By Azania Post Reporter
LEGAL experts in Zimbabwe have reaffirmed that what interim President Emmerson Mnangagwa did was right when he gazetted pensions and retirement benefits entitled to a former Head of State and government leaders , saying that were acted within the law.
The call by legal officers has come amid complaints by a section of the general public who contracted the announcements of the benefits entitled to a retired President and Vice-President saying that it should have been taken to parliament for discussion.
The benefits were published last week in an Extraordinary Government Gazette in terms of Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits (Services and Facilities for former Presidents) Notice, 2017.
Former President who resigned Mr. Robert Mugabe is expected to be the inaugural beneficiary of the entitlements, while former Vice President Joyce Mujuru is enjoying relevant benefits as outlined in Statutory Instrument 86 of 2015.
The Statutory Instrument outlining Dr Mujuru’s benefits reads in part: “A former Vice-President of Zimbabwe who has at any time since December 1987 been Vice President of Zimbabwe for at least one full term of office, shall be entitled to use and enjoyment of the prescribed services, facilities and allowances.
These are a domestic worker, a gardener, two drivers, a private secretary, a close security unit officer, two aide-de-camp officers. Others includes the use of a Mercedes-Benz motor vehicle, a colour television set, an official office and telephone and an allowance covering medical aid contributions and for air travel (once a year).
Constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said there was nothing amiss with President Mnangagwa’s actions.
“The main issues of benefits and allowances are already specified in the Presidential Pensions and Retirement Benefits Act. Section 3 of that Act lists benefits and allowances that are due to a former President and what is only left to the sitting President to determine is the quantum of those benefits, which is what was gazetted last week,” he said.
The allowances and services to which former Presidents and surviving spouses are entitled to as listed in the Act are the domestic service, security service, transport, air travel, medical service, office accommodation, secretarial services, entertainment allowance and other services or facilities.
Professor Madhuku said the law also required the President to table the Statutory Instrument in Parliament within 14 days from the day it resumes sitting.
“The President is only given a limited role to determine the quantum of the benefits and can only be questioned on that and not on whether a former President deserves it or not as the public debate seems to be suggesting,” Professor Madhuku added.
Minister of State for Mashona land Central Provincial Affairs Advocate Martin Dinha concurred, saying the gazetting of the benefits was in line with the law.
“Speaking as a lawyer, I categorically submit that the promulgation of the notice by President Mnangagwa as set out in terms of Section 3(1) of the Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits Act was done.
The law is clear on this aspect and was in existence prior to the notice. So anyone saying the matter should have gone to Parliament or any other authority is ignorant of the law,” he said.