President Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed how he refused to approve former leader Robert Mugabe’s bloated 38-passenger entourage for his latest Singapore medical trip.
Mnangagwa, who took over from his former boss of 54 year following a coup two months ago, said this in an interview with the Financial Times.
He said after he had received Mugabe’s request for a plane to Singapore he called back to query the number of people to travel with his former leader.
“I phoned back and said: ‘Chef, you are going for a medical check-up. Why do you want 38 people?’
“He said: ‘Emmerson, I don’t know that list. I know it’s myself, my wife and my family.’
“I said: ‘No…You know the new dispensation…it’s a leaner cabinet. That can’t be understood if you are going to go for a medical check-up with a big number.’
“He says: ‘Emmerson. He never says Mr President. He just calls me Emmerson.”
However, despite that, Mugabe did end up taking a 767 to Singapore and back for just 22 people. According to the report, Mugabe was to ring from Singapore seeking a smaller plane for the return trip, but the memo never reached Air Zimbabwe.
These revelations come after the new government approved a “swanky pension” package including up to 23 staff and four international trips a year for Mugabe.
According to a government gazette signed by Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s wife will also benefit.
Asked if “Mugabe will have amnesty in the event of an investigation into abuses on his watch” Mnangagwa looked “surprised”, the report said.
According to the report, Mnangagwa said an ex-president loses the immunity he had in office but added to say didn’t see “any possibility of us taking him to court or prosecuting him for anything…He’s our father figure…our founding father. We’ll do everything in our power to keep him happy.”
– New Zimbabwe