Activists resume hotel Mphoko demos

HARARE vendors and some activists on Monday resumed protests aimed at forcing Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko out of the Rainbow Towers Hotel.

demoMphoko and his family have been ensconced at the hotel since he was appointed President Robert Mugabe’s deputy in December 2014.

The vice president has reportedly rejected, as not good enough, alternative accommodation offered by the government in the capital.

He recently responded to widespread criticism over the issue by saying government is part-owner of the company which runs the hotel, in remarks seen as suggesting the administration was not paying for his stay there.

However, National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe Chairperson, Stern Zvorwadza, led a new protest campaign outside the hotel on Monday.

The activist was bailed after being arrested during another demonstration at the hotel.

On Monday he told journalists that vice president Mphoko was supposed to lead by example.

“VP Mphoko represents people at the Apex of a nation,” said Zvorwadza.

“If you are a truly responsible father in a family where there is no food, would you go and spend lavishly when your children are failing to have food, water, and drugs?

“What sort of a father is he? An old man who behaves like a teenager enjoying hotel life!?”

The activist suggested that the vice president could easily work from his private home in Bulawayo and help save the cash-strapped government some money.

“Why can’t he go to Bulawayo and do government duties (from) his home city and only come to Harare for special engagements?

Zvorwadza continued: “Zimbabwe is not a small country.

“President Mugabe is running it all from Harare and I believe Vice President Mphoko can do the same (from Bulawayo) to reduce costs.

“We are starting a non-stop fresh campaign to push the VP out of the Hotel.

“Vendors, citizens and all supporting organisations will be in the street demonstrating until he (Mphoko) leaves the hotel for Bulawayo.”

Mphoko continued residency at the hotel has riled opposition parties at a time the government admits to serious financial problems.

Salaries for government workers were delayed this month with the army and police getting their wages two weeks late while teachers, doctors and nurses were told they would only get paid mid-July.

The civil servants have already declared a strike over the delayed salaries with the job action expected to start on Tuesday.

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