THE government is currently renovating both Harare and Bulawayo State Houses, which had been neglected by the former First Family since ex-President Robert Mugabe and former First Lady Grace took residency at their leafy Blue Roof mansion.
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Insiders, who spoke to NewsDay, said the property had become a jungle, with most buildings having become inhabitable and roofs left leaking, affecting floors, ceilings and walls, which were now undergoing a paint job.
Director of State Residences Douglas Tapfuma confirmed that government had availed resources for renovations, which have been underway for the past month.
“That place had been neglected. It’s true walls were falling off. Look, State House was no longer State House when I got there. Things were in a mess that’s what I can tell you,” he said.
Tapfuma refused to disclose how much government had poured into the renovation process, saying they were more concerned about restoring the houses to their original form and habitability.
“We are not worried about the money. We just want to restore these houses to a state where they are a national pride. These are the houses that show the status of our nation and surely, they should be maintained to those levels,” he said.
The Mugabes had neglected even the toilets, particularly at Zimbabwe House, where flush handles were said to have been broken.
Sports facilities, including the tennis courts, had become unusable, such that repairman had to cut down trees that had grown through the courts and build new courts altogether, as the old ones could not be repaired.
The repairs are happening in the absence of the First Family, who are yet to take residency at State House and are still using their private homestead.
Sources told NewsDay President Emmerson Mnangagwa will only move into State House after the elections and not before, in case he loses.