ZIMBABWE – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has insisted he is entitled to his Highlands home as former Prime Minister but claims he is a modest politician who could still live at his rural home.
Since the period as premier, Tsvangirai has been ensconced in the luxurious property despite clamours for him to vacate the government house.
Opponents insist he was not fit to continue occupying any state property while his comrades feel he risked compromising his integrity as a leading opposition figure if he continued to enjoy “Zanu PF hospitality”.
“That house, people always want to make an issue, I can go and stay in Strathaven (suburb, his other house) or some other place; it will not change my idea, it will not change my focus,” Tsvangirai told South African news channel, ANN7 TV Monday night.
The opposition leader said the uproar which has followed his continued stay in the leafy neighbourhood was through ignorance by his critics on how he acquired the property.
“I am the least materialistic person and anyone can confirm that I can even go and live under a tree,” he said, adding, “I can even go and live in Buhera, my rural area.”
Tsvangirai was at pains to explain that he purchased the house through a government grant availed through the central bank making him a genuine occupant of the property.
He added: “But the fundamental issue is when you have got a contract, it must be observed; that is the legal position and I have a contract, (President) Mugabe knows that.”
“It is not because I support Zanu PF or Zanu PF wants to protect me in any manner or form. There is a contract. When I was in government; there was a contract to purchase a house for the Prime Minister.”
He added: “I purchased the house and paid my money although I didn’t pay in full but eventually it will be paid.
“So let’s not try to say Tsvangirai is mellow because of the house. I am not mellow after all. I am committed to ensure this country has a new direction.”
Zanu PF MPs have in the past demanded Tsvangirai vacates the government sourced property to make way for Phekelezela Mphoko, who remains holed up in an expensive hotel apartment since his December appointment as Vice President.
However, co-Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has insisted Mphoko was too senior to live in a house which was being occupied by a Prime Minister.