PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has turned down an offer to take up residence at State House and instead opted to live at his Strathaven home, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
Tsvangirai as head of government was expected to take up residence at State House while President Robert Mugabe continued living at Zimbabwe House, his current place of residence.
Sources in the Tsvangirai-led MDC said the prime minster was made the offer to live at State House and he turned it down saying he had ample accommodation at his home.
Mugabe, the sources said, had extended the offer in the spirit of the all-inclusive government.
Tsvangiraiâ€™s spokesperson James Maridadi could neither confirm not deny whether the offer was extended.
â€œThe most important role for Prime Minister Tsvangirai is to work towards the rebuilding of Zimbabweâ€™s economy and the democratisation of the country,â€ Maridadi said. â€œIssues of whether he stays at State House or not are not important. What is important to him is to get the job at hand done.â€
He, however, was quick to say that in future Tsvangirai would consider where he would live.
In the early 1980s President Canaan Banana lived at State House while Prime Minister Mugabe was at Zimbabwe House.
Sources said Tsvangiraiâ€™s decision not to move into State House was arrived at because the inclusive government was not permanent and in case he lost future presidential elections expected in two
years, it would be embarrassing for him to move back to his Strathaven home.
â€œThere were numerous factors which determined whether he took up residence at State House or not but the main reason is that the Strathaven house was more homely to Tsvangirai than moving to a new place,â€ another source said. â€œThe fact that the inclusive government is not permanent meant that he could be forced to move out anytime.â€
State House used to be Government House, the home of Southern Rhodesian governors. The last governor to occupy it was Lord Soames from December 1979 to April 1980. Prime Ministers lived across the road at what is now Zimbabwe House. â€” Staff Writer.