Robert Mugabe has last laugh after being granted immunity and fat retirement package
Zimbabwe was once one of Africa’s most promising economies and even dubbed the breadbasket of Africa
Mugabe has been granted immunity from prosecution and assured that his safety would be protected in his home country as part of a deal that led to his resignation, according to sources close to the negotiations.
Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, stepped down on Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him.
A government source said the 93year old leader, told negotiators he wanted to die in Zimbabwe and had no plans to live in exile.
“It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it,” said the source, who sought anonymity since he is not authorised to speak on the details of the negotiated settlement.
“For him it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country...although that will not stop him from travelling abroad when he wants to or has to,” the source said.
Zambia had even sent its former president to speak to Mugabe and offered the veteran leader asylum which he turned down.
“I had talked to him [and said] that if the chips are down you can come here but he refused saying that his home was Zimbabwe and he will remain there.” Zambian President, Edgar Lungu is quoted by Zambia reports, as saying.
Zimbabwe was once one of Africa’s most promising economies and even dubbed the breadbasket of Africa but decades of decline bad policies that included the violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms and money-printing has reduced Zimbabwe to a basket case.
During Mugabe’s 37 years reign his government has been accused of some of the most violent human right abuses and most of its 13 million people remain poor and jobless.
Mugabe’s political downfall is attributed to his young wife, Grace Mugabe who wanted to succeed him and fell out with ZANU-PF party officials whom she considered a threat like Emmanuel Mnangagwa who is set to be sworn in as President on Friday.
“The outgoing president is obviously aware of the public hostility to his wife, the anger in some circles about the manner in which she conducted herself and approached ZANU-PF party politics,” a second source said.
‘Gucci Grace’ as his wife has been nicknamed due to her lavish lifestyle especially when the country was facing hard economic times may also have rubbed Zimbabweans the wrong way.
Mugabe’s sons who are known for their wild parties and extravagant lifestyle have also dented the image of the former leader.
“In that regard, it became necessary to also assure him that his whole family, including the wife, would be safe and secure.”
As part of his resignation deal, Mugabe will receive a retirement package that includes a pension, housing, holiday and transport allowance, health insurance, limited air travel and security.
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