Five weeks after the former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was forced to resign, the new administration has announced his retirement package, which has left many tongues wagging.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the new President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that the government has unveiled a new sendoff package for retired presidents, which will be fully funded by the public coffers.
As the first beneficiary of the new package, 93-year-old Mugabe will get three luxury vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz S500 Series or any other sedan of the same class, an all-terrain station wagon, and a pickup van, all of which will be replaced after every five years. The three cars will be fueled by the state.
On top of that, Mugabe and his wife Grace will enjoy first-class air and rail travel within Zimbabwe and private air trips abroad. They will also have diplomatic passports.
Additionally, the royal family will have 20 staffers, including 6 personal bodyguards for the former president, and a fully-furnished residential apartment within the Zimbabwean capital Harare. They will also be entitled to a health insurance cover that will be fully funded by the state.
Although the package doesn’t spell out the monetary benefits for the former head of state, the Zimbabwean constitution gives every retired president a pension that is equal to the salary of a sitting president.
The package has caused quite a stir on social media, with some experts suggesting that it could have been part of a negotiated agreement between the Zimbabwean military and Mugabe.
Immediately after Mugabe tendered his resignation letter, the local media reported that he had been granted a $10 million retirement bonus to persuade him to step down. But the government later refuted the reports saying the former President resigned voluntarily.
The new retirement package appears to have rubbed many Zimbabweans the wrong way given the current state of the country’s economy.
— Tari Lang (@tari_lang) December 29, 2017
Robert Mugabe’s retirement package: 20 staff, private air travel and a fleet of cars. I like to think I was a decent member of staff at #UCL, but I got none of this when I retired! https://t.co/lxlkxHSuwA
— Graham Scambler (@GrahamScambler) December 29, 2017
Some people even feel like the package gives the Mugabe’s, who had held the country hostage for close to four decades, the last laugh. It was under President Mugabe that the Zimbabwean economy almost collapsed, mainly due to mass looting of public resources and runaway corruption.