SECURITY concerns have been raised over President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s house in the Hellensvale section of Borrowdale suburb in Harare amid fears that the residence is not well-secured, Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
By Bernard Mpofu
This comes as government beefed up security at Vice-President Kembo Mohadi’s house almost a month after his swearing-in.
Sources told the Independent that the security concerns at Mnangagwa’s house have prompted government to speed-up renovations at the president’s spacious official residence, situated at the corner of Crowhill and Wheeldon roads in the leafy suburb of Borrowdale.
Since his inauguration in November, following the military-backed ouster of long-time leader Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa has continued to stay at his relatively modest Hellensvale home at 355 El Shaddai Road.
In 2016, government forked out US$3 million on accommodation for the country’s then two vice-presidents, Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, after it bought houses for them in Harare’s affluent suburbs.
Although Mphoko moved to the property after staying for nearly a year in a 5-star hotel at taxpayers’ expense, Mnangagwa remained at his Hellensvale home, which is now at the heart of security concerns following his elevation.
“The Hellensvale house is smaller and that in itself is a security concern. Any threat to the President should be detected well beforehand, but the current arrangement doesn’t allow for that,” a security source familiar with developments at Mnangagwa’s residence said.
“Soldiers manning the property are using makeshift amenities and more so they have also pitched a tent on a private citizen’s property. The owner of that property has already been approached on the current arrangement. Improving security features and completing the ongoing renovations is the only way that can improve the current situation since the President has expressed reservations about staying at Zimbabwe House.”
Newly-appointed principal director of state residences Douglas Tapfuma could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.
Mnangagwa was appointed Vice-President alongside Mphoko in December 2014 after the dismissal of former vice-president Joice Mujuru.
He rose to power on the back of a military-backed intervention code-named “Operation Restore Legacy”, which led to Mugabe relinquishing his 37-year hold on power. He was inaugurated on November 24 last year.
Meanwhile, soldiers from the Presidential Guard unit were on Wednesday deployed to Mohadi’s Greystone Park home. This follows his December 28 inauguration, where he was sworn in alongside co-VP Constantino Chiwenga.
Chiwenga, who served as the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, already had security provided by the Presidential Guard while serving in the military.