FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru has not yet decided on whether she will accept or reject her pension and terminal benefits gazetted by President Robert Mugabe early this month.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
The benefits were gazetted on August 7 under
Statutory Instrument 86/2015 on Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits.
“We are still studying the offer,” Mujuru’s close ally and former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said.
“I cannot say whether she has accepted or declined it at this moment.”
The pension package that Mujuru will get, if she accepts it, will include a domestic worker, a gardener, two drivers, a private secretary, a close security unit officer, two aides-de-camp (military) officers, the use of a Mercedes-Benz motor vehicle and a colour television set, as well as medical cover and air travel once a year.
Quizzed on whether Mujuru thought Mugabe was dangling a carrot with a view to weaken her resolve to venture into opposition politics, Gumbo said: “Could I request that you be patient a bit while we make a determination on the issue?
“Give us the benefit of doubt to deal with the matter in our own way before we make concrete conclusions.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mujuru on the issue were fruitless as her mobile phone went unanswered.
She also did not respond to messages sent to her mobile phone.
Constitutional law experts say Mujuru’s refusal of the offer would signify her resolve to venture into opposition politics.
Constitutional law expert Greg Linington said if Mujuru were to reject the pension offer, it might signal her clear intention to make a clean break from Mugabe and her past associations with the ruling Zanu PF government.
“If she refuses the offer, it might be indicative of her wish to break ranks with Zanu PF and Mugabe,” he said.
“It will be an indication that she wants to go her own way politically. She might be saying she wants a clean break with her political past.”
Law professor and constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said the irony was that the Statutory Instrument was being personalised to Mujuru because she happened to be the only surviving former Vice-President.
“The Statutory Instrument is meant for all people who will serve as Vice-Presidents now and in the future,” he said.
“We had such a provision for the President in the old Constitution, but now there is a section in the new Constitution that provides for a pension and other benefits for former VPs.
“It is a general statute meant to operationalise a constitutional provision.
“It is nothing beyond that.
“Mujuru would have done the nation a favour if she rejects the pension and benefits because it means we will not need to fund her for life.”
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure last week argued Mugabe’s carrot could be Mujuru’s political Waterloo, which would most likely quash any efforts to turn the People First project into a political party.