Mugabe expected to attend inauguration of new president-Report
Harere, Nov. 23, 2017 (AltAfrika)-There are indications that Robert Mugabe is planning to attend the inauguration of the man who deposed him as ruler of Zimbabwe, according to officials of the country’s ruling party. The appearance of the former President at the ceremony is viewed as an attempt to portray a natural transfer of power, rather than change at the top initiated by a military coup.
Mr Mugabe, it is claimed, will inspect the guard of honour as the mark of his departure at the ceremony at the National Sports Stadium before Emmerson Mnangagwa is presented as the new head of state.
Reports of Mr Mugabe’s role in the inauguration came as there was further confirmation that he and his wife Grace, who has faced allegations of abuse and corruption, were granted immunity in return for his resignation.
A Zanu-PF official said that the 93-year-old President was adamant during talks over him stepping down that he did not want to go into exile and die outside the land he had helped free from white minority rule. “It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it”.
The immunity offer, according to those familiar with the negotiations, was already on offer last Sunday when Mr Mugabe was due to resign on national television. Instead he used his speech to assert that he intended to carry on as President. He finally resigned on Tuesday as parliament began the process for his impeachment and possible prosecution.
The chief whip of Zanu-PF told The Independent on Wednesday that there needs to be a place for Mr Mugabe in Zimbabwean public life. “Now that he has tendered his resignation, he has also saved his face. He is a man who did a lot for his country and needed to rest. He can be an advisor to the party,” said Lovemore Matuke.
“Prosecuting him was never part of the plan,” Mr Matuke told reporters on Thursday, adding that Mr Mugabe “is safe, his family is safe and his status as a hero of his country is assured”.
Mr and his wife Grace will continue to receive protection and he will be entitled to a package which includes a pension, housing, holiday and transport allowance, health insurance, and air travel. It has been suggested that Mr Mugabe may travel to Singapore for medical checks in the weeks ahead, having planned to visit the country before the military put him under house arrest.
It is not known whether Ms Mugabe, who was sacked as Zanu-PF’s women’s leader at the same meeting during which her husband was stripped of leadership, will get the same, or any benefits. There is a groundswell of public anger towards the woman nicknamed “Gucci Grace” and “DisGrace” by her many opponents.
To that end, Mr Mnangagwa – who has labelled himself the “president designate” – issued a statement urging the country’s citizens not to undertake any form of “vengeful retribution”. Some of his supporters have been calling for unspecified action against the G40 group that backed Mr Mugabe and his wife.
Mr Mnangagwa, who had been fired from the post of Vice President by Mr Mugabe, had already said on his return from exile in South Africa on Wednesday evening that he had been in close touch with the armed forces as the putsch was being planned and executed. “I was in constant contact with service chiefs throughout. I wish to thank the manner in which our defence forces and General [Constantino] Chiwenga have managed this process very peacefully”, he told a crowd at the headquarters of Zanu-PF.