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Will Former VP Mphoko Get A Pension?

Former Zimbabwe Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko (L) and President Emmerson Mnangagwa (R). (Collage by Ntungamili NKomo)
Former Zimbabwe Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko (L) and President Emmerson Mnangagwa (R). (Collage by Ntungamili NKomo)

Zimbabwe’s former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has reportedly hired Professor Welshman Ncube in an attempt to get his terminal benefits following his removal from office after the fall of former president Robert Mugabe.

According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Mphoko, who was outside Zimbabwe when Mugabe was removed from office by the ruling Zanu PF party inconjunction with the military last November, is using some provisions of the country’s constitution to demand his severance package.

The newspaper quoted Ncube, who is leader of another faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, as saying that he is representing Mphoko on that issue. He did not elaborate.

Section 102 of Zimbabwe’s 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.”

Section 103 adds that, “The President and Vice-Presidents, and any former President or Vice-President, must not, directly or indirectly, hold any other public office or be employed by anyone else while they are in office or are receiving a pension from the State as former President or Vice-President, as the case may be.”

Legal experts say Mphoko is entitled to a pension as he held the office of vice president of Zimbabwe regardless of being removed from office without completing his term of office.

“The law is silent on completing one’s term of office as a precondition for getting a pension. One can resign, fired or forcibly removed from office and still get a pension as a former head of state or deputy president.”

Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku is quoted by the newspaper as saying, “What defines a term is a constitutional instrument. The Constitution does not require any Vice President to have served any term. The Constitution requires a Vice President to have been a Vice President.

“He is entitled to his full benefits in terms of the law. It doesn’t matter how long he served. Even a person who has been a vice president for two hours qualifies for full benefits. The constitutional provision states that a President and a vice president upon leaving office are entitled to the same salary as the serving president or vice president for the remainder of their life.”

Mphoko was linked to a Zanu PF faction known as Generation 40, which wanted former First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband. The faction was silenced by the military that helped Emmerson Mnangagwa to forcibly remove Mugabe.