Zimbabwean authorities have reportedly remained mum over the pension of former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko amid accusations by the country’s war veterans that he deserted his government position.
Mphoko lost his job after the new administration led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over following the resignation of ex-president Robert Mugabe in November.
Mphoko was the second deputy appointed in 2014 by Mugabe, along with current president Mnangagwa.
He had flown to Japan on official business the day before the army took over the country in an operation that culminated in Mugabe’s ouster.
But instead of returning home at the end of his mission, Mphoko sought sanctuary in Botswana.
He, however, eventually returned home a few days later and after some time, reportedly demanded an exit package.
‘He was not fired from government’
Mphoko’s demand came after Mnangagwa officially gazetted Mugabe’s exit package, which included first class air travel on four foreign trips per year; private houses and a veritable army of aides and domestic staff.
Last week the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association, (ZNLWVA) secretary general Victor Matemadanda maintained that Mphoko did not deserve an exit package.
“He is just seeking public relevance. What we know is that at the time Operation Restore Legacy was initiated, he was in Japan on government business and he chose not to come back to the country and instead went AWOL.
“He was not fired from government and when president Robert Mugabe resigned he was supposed to be acting president, but he deserted,” Matemadanda was quoted as saying in a News Day report.
Matemadanda said that Mphoko should not talk of a pension because he was not fired and he did not tender a resignation letter.
Reports indicated on Monday that the Zimbabwean government had remained mum over Mphoko’s package.
According to NewsDay, an opposition leader, who is also Mphoko’s lawyer, Welshman Ncube, said that they were still awaiting a government response over the matter.
“We have written to the government pointing out the constitutional obligation that they have, to the former vice president Mphoko … we have drawn their attention to the clauses in the Constitution … as things stand they are giving him all his other benefits in terms of his security, his close security, his police guard, they are all in place. We await for them to process his pension, his allowances in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Ncube was quoted as saying.
Ncube dismissed Matemadanda’s utterances, saying he was “a drunken man”, whose “opinion on Mphoko’s pension should not be taken seriously”