22 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Court to Decide On Mphoko Pension, Says Charamba

The government will decide whether to grant former vice-president Phelekezela Mphoko his terminal benefits after the High Court makes a determination on his application, a senior government official revealed.

Mphoko was fired from government and Zanu PF in November 2017 following the military coup which toppled former president Robert Mugabe.

Mphoko was appointed vice-president by Mugabe on December 10 2014 alongside the then co-vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa. He was given the mandate of leading the national healing, peace and reconciliation process.

However, he was fired after Mnangagwa rose to the presidency on the back of the coup.

Mphoko has been demanding full benefits from the government, but the authorities have declined, arguing he did not serve a full term.

Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba this week told the Zimbabwe Independent Mphoko would have to wait for a court decision before the government decides what to do.

"That is a matter that should be very easy to understand for everybody. We have someone who approached the courts seeking a decision towards the finalisation of this matter in court," said Charamba. "He has chosen that route and government will, as natural justice dictates, stand guided by the decision of that court. Government will have to wait for a time when the matter will be concluded and it is that conclusion that will determine what course of action to take."

Asked to comment on whether there was any part of Mphoko's demands that government was contesting, Charamba said there were grey areas that the court would have to ventilate, pertaining to the demands of the former vice-president.

"The issue under dispute is not really that he deserves so much. Those issues are clearly defined in the constitution when you deal with the aspect of the benefits of a former vice-president in Section 102 of the constitution," Charamba said. "The matter that the courts will have to grapple with in this case is whether the former vice-president meets that requirement and definition of a person who has served a full term as a vice-president as enshrined in the constitution.

"That section clearly spells out who is a vice-president, what package he is entitled to, and whether he is entitled to a full package or not. If he did meet the requirements, he will be entitled to the full package as enshrined in the constitution. If he does not, which is clear in the case of this former vice-president, then there would be a challenge which needs to be dealt with."

Section 102 of the constitution stipulates that "... A person who has ceased to be President or Vice-President is entitled to receive a pension equivalent to the salary of a sitting President or Vice-President, as the case may be; and such allowances and other benefits as may be prescribed under an Act of Parliament." -- Staff Writer.--

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