Riot police swoop on protestors at VP Mphoko’s hotel (VIDEO)

POLICE on Friday swooped on protestors who stormed the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare demanding the removal of VP Phelekezeka Mphoko who has stayed there for 551 days at the tax payer’s expense.

Vice president Phelekezela Mphoko

Vice president Phelekezela Mphoko

Protestors were seen shouting from in and around the hotel demanding that Mphoko should leave the hotel where he has reportedly spent over US$300 000 in accommodation costs since he was appointed in 2014.

According to reports, Mphoko is refusing to move into a government mansion which was recently renovated demanding that it be further improved on.

Police were seen bundling some protestors into their vehicle.

One of the arrested is Sten Zvorwadza, who leads an informal trader’s rights lobby grouping, National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe, NAVUZ.

Zvorwadza was leading activists from a consortium of pro-democracy movements which included ROHR Zimbabwe and the #Tajamuka campaign. The protestors were holding placards reading “Mboko Stop Wasting Tax-payers’ money”.

“We are saying that the Vice President should vacate this hotel and occupy his government house; that is our message today,” shouted Zvorwadza.

The activists, who were staging the demonstration at the entrance of the top hotel, did not move when the armed police advanced at them.

“I can see that there is police coming and I want to tell them that they must behave like human beings who are also being affected by the cause we are protesting against,” Zvorwadza shouted before being manhandled and thrown into the police truck.

In a statement following the arrest of Zvorwadza and another protester, Liberty William, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said government should stop stifling citizens’ rights.

“We condemn in the strongest sense such partisan behaviour which is against the country’s Constitution and merely meant to protect selfish personal interests of politicians and in this regard, VP Mphoko.

“Zimbabweans are suffering as a result of a failed economy and for Mphoko to pay a blind eye to the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans in such a manner is inhumane to say the least.”

The civil society umbrella body said that the police should release the two activists.

“We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Sten Zvorwadza and Liberty William who are currently detained at Harare Central Police station,” said the coalition.

“We also call upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police to desist from serving partisan interests and operate within their constitutional confines.” 

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