Mugabe says he is still waiting for his $467‚000 pension

Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe holds a news conference at his private residence in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 29, 2018.
Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe holds a news conference at his private residence in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 29, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

After a 37-year-long rule in Zimbabwe‚ former ruler Robert Mugabe is upset that the administration of his protégé‚ Emmerson Mnangagwa‚ has not yet paid him his pension‚ which he said amounted to a paltry $467‚000.

Mugabe told journalists invited to his palatial mansion‚ Blue Roof‚ in Harare that reports that he had been paid a $10-million windfall after his fall from power last November were not true.

“So after I had resigned‚ I had to go to the pension office to say ‘what am I entitled to?’. And they said ‘okay‚ we will tell you what your entitlements are and the amount is a total of $467‚000. Yes‚ can you imagine‚ that was the total amount. Some people are talking about $10-million and you are entitled to two houses‚ one here‚ one elsewhere‚” said Mugabe.

His comments take a dig at the claim by Mnangagwa that the former ruler had been given a big retirement package. Mnangagwa has often claimed that Mugabe had received the “best” in terms of a retirement package‚ which includes a salary equivalent to that of a sitting president‚ medical aid an official home and staff whose upkeep is also paid for by the state among other things.

Mugabe also said that he wanted his wife‚ Grace‚ to be left alone and not continuously harassed by the state.

But the bulk of his two-hour long missive was a hint at that he would vote for opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa tomorrow because ZANU-PF had caused him too much pain.

Against a backdrop of a small lake on the grounds of his home‚ Mugabe denounced Zanu-PF‚ a party of which he is regarded as one of the founding fathers.

“I cannot vote for those who had reduced me to this condition‚” he said‚ referring to the coup d’etat in November which saw him replaced by former deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He said he would rather make a choice among the 22 presidential candidates vying for election‚ but went on to hint that those candidates‚ who had not made an impact in rallies‚ were not worth his vote.

“There is [MDC Alliance leader‚ Nelson] Chamisa‚” he concluded. “He seems to be doing well going by his rallies‚” he said. “Whoever wins‚ and if he does‚ we wish him well.”

He did not‚ however‚ agree with Chamisa’s view that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was biased towards the governing Zanu-PF party.

“I read that in the newspaper‚ but I thought it was political manoeuvrings by people who want things to be proper. I don’t think the electoral commission is captured‚ no‚” he said.

Mugabe said he would like to meet Chamisa should he win.

Mugabe‚ however‚ denied reports that he was politically or financially supporting Chamisa‚ and added he had never met him before. Mugabe said he had worked with the late MDC chairperson Morgan Tsvangirai in the government of national unity between the 2008 and 2013 elections.

“The voting will begin tomorrow‚ and this I regard as the greatest event that should happen and reform will thrust away the military from our government‚” he said.

He also urged parties to accept the outcome.

Asked how it felt not to be on the ballot paper for the first time in 38 years‚ Mugabe said: “That is the reality‚ and it is painful‚ but that is it.”

He spoke with bitterness about the events that forced his resignation in November‚ and denied that he had ever tried to thrust his wife‚ Grace‚ who was directing the media conference from the wings‚ towards the presidency. He said he had favoured former‚ defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi to succeed him.

“Let tomorrow decide that there should be a big ‘no’ to guns directing politics. Tomorrow‚ we the voice of the people‚ saying this‚ never again. We shall never again experience a period where the army is used to thrust one person into power.”

Mugabe also said his family had endured a lot of harassment since the coup.

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