZPF will make is admitting anyone into the party without conducting proper scrutiny, just because ZPF wants to dislodge ZANU Pf from power. The same thing happened to the MDC, and they ended up recruiting secret service guys, and that led to the party being infiltrated by Zanu pf easily.. I hope the ZPF will not make the same mistake.

Ano - 17 March 2016

This decision is for yu to make mr vp.yu cannot wait for president to tell yu.yo citizens,yo subjects yu have to listern to.A good leader is not arrogant.he listerns n acts.Mandela listerned when Tutu told him his ministers r living large.He cut their pay by half.yu need to be a listerner mr vp.This arrogance of carying on staying in harare hotel is damned by yo citizens.

viola gwena - 17 March 2016

What do you expect from Mudenda a scandal benefitor himself wilogate scandal which caused him to be sacked as governor of mat north and only to bounce back as speaker of parliament .under zanu as we all know zanu protects thugs murderours crooks and thieves .

Diibulaanyika - 17 March 2016

He cant aford to bump into Dumiso in skies.harare is safer for him

gire - 17 March 2016

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