MUGABE’S EXIT PACKAGE SETS TONGUES WAGGING OVER BENEFITS
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has given the country’s deposed former leader Robert Mugabe an eye-watering exit package which includes benefits commensurate with those of a sitting head of State.
Details of the frail nonagenarian’s massive golden handshake were announced in the Government Gazette on Friday under Presidential Pension and Retirement Packages Notice 2017.
Meanwhile, the Daily News has also learnt that the publicised exit package does not include the $10 million which was dangled to the soon to be 94-year-old as part of the negotiations which led to his ouster last month — and which also culminated in him being granted immunity from prosecution.
Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for close to four decades, “resigned” from the top office on November 21 this year — hours after Parliament had initiated proceedings to impeach him. This happened after he had refused to leave office during eight tense days that began with the military intervening in the governance of the country.
“The president, in terms of section 3(1) of the Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits Act, hereby makes the following notice: “A former president of Zimbabwe, who has at any time since the 31st December 1987, been president of Zimbabwe for at least one full term of office, shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the following services, facilities and allowances — staff (a) the services of — (i) such security personnel as may be determined by the president, but no less than six, and to be increased by such number as may be determined by the president whenever and for such period as the need arises; and (ii) two drivers and (iii) two private secretaries; and (iv) two aide-de-camp officers or personal assistants; and (v) two office attendants,” read the notice in Friday’s Government Gazette.
The publicised raft of benefits details the number of staff at Mugabe’s disposal, as well as office and accommodation arrangements, including a private residence on a 5 000 square metres piece of land; comprehensive medical cover for him, his wife and children, as well as transport that includes top-of-the-range vehicles.
Mugabe and Grace are also entitled to diplomatic passports and private, first class international air travel up — to a maximum of four trips per year.
Mugabe will also receive a Mercedes Benz S500 series or any equivalent vehicle, one four-wheel drive station wagon or an equivalent vehicle, and one pick up van.
Apart from maintaining and fuelling the vehicles, government will also be obliged to replace all the vehicles after five years.
The 93-year-old also has the option of maintaining his long motorcade after government notified that Mugabe was entitled to the provision of “such adequate number of vehicles as may be determined by the president and which must be put at the disposal of the security personnel and other staff serving the former president”.
Mugabe will also be entitled to a landline telephone, a cellphone, two computers and “such other office equipment and materials as may be determined by the president”.
In terms of accommodation, the former Zanu PF supremo will be provided with “a fully furnished official residence at any place in Harare”.
The housing benefits will also include any such befitting request made by Mugabe within two months of leaving office.
According to the gazette, Mugabe may request the construction of a single private residence at any place of his choice in Zimbabwe, and it will be granted. If he so chooses, he can also request for the payment of a lump sum which is equal or equivalent to the value of the private residence he so desires.
“In the case of his official residence … if the president (Mugabe) dies, his or her surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, his or her dependent child must continue to be provided with suitable state residential accommodation until – (i) in the case of a surviving spouse, the date on which he or she dies or remarries, whichever event occurs first; and (ii) in the case of the dependent child, the date which he or she dies or the date on which he or she attains the age of 21 years, whichever event occurs first,” the gazette reads.
The private residence is to be constructed on land not exceeding 5 000 square metres and the residence itself may not exceed a reasonably-sized house with five bedrooms, a guest wing with three bedrooms, a study, a swimming pool, two guardrooms and two garages.
In connection with the residence, government will on behalf of Mugabe employ three domestic workers, two gardeners, two cooks, two waiters and two laundry personnel.