FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru has reportedly offered to retain 12 of her 18 government aides after their contracts were terminated by the President’s Office last month following her recall from both Zanu PF and government, NewsDay has learnt.
By Everson Mushava
Impeccable sources yesterday told NewsDay that the 18 workers were recalled in writing by the Department of State Residences in the Office of the President before six of them were redeployed to other State residences.
It is understood that Mujuru chipped in and reportedly rehired the remaining 12 and offered to pay them from her own pocket.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday posted a message on his microblogging Twitter account disputing the NewsDay story that government had withdrawn Mujuru’s support staff.
However, NewsDay has in its possession a copy of the termination letter dated February 16 and signed by one C Sinyonde, on behalf of the Principal Director, State Residences.
The letter was copied to the Salary Service Bureau director and Comptroller and Auditor-General’s Office.
Part of the letter read: “Please be advised that the accounting officer has approved, in terms of Section 16 (1) of the Public Services Regulations 2000, that your contract be terminated with effect from duty on 31 March 2015. On termination, you will be paid cash in lieu of vacation days standing to your credit.”
The sources added: “These letters were sent to all the 18 employees working as Dr Mujuru’s aides at her residence, (but) 12 have chosen to remain with Mujuru while the other six were redeployed to State House.”
Mujuru, who was President Robert Mugabe’s deputy for 10 years until her ungracious departure last December, is, according to the Constitution, entitled to life benefits.
Section 102 of the Constitution on Remuneration of President and Vice-Presidents says: “A person who has ceased to be President or Vice-President is entitled to receive — (a) a pension equivalent to the salary of a sitting President or Vice-President, as the case may be; and (b) such allowances and other benefits as may be prescribed under an Act of Parliament.”
Section 103 of the Constitution says the benefits can only be withdrawn if her/she directly or indirectly holds any other public office or be employed by anyone else while her/she is in office or is receiving a pension from the State as former Vice-President.
Although Mujuru has been linked to a new political grouping calling itself the Original Zanu PF “People First”, she has not officially pronounced her role in the outfit.
The group is made up of disgruntled former Zanu PF members, who include former spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, among others.
Sources also said that Mujuru received her December salary in January, and since then she has not received her government salary.
But Moyo in another tweet said the delay would be on payment of her terminal benefits and not with salary as she was still on the government payroll.
“Nobody can take away her constitutional entitlements. No! Delayed disbursements, maybe,” he said.
Mujuru declined to comment over the matter yesterday while Moyo’s mobile phone went unanswered for the better part of the day.