The President-Elect, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has said if his predecessor, former President Robert Mugabe, has issues which he wants to be addressed, he should approach both the ruling party and the government for redress.
In an interview with the Business Times, President Mnangagwa said the former President remained a respected statesman.
“Zvino ungati iwe munhu wakafamba makore akawanda nemusangano wako owusiya oenda kumwe uk. Uchisiya musangano wako, owusiya oyenda kumwe uko, uchisiya musangano wako, ah izvo hazvina kukodzera kuti rwendo rwavafamba voita zvakadaro,” Mnangagwa said.
“Imagine after being in ZANU PF for that long, he decides to dump it to back the opposition. That is unheard of,” President Mnangagwa said, adding that: “[Mugabe] wasn’t fired from the party. It is his wife, Grace, and her acolytes in G-40 that were expelled. l was shocked by his words. l wonder if he really meant them. But that is the freedom which is prevailing in the country.”
Breaking with tradition for the first time since the formation of ZANU in 1963, Mugabe threw his weight behind a party opposing ZANU PF in elections, this time supporting the MDC-Alliance and its presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, claiming that he could not vote for a party that had tormented him and his family.
“I cannot vote for a party or those in power who have brought me to this state,” Mugabe told a well-attended press conference held at his Blue Roof residence in Harare a day before the 30 July elections.
“I cannot vote for them,” Mugabe continued. “I have said that the two women presidential candidates do not offer very much. So what is there? It is only just Chamisa,” the former President said.
However, without Mugabe’s support, ZANU PF still went ahead to win the elections comfortably, garnering a two-thirds majority in Parliament, and its presidential candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwa, scoring a 50.8 percent win over Chamisa’s 44.3 percent.
Commenting on allegations that the ruling party and the government had withdrawn Mugabe’s security aides in the aftermath of his press conference on 29 July, Mnangagwa said the reports were not true.
“I am not aware of that,” the President-Elect told Business Times. “What l know is that his welfare is being well taken care of. If there are any developments suggesting otherwise, if there are things which were vandalised, he should let us know formally.”
About reports on Mugabe’s sagging roof, Mnangagwa said his predecessor was still entitled to his pension benefits, including a brand new house.
“From what we gave him as part of his retirement perks,” Mnangagwa explained, “he is entitled to a new house to be built for him or having his current residence renovated. That is entirely up to him. He is fully aware of that. He has the documents which show what he should receive.”
According to the presidents and surviving spouse’s emoluments Act, Mugabe is entitled to: (a) domestic service, (b) security service, (c) transport, (d) air travel, (e) medical service, (f) office accommodation, (g) secretarial services, (h) entertainment allowance, and other services and facilities.
Late last year, the government published the presidential emoluments in an Extraordinary Government Gazette titled “Presdential Pension and Retirement Benefits (Services and Facilities for former Presidents) Notice, 2017”.
The benefits gazetted included a State-funded domestic worker, a gardener, two drivers, a private secretary, a close security unit officer, two aide-de-camp officers, a Mercedes-Benz car, a colour television set, an official office and telephone, in addition to medical aid and air travel allowances.