Tsvangirai claims that President Robert Mugabe has refused to give him a pension because the former Prime Minister in the Government of National Unity (GNU) refused to endorse his electoral victory in the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections.
But analysts this week said the former trade unionist has no legal basis to claim a pension after serving in the inclusive government that ran the country between 2009 and 2013.
Lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional law expert, this week said there was no law providing Tsvangirai a pension, adding that even if he was owed any, he could not claim it from President Mugabe.
“(President) Mugabe is not a pensions officer, so if he has any claim to make, he should know where to go… why should he want (President) Mugabe to approve his pension?” queried Madhuku.
He added that if Tsvangirai were a principled leader, he would not accept payments that could compromise his integrity.
But fellow opposition politician and lawyer, Jacob Mafume, told the Financial Gazette that while indeed there was no provision at law for Tsvangirai to be given a pension, it was only morally right to extend one to him.
“We believe that we need to allow our politicians to retire in dignity and appropriately. The reason why they cling on to posts is because they are not given a cushion to rest on hence they have to continue as politicians if their lifestyles are not to change,” he said.
“The ex-PM has no law in place that allows him a pension, but that law can be made quickly after having held that post, and to pretend that it was nothing is why Zimbabwe is a cursed nation… we only celebrate dead heroes with granite tombstones, but the living ones are scorned and neglected. What harm will befall our country if he gets the pension?”
Mafume said it was an oversight that the matter was left out during the constitution-making process but it can still be corrected.
This week, Tsvangirai’s spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, said there were precedents of people who served as Prime Ministers for whatever period and got their pensions.
He cited Abel Muzorewa, who served for six or so months and got his pension as well as Ian Smith.
“We are talking here of a Prime Minister, who, according to the Constitution, was equal to the President. According to the Global Political Agreement, the two shared executive authority and he served almost five years. Even others who served in lesser positions like former Speaker of Parliament Honourable Lovemore Moyo got their pensions,” Tamborinyoka said.
His response, however, skirted issues raised because all the people that he referred to — from Smith to Moyo — had their pensions provided for under the law. financial gazette