Â At a meeting of its policy-making body, the politburo on Friday, the party was sharply divided on how to respond to its electoral defeat by the opposition MDC. But it decided to refuse a peaceful, democratic transition – setting a dangerous precedent for the regional bloc, SADC.
Sources told The Zimbabwean that hardliners in the Politburo insisted that Mugabe go into a run-off, while moderates, such as Solomon Mujuru, who were insisting that the veteran ruler concede defeat and step down to save himself from further embarrassment.
Reports abound of secret meetings between the ruling party and the opposition amid reports Zanu (PF) has dispatched Nicholas Goche to seek an audience with the MDC. But Tsvangirai’s spokesman George Sibotshiwe professed ignorance of the private meetings and said he meets Tsvangirai every morning for briefings and he was not privy to this.
Impeccable sources said Mugabe had demanded guarantees of immunity against prosecution for the crimes he has committed during his bloody reign and lavish retirement benefits. He also demanded a golden handshake that will include a hefty pension, monthly pension amounting to 80 percent of his last salary, security and eventually a state funeral. The move is the first official acknowledgement of President Mugabe’s impending departure after elections which he has lost dismally.
Mugabe is said to have told his family that he has lost but hardliners in his Joint Operations Command opposed his retirement plans. The most professional General, Phillip Valerio Sibanda, is said to be insisting that Mugabe goes now. Goche told the MDC team that Mugabe wanted an MDC government to pay for his medical care and that of his family. Other perks will include three cooks, two housekeepers, and maintenance of his swimming pool, sauna, a tennis court and a gym.
Sauna, gym and state funeral
... Mugabe's exit demands.Â
Zanu (PF), which has ruled Zimbabwe for 28 years, has had its backbone broken - but is determined to fight on to the bitter end.Â