ZIMBABWE – President Mugabe has gazetted a statutory instrument that effectively makes it mandatory for the State to pay former Vice President Joice Mujuru terminal benefits.
It has been eight months since Mujuru was viciously ousted of ZANU PF and government and the latest move by Mugabe may indicate his mellowing attitude towards the former liberation fighter.
According to the Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits published in Statutory Instrument 86 of 2001, gazetted on August 7, Mujuruis entitled to several benefits that include personal security, medical aid, travel allowances and domestic workers.
“The President, in terms of Section 3 (1) of the Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits Act, hereby makes the following notice. This notice may be cited as the Presidential Pensions and Retirement Benefits (services and facilities for former VPs) notice 2015,” reads the notice in part.
It further states that former a former Vice President of Zimbabwe, who has as any time since December 31, 1987 been Vice President for at least one full term of office, shall be entitled to use and enjoyment of the following services, facilities and allowances.
The statutory requirements are a slap on the face of controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe who recently told a rally in Binga that Mujuru did not deserve any benefits because she had failed in her job as Vice President.
Although efforts to contact Mujuru on her sentiments over the latest statutory instrument were futile, she has previously briefed this publication that the State has been ruthless in stripping her of all benefits normally accorded to a former VP. She has however insisted that she was not bitter and was unlikely to challenge Mugabe whom she regards as a father figure in any election. Mujuru’s apparent hesitant to openly declare her political plans have been viewed by some of her sympathisers as an act of cowardice.
Former ZANU PF Mashonaland West chairperson Temba Mliswa recently took a swipe at Mujuru for her lack of courage in challenging ZANU PF. Mliswa said Mujuru lacked the required political stamina to confront the system that overnight reduced her into a nonentity and villain.
Although her decorated husband the late General Mujuru is buried at the National Heroes Acre, Mujuru failed to attend the Heroes Day commemorations held at the national shrine in apparent fear of a backlash from ZANU PF zealots.
Mujuru is the first Vice President in independent Zimbabwe to leave office alive. All the other Vice Presidents- Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda , Joseph Msika and John Nkomo all died while serving their terms in office.