Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has moved with speed to amend the 2018 budget statement presented late last year before Parliament to incorporate President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s desire to pay former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a gratuity and pension.
The amendment comes hardly two weeks after Harare Central MP Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T) asked why the Finance Bill was silent on the pension payments to Tsvangirai when it made reference to pensions of the President, Deputy President, Speaker of Parliament, Deputy Speaker, Senate President and Members of Parliament.
Part of the amendments that Chinamasa has recently introduced to the House for approval before the Finance Appropriation Bill is passed include one indicating additions to include a part specifying Tsvangirai’s benefits.
“On page 16 of the Bill in line 13 by the insertion (of) the following clauses (a) the long title to the Parliamentary Pensions Act (Chapter 2:02) by the insertion after the word “Parliament” of “the gratuity of a former Prime Minister’,” reads the amendment.
This comes just weeks after Mnangagwa paid Tsvangirai a shock visit along with Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga where it was reported that the former Prime Minister battling colon cancer had raised the issue.
Tsvangirai was also promised first option to buy the government mansion he is currently using. Mnangagwa has also availed a “generous” package for former President Robert Mugabe but has not said anything regarding former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
Mphoko has enlisted the services of MDC leader Welshman Ncube-a constitutional law expert-to fight for his “dues”.
Reports also claimed Mnangagwa also promised to take care of Tsvangirai’s medical expenses following reports the MDC-T leader was struggling to get by on that front as well as his diplomatic passport that was withdrawn following the conclusion of the Government of National Unity in 2013.
Tsvangirai served as the Premier between 2009 and 2013 when Mugabe was forced to set up a unity government following inconclusive but bloody general elections in 2008.
Mnangagwa’s gesture towards Tsvangirai has generated debate with some doubting his sincerity while others have praised him for doing what they thought former President Robert Mugabe wouldn’t have done.