'No going back until Mphoko leaves hotel'

HARARE - He has had a brush with law enforcement agents and has been banned from getting anywhere near Rainbow Towers Hotel after leading protests against Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s continued stay in the presidential suite of the hotel, yet Sten Zvorwadza seems undeterred.

On June 26, Zvorwadza grabbed a unique moment of activism and began shouting on top of his voice in the hotel lobby that Mphoko should vacate the premises “immediately”.

He was apprehended by police and led away.

But despite being hauled before the courts on charges of threats to commit malicious damage to property, Zvorwadza is defiant, insisting he will not stop his protest.

“We are going to stage more demonstrations next week hatisi kuzomira kusvika abuda. As progressive citizens we were actually angered to hear that he has been ‘temporarily’ moved out of that suite to pave way for a visiting president meaning that he will return there anytime,”Zvorwadza said.

On Wednesday, Mphoko was reportedly asked to vacate the presidential suite to pave way for visiting Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma.

“We gave him a seven-day ultimatum and next week we will resume our demonstrations, this time at his offices Munhumutapa Building,” Zvorwadza vowed.

“After we would have succeeded to have him kicked out of the hotel, we are going to sit down as citizens and decide if we still want him as vice president.

“…if he has such spending tendencies, imagine what would become of this country if he was to become president.”

Zvorwadza has been on Mphoko’s case ever since it was disclosed that the VP was residing in the hotel on taxpayers’ money.

“Last year, we staged a peaceful demonstration three months after he had checked into Sheraton (now Rainbow Towers) Hotel. We allowed time to lapse thinking that he would come to his senses but realised he still needed other people to whip him into line,” Zvorwadza told the Daily News on Sunday.

“We pray that Mphoko, one of these days, will learn to appreciate that our concerns are his concerns and that we will not allow him to empty our fiscus when our economy is in a coma.

“All this is not for me or him, but for generations to come and he should participate to restore sanity for those not yet born.”

The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe chairperson, whose political career began with Zanu PF in the 1980s, said the emergence of MDC in the late 90’s gave him hope that a second independence could be attained in the country.

“When Zanu PF rigged the elections, I did a post-mortem of my past and decided to quit mainstream politics and concentrate on civil work,” he said.

“Zimbabwe is on record of having failed to achieve reforms and from now on we are determined as citizens to have such reforms achieved on the streets than in boardrooms. A practical outcome has to be seen in real life.”

Quizzed on whether he feared the fate of missing activist Itai Dzamara would befall him, Zvorwadza did not seem moved at all.

“I do not fear for the worst to happen because I am not driven by any force greater than the will of God. There was an attempt on my life on February 28, weeks after Dzamara had been abducted but it failed.

“…ever since then, I believe that rogue elements could by now have realised that abducting people is not really a solution for them.

“On that day, I recall that it was on the 93km peg on the Chegutu to Harare highway when two men who were driving a twin cab pulled off their car in front of mine and threatened me with guns.

“I screamed, it was dramatic, until other motorists came to my rescue. I believe that you are no good as a dead hero and am ready to die for my conviction and ideology that Zimbabwe one day must be a free country having realised a true second independence.”

Part of Zvorwadza’s work in activism includes the formation of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) in 2007 aimed at tackling the brutality of State security on citizens and failed policies of the government.

In 2008, he pioneered the formation of Zimbabwe Vendors Association and later National Vendors Union Zimbabwe in 2014.

“In years between 2003 and 2013, Zanu PF trumped up charges against me but lost all of them. It actually inspired me and I will not be discouraged by intimidation or torture,” said Zvorwadza.

“It is not that I expect any form of political power but just want Zimbabweans to realise that there is strength in unity and that no qualification is needed to participate in the governance of our country.”

Zvorwadza’s political career began at a tender age and he recalls attending the inauguration of then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.

Having been raised in a royal family, Zvorwadza breathed politics from birth and speaks of other influential politicians that stemmed from his family — the Chiweshe lineage.

“I grew up in a royal family and you know it is natural to speak for the voiceless across the political divide. To demonstrate that it runs in the blood, I will talk of Pauline Zvorwadza who sits on the highest board in Zanu PF, Theresa Makoni a senior MDC member, my late brother Paddington who was the first MP in Rushinga in the 1980’s.

“I believe that one day our nation will achieve equal land redistribution, poverty reduction and eradicate all forms of repression and suppression.”

Comments (12)

probably the thought of a person from matebeland enjoying unfeted luxury is too much fo zorwadza to stomach as seen by his selective activism,however as zimbabweans we are united and we will not be distracted by the sideshows of the likes of zorwadza and company,another senior govt official has been staying at the hotel longer than mphoko and it boggles the mind why the vp should be the subject of such disgruntlement,no to cheap politics of tribe

truth - 3 July 2016

i couldnt agree with u mo @truth,the people protesting are hurt ,some people have looted govt fo 36yrs and mpoko gets the flak,idla lapho ebotshelwe khona

mthwakazi - 3 July 2016

mphoko yu are a soft target fo the tribalist,yu have only been in govt for two years and countless scandals have bedevilled this country now the tribalists want yu to be a scapegoat

sokwanele - 3 July 2016

why has it never been an issue that parliamentarians are housed in hotels since 1980 when its cheaper fo govt to build them apartments,if mphokos perks allow him to enjoy such extravagance then whats the issue,has zvorazdwa everpicketted at hre airport to protest mugabes travels which gobble state resources?is it because mphoko is ndebele?the right to squander govt resources is not a preserve for shonas,mphoko must not be denied such an opportunity,the tribalists must back off on this one and find other issues

stay put - 4 July 2016

Luxury living under the current economy. this man is evil, has no heart for the Masses

NO NO NO - 4 July 2016

It boggles the mind why a VP and his wife cannot find a suitable house in Harare but a Presidential suite at a very exorbitant and ridiculous opportunity cost. This has nothing to do with tribe but only serves to show how stupid and inconsiderate the VP and his boss are. a wrong should not be swept under the carpet along tribal lines. Mugabe has messed up big time so has Munangagwa, Obert Mpofu, Kasukuwere, Chombo, Chiwenga etc who have looted our coffers dry. Only the feeble minded still think along tribal lines.

john - 4 July 2016

let the truth be told. anogarirei mu hotel macho. hapana tribalism apa. people dont fuel tribal tension nezvinhu zvisina basa. if he supposed to move out ngaabude. Ndebele or Shona that doesnt give anyone room to loot the country's economy.

adie - 4 July 2016

Mr Mphoko has been unwavering in his iron-moulded heart by continuing to indirectly diminish the gains of our children of their furture inheritance. What we build today will last for generations to come. Essentially what we destroy today will forever to destroy and lost. Why should we massage our big egos at the expense of the suffering ordinary men. It's time to re-think and introspect Mr Mphoko. Muromo wavakuru auwire pasi.

kakale - 4 July 2016

It is nothing on tribalism as some are claiming. The VP-Mpokho is just being senseless. Why should he refuse to stay in a $3.5 million worth house? Has he been privileged to something he was ever dreaming of and never before materialised-staying so long in a hotel? A heartless VP, and one day wishes if he could rule the country, what do we expect of him, but disaster? My humble advice to him, is, MAN JUST PULLED OUT YOURSELF and get the praises you are worth as VP, otherwise you are a shame, if you hold onto your DESIRE to stay even longer

Simbarashe Samukange - 4 July 2016

His wife is a lazy cook thats all

realist - 4 July 2016

This is a misdirected campaign and hence why it raises more questions on tribal grounds than it answers. The question is why does Mr Mgabe authorise Mpoko to stay there? The appointing authority is the one with a problem and these activists are scared to take him on. Mgabe has a fully 3 fully funded & staffed State Houses (stately homes) which he doesn't use. He uses his private house which is also kitted out & staffed with the bill being picked up by the state. He takes his family and extended family on numerous foreign trips with him and the bill picked up by the state. Where is your activisim on that. South Africans have the Nkandla saga and Zuma got into a hot mess. Zimbabwe has been subjected to numerous Nkandlas the past 36yrs and people continue to concentrate on non-essentials. Mpoko is a hired hand to do whatever Mgabe wants, he can be fired as easily as he was hired. That's is not where the power and decision making lies.

Galore - 5 July 2016

@stayput this has nthn to do wth the fact that mpoko is ndebele. ndebeles and shonas, blacks or whites born in Zimbabwe are all Zimbabweans and we are equal. Did you hear the reasoning behind Mphokos hotel stay? He says being VP needs certain security measures amongst amother silly reasons. are u telling me that the hotel will offer him better security than a state house designed particularly for a VP? why doesnt the President live in a Hotel then? i for one would not want Mphoko for a president because he is ignorant of the people's voice. He has added no clear value to this nation since his appointment but has only managed to overspend the state's money in a struggling economy. Shame on him

inini - 6 July 2016

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