Zimbabwean delegates shift attention to hotel for lack of luxury

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Delegates to Zimbabwe’s power-sharing talks are shuttling from one guesthouse to another in South Africa with some complaining that their rooms do not have minibars.

The delegates — who include Zimbabwean justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti are said to be unhappy about their accommodation’s supposed lack of luxury.

The South African government is footing the bill for the talks, which are aimed at ending Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

The talks are taking place in complete secrecy.

One MDC top delegate who briefly flew to Harare at the weekend to attend a family funeral said Sunday that the 12 member delegates are booked at Ingwenya Country Escape in Muldersdrift, a three star 160ha estate in Johannesburg. They checked in on Tuesday evening.

She said the MDC delegates were flown in separately by the South African Air Force after “ Zanu PF guys refused to fly with us”.

All security checks up were thoroughly done at Ingwenya, which boasts a brand-new, state-of-the-art conference facility as well as a spa, wine garden, restaurants and a whisky, she said.

“The SA government paid R750000 for total exclusivity of the venue until August 5” she said.

“But the entire delegation left a mere 24 hours after checking in — because they were unhappy with the accommodation”

This was after Chinamasa of Zanu PF complained that not all the rooms were the same.

This caused friction among some of the delegates, who believed they were not being treated equally.

Chinamasa said his room did not have a minibar.

The source said the group left on Wednesday night, escorted by police to a five-star guesthouse in Pretoria.

The delegation also includes MDC deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma, who represents the main faction of the MDC; Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, respectively secretary-general and deputy secretary-general of the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC faction; and public services minister Nicholas Goche, who represents Zanu-PF.

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