Tsvangirai evasive

via Tsvangirai evasive | The Financial Gazette – Zimbabwe News 12 Mar 2015

AS the political ping-pong around the funding and ownership of the upmarket mansion in which former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is living rages on, there is still confusion  as to the true status of the prime property.
Recently, Tsvangirai’s office issued a statement angrily denying suggestions made in Parliament during a debate on the assumption of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) debt by the government, that he was one of those who benefitted from funds doled out by the central bank over the years.
“The facts of the matter are that president Tsvangirai never received US$3 million as alleged by ZANU-PF,” said the statement signed by Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka.
“He never got money from the RBZ. He got a loan from government that is just about US$1 million to buy the Highlands house but he had put in US$400 000 of his own personal money as a deposit before the payment of the full value of the property. President Tsvangirai is committed to servicing his own loan from government just as the State should also reimburse him US$400 000 of personal funds that was used in buying this government property.”
Since moving to the plush property in Highlands three years ago, there has been paucity of information on the arrangements made to ensure the former prime minister enjoyed the most of life’s comforts during his tenure, amid allegations that Tsvangirai was being investigated for double-dipping after he allegedly received US$1,5 million apiece from both the RBZ and Treasury towards the same property.
There have also been reports that Tsvangirai —whose sources of income remain a mystery — has been struggling to re-pay the double-loan he received for this property.
Apart from adding to the existing state of confusion, the statement by Tamborinyoka — who is proving to be the tarantula of all spin doctors — did not seem to help much, prompting the Financial Gazette to approach him for further clarifications on the matter.

What is the current status of the property at No. 49 Kew Drive in Highlands? Is it a government property? It is Morgan Tsvangirai’s property? Or is it a government property that Tsvangirai is in the process of buying?
This question sought to get clarity as to who is the rightful owner of the mansion, as there have been reports in the State-controlled media that the property falls under the State’s portfolio of properties, from which Tsvangirai could be evicted.
In Tsvangirai’s view, what is the correct value of that property? US$800 000? US$1,5 million, US$2,5 million or US$4,5 million?
How much did Tsvangirai receive from the government towards the purchase and or upgrading of this property and what were the terms for this funding?
This question sought to clear the air on the confusion caused by the various figures that have been bandied about since this mansion saga started, especially now that Tsvangirai accuses some of his enemies in the government of inflating the value of the property in order to put it beyond his reach. The second part of the question sought to establish the exact figure Tsvangirai received from the State, whether through the RBZ or Treasury, if not from both, and what the terms and conditions  were like, that is if there were any.

Kindly clarify the following statement attributed to you in a recent statement in which you were quoted denying that Tsvangirai benefitted from the US$1,3 billion RBZ debt: He said Tsvangirai never received money from the RBZ but “just about US$1 million” as a loan from government to buy the house after raising a deposit of US$400,000 on his own.“President Tsvangirai is committed to servicing his own loan from government just as the State should also reimburse him US$400 000 of personal funds that was used in buying this government property,” said Tamborinyoka.
This convoluted statement does not say exactly how much the former premier actually received, nor why he had advanced “US$400 000 of his own personal funds” to the State while the same State was in the process of loaning him some money to buy “this government property”, a property whose value is now subject of a dispute, and the loan repayments of which he is reportedly struggling to pay.

How does Tsvangirai (a pro-poor leader and “a doyen of democratic struggle in Zimbabwe”) justify staying in a multi-million dollar mansion in a country where you are always reminding us that the majority of citizens are living on less than US$1 a day, without appearing to give credence to those of his detractors who have accused him of focusing more on self-enrichment than the welfare of ordinary Zimbabweans during his tenure as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Moreso when Tsvangirai also attacks the RBZ for its anti-worker monetary policy when he saw nothing wrong with accepting “just about US$1 million” from the same RBZ only a few years ago?
Tsvangirai’s detractors (including those like Elton Mangoma who have broken ranks with him) have accused him of being a pseudo-democrat with little concern for the dignity of the poor, someone who does not practice what he preaches.
This has not been helped by Tsvangirai’s seeming proclivity to spend money  wrecklessly, even right in the middle of stomach-gnawing poverty.
In fact, there are many MDC detractors who are quick to point out that, as their record has shown, money appears to the central nerve in the opposition project, a project that brings to bear some of the murky operations among a plethora of pro-change organisations whose leadership appear to wail for the downtrodden while they wipe their crocodile tears with the millions of dollars ostensibly raised to help those so-called men on the street.
How does someone who stays in a multi-million dollar mansion funded by taxpayers find the moral high-ground to condemn President Robert Mugabe’s birthday bash (officially funded largely from donations from “well-wishers”) as a waste of resources and even suggesting that the funds should instead be channelled towards the sorry humanitarian situation obtaining in Zimbabwe?
The seemingly uncomfortable juxtaposition sought to get the self-styled champion of the poor to see profligacy as profligacy. Ballpark figures suggest that the “just about US$1 million” he received for his own personal comfort is enough to build and fully furnish at leave five rural schools.
There have been misleading reports that the ex-premier has fallen on hard times; that he is living on hand-outs from friends and party members and that he is finding it increasingly difficult to pay back what he borrowed towards his mansion.
You will certainly agree that there are many Zimbabweans out there who view Tsvangirai as their role model. These people would definitely want to believe that their role model is certainly nowhere near a spiv, but a gentleman who earns a living from genuine sources. How does Tsvangirai earn his living? Is he a businessman? A farmer? A pensioner? A salaried MDC party employee? 
Tsvangirai is often a victim of State media’s controversial reportage, which villainises all opposition politicians. The question sought to prompt confirmation that the stature of the leader of the official opposition in Zimbabwe is not questionable, infact that he does not earn his upkeep by selling bottled smoke to those deep-pocketed western interests that are desperate to see a new government in Harare. Not an unfair question to a leader whose life — in comparison to his opponents — should be an open book, and whose party has been clamouring for public officials to declare their incomes and assets.
Tamborinyoka initially promised to respond to these clearly worded questions, but later decided to tip-toe around them by resorting to his trademark hallucinatory brilliance, possibly acquired in the desperate crucible of defending a politician who is always plagued by high profile gaffes.
He simply referred this writer to the same old vainglorious statement referred to above:

“So sorry brother, I have seen the questions, but we believe that the public statement we issued clarified matters enough! The statement we issued on this whole matter is clear enough. Tsvangirai did not get money from the RBZ. I am aware that there is a penchant to project Tsvangirai as a man living a high life simply because he is living in a property where he sunk in US$400 000 of his personal money, which has not been reimbursed. Mind you there is a contract around this property and the government is well aware of that contract. Our position on the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill is that those who owe the RBZ should pay. Tsvangirai has his own loan which he is committed to servicing. The principle is that everyone must pay their debts and not saddle innocent Zimbabweans with their debts.”
Tamborinyoka, a veteran journalist in his own right, who rose through the ranks to become news editor at two local newspapers and one time was secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), is one person who certainly knows how to answer questions from journalists in the most useful of ways. And this is certainly not one of those. At most, what he gave for answers was some disingenuous waffle.
While the sacredly-cat private media has largely fawned on the pudgy former trade unionist, often lionising him as a lone totem of courage, the State media has not wasted an opportunity to make Tsvangirai its most favourite chew toy, traducing his reputation at each and every turn, even if this takes coming up with the most ridiculous of conspiracies.
This is certainly no excuse for Tamborinyoka to treat each and every media enquiry as a conspiracy against the veteran opposition leader.
During Tamborinyoka’s short-lived tenure as ZUJ secretary general he once likened one employer to a father who would stagger home in the early hours of the next day dead drunk, holding in one hand a bottle of the most expensive whiskey and in the other those pricey Cuban cigars which legends say are rolled between the thighs of virgin girls, when he tells his children — who attend school in street clothes and bare feet — that they have to be patient while he looks for money for their book covers. Hopefully Tsvangirai is not such a father to the MDC-T family.
While Tsvangirai is busy fighting to make the best of the featherbeddings connected with his executive role in the coalition government, the ghosts of Talent Mabika, Tichaona Chiminya, Tonderai Ndira and hundreds of others who died for a cause they shared with him should be wondering if their leader has not betrayed them.


  • comment-avatar
    Tsuro 7 years ago

    When one writes such a biased, character assassination article he should at least have the audacity to sign his name and not let leave the readers guising. Is it J Moyo, Manheru Biti or whoever. Anyway there are more worrying things in Zim which need more attention at the momement. Regai Tsvangson ambogare ikoko while we try to sort other things before he moves to the state house, a privilege which he has been deprived by the Zanu thugs.

  • comment-avatar

    The article has gone to great lengths to “expose ” Tsvangirai’s misdeeds.
    I must say there is some bitter truths here.
    If one lives in a glass house, its foolish indeed to throw stones.

    However, the most blatant misuse of public funds with looting on an obscene scale, the hocking of national treasures, the destruction of the country’s infrastures along with the economy, the brutalisation of a once peaceful people, has been at the hands of ZANU.

    The article pays scant attention to this and therein, lies the bias.