Golden handshake for Tsvangirai
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai is set to get a golden handshake that includes a gratuity, medical cover and the Highlands mansion he occupied during his tenure as Prime Minister, a Cabinet minister has said.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa said President Mnangagwa had resolved to make the payments after he paid a visit to Mr Tsvangirai at his residence where the Head of State and Government undertook to look into the welfare of the former Prime Minister.
Minister Chinamasa said this in the National Assembly on Thursday while responding to concerns from MDC-T legislators during debate on the Finance Bill which seeks to give legal effect to the 2018 National Budget.
The Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill have since sailed through the National Assembly and now await transmission to Senate.
Harare Central MP Mr Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T) had asked why the Finance Bill was silent on the pension payments to Mr Tsvangirai when it makes reference to pensions of the President, Deputy President, Speaker of Parliament, Deputy Speaker, Senate President and Members of Parliament.
“Hon Zwizwai raises a matter which I have discussed with him and I want to repeat what I told him,” said Mr Chinamasa.
“I told him that this is a matter that I have consulted with the President.
“When the President visited the former Prime Minister, he made assurances to him that he was going to address issues of welfare concerning him.
“Some of the undertakings that were made by the President to the former Prime Minister were to do with the ownership of the house which currently forms his residence and that an arrangement will be made to transfer ownership of that house to the former Prime Minister.
“There was also an undertaking made by the President to meet all the medical bills and arrears bills that had accumulated with respect to addressing the medical condition of the former Prime Minister.
“The President also promised him that he would look into the issue about his welfare. Having considered the issue, he came to the conclusion and he has asked me to convey this to this Chamber that he will make a generous lump sum, gratuity payment to the former Prime Minister.
“I want us to understand that the President is a man of his word. He will do so as soon as possible.”
Mkoba MP Mr Amos Chibaya (MDC-T) asked if that could be put in writing, to which Minister Chinamasa said it was not necessary since he had agreed on the methodology with MDC-T vice president Advocate Nelson Chamisa and Mr Zwizwai.
“When the President visited the former Prime Minister, he was not forced,” said Minister Chinamasa.
“That symbolised an act of goodwill on the part of the President because he knew that the former Prime Minister was ill.
“He made undertakings and I know that the President is a man of his word and he will keep it. I will remind him to keep it and let us respect those undertakings. Let us not try to politicise an issue which is straightforward.
“Under the law, the former Prime Minister was not catered for even as we were together in the inclusive Government. We did not amend the law to cater for the former Prime Minister. The Constitution at the moment does not refer to a former Prime Minister.”