Plans for Mugabe’s graceful exit

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC is investigating ways to sweeten a retirement package for President Robert Mugabe that may include the possibility of sponsoring a Bill in Parliament to entice him into quitting.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

It is not clear if the plan will fly given that a similar golden handshake to six Zanu (PF) provincial governors was rejected by Zanu (PF).

The governors were supposed to be axed to make way for five mainstream MDC governors and one from the Arthur Mutambara-led formation of the MDC in line with the agreement that birthed the so-called unity government.

Official sources said the MDC could introduce a motion in Parliament if it felt that it would garner sufficient support from its allies in the other MDC faction and Zanu (PF).

The strategy would be to improve Mugabe's retirement benefits in an attempt to entice the veteran politician to make "a graceful exit". The issue was said to be part of secret talks underway between the MDC and doves in Zanu (PF).

"This is not just a question of political opportunism," said our source, a senior MDC official. "This is a question of national survival."

He said it was now accepted by Zimbabweans across the political spectrum, as well as by the regional and international community, that Mugabe was a national liability.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has said Mugabe’s departure would be in "the best interests of everyone."

Western donors, seen as key in raising much of the government's $8,3 billion funding requirements, are holding back aid and demanding broad political reforms.

"The current state of affairs is leading us no-where," said the official. "Mugabe has to be forced to retire. He must be assured that the nation recognises his contribution as father of this nation, and that we don't want to engage in retribution when he goes because it sets a wrong precedent for the future."

The governors’ deal that was rejected included a cash payout, entitlement to their all terrain 4X4 and Mercedes Benz vehicles; housing, cell phone, electricity and rates allowances.

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