Zim deputy president 'temporarily' vacates hotel suite to accommodate visiting head of state

Ernest Koroma File: AFP)
Ernest Koroma File: AFP)

Harare - Zimbabwean Deputy President Phelekezela Mphoko has been asked to "temporarily" vacate a local hotel suite to make way for a visiting head of state, a report said on Thursday.

According to NewsDay, Mphoko was told to vacate the Rainbow Towers suite in order to make way for visiting Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Koroma was in the southern African country to meet with President Robert Mugabe for consultation on the United Nations Security Council reforms that would secure two permanent seats for the continent.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Mphoko, together with Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, welcomed the Sierra Leonean leader at the airport on Wednesday.

It was, however, not clear how long the west African country's leader would remain in Zimbabwe.

In recent months, Mphoko has been under increasing pressure to move out of the "expensive" hotel suite, as he had allegedly gobbled up a bill of at least $300 000 for his more than 18 months stay.

According to a News24 report, riot police were called in over the weekend after a group of protesters spoke out against the "profligacy" of Mphoko.

Reports indicated that Mphoko had refused to move into his recently government acquired $3.5m mansion, opting instead, to continue staying at the five-star hotel.

The broke Zimbabwean government secured a $3.5m mansion in Harare's leafy Grange suburb for Mphoko in December last year.

But due to demands from Mphoko and his wife, the government had to do some renovations to the house.

However, six months after the required renovations had been done, the Mphokos still claimed that they would not move into the government sponsored house until some of their requirements were met.

Defending his continued stay at the hotel, however, the vice president claimed that government partly owned the hotel. 

However, local media reports revealed that the government was a minority shareholder with just 4,46%  through the department of tourism. 

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