CONSTRUCTION work at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s multi-million-dollar, yet unsightly, house at the corner of Crowhill and Wheeldon roads in Borrowdale suburb has stalled, three years after it commenced, The NewsHawks can report.
This means taxpayers’ funds have been wasted on a property that Mnangagwa may no longer be keen on living in. The hideous property was being built as part of his state package. Usually the President and vice-presidents are given state properties to live.
A big house is being built for Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga at Carrick Creagh Estate in Borrowdale. Former Vice-President Kembo Mohadi now lives on Folyjon Crescent in Glen Lorne suburb, Harare.
Mnangagwa moved out of his house in Helensvale, Borrowdale, in Harare after security concerns were raised as it was felt that the residence was not well protected. This prompted government to speed up renovations at the President’s spacious residence.
However, Mnangagwa later relocated from 355 El Shaddai Road in Helensvale to Zimbabwe House, opposite State House.
Meanwhile, renovations were being done at his property opposite to flamboyant local tycoon Philip Chiyangwa’s sprawling house, dubbed the White House after the United States’ official presidential workplace and residence, the White House, at 1 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC.
A visit to the property showed that construction has virtually stopped. This has raised questions on whether the president is happy at Zimbabwe House, abandoned the project or has identified a bigger piece of land to construct another home.
The issue has also raised concerns about the waste of taxpayers’ money building a massive house – that looks nondescript from outside – which is later abandoned.
After the 2017 military coup, government bought houses for all members of the presidium with Chiwenga settling for a property located along Manombe Close in Carrick Creagh Estate, Borrowdale.
The house, which is now all but complete, has been lavishly fitted with imported furnishings. Carrick Creagh, which overlooks the upmarket Borrowdale Brooke neighbourhood, is a prime suburb where a 2 000-square-metre stand can cost around US$100 000, according to independent realtors.
However, the estate has also been poorly developed in some sections, making it look commonplace. It is not yet as classy as Borrowdale Brooke.
Mohadi moved from his Greystone Park home to the spacious mansion in the leafy suburb of Glen Lorne after government bought and renovated the house for him.
But work has stalled at Mnangagwa’s property.
From the Wheeldon side, where the main entrance is located, the security structure that was being constructed looks derelict with only scaffolds remaining onsite.
The gate with the inscription “Number 14 in Wheeldon” shows that the yard was previously being used as a lodge.
The view from Crowhill Road also shows a deserted construction site, with no activity except for the scaffolds that have been there for months.
Soon after Mnangagwa came to power through a coup in November 2017, by January 2018, construction had already begun on the expansive piece of land and was moving at a terrific pace amid indications he was eager to move in.
Security officials felt Mnangagwa’s Helensvale house was small, making it difficult for them to create a significant buffer and detect threats properly which may be posed to the President.
Soldiers manning the property are using makeshift amenities and they had also pitched a tent on a private citizen’s property.
The owner of that adjacent property had already been approached on that. Improving security features and completing the ongoing renovations were the only way that could improve the property.
After his inauguration in November 2017, Mnangagwa continued to stay in Helensvale for several months before moving to the guest wing of Zimbabwe House.
The explanation by his spokesperson George Charamba then was that the President had no need for the huge space since his children were grown up, thus he had settled for the smaller guest house.
At the same time, extensive renovations were ongoing at State House as well as Zimbabwe House after Mugabe moved out, with the whole complex undergoing a major facelift.