Mugabe demands spark outrage

Mr Mugabe

Mr Mugabe

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS from all walks of life have roundly condemned former President Robert Mugabe following startling revelations that he is demanding his pension lump sum in cash after years of getting his salary using the same arrangement.

According to documents in possession of our sister paper, The Sunday Mail, the former President is demanding his pension lump sum of nearly half-a-million dollars and monthly pension pay out of over $13 000 in cash.

The documents also reveal that Mr Mugabe had been getting monthly cash payments of $20 000 while still Head of State and Government, even as ordinary Zimbabweans queued for days on end to access amounts as low as $20 from banks.

It has also been established that former First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe is also getting a monthly payment of $2 170 from the State.

Police were unleashed on those who spoke out at bank queues as Mr Mugabe and his wife sat pretty, getting cash.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from Mr Mugabe, was left bemused by the arrangement, saying it was highly irregular and irresponsible and opted to have his salary paid through a bank transfer.

The Chronicle yesterday took to the streets and spoke to ordinary residents, politicians and lawyers in Bulawayo over the issue.

A Bulawayo constitutional lawyer, Mr Dumisani Dube, said Mr Mugabe’s demands were a violation of anti-money laundering laws.

“Mr Mugabe’s demands are against anti-money laundering laws which were put in place to curb terrorism among other criminal activities. Anti-money laundering specifically refers to all policies and pieces of legislation that force financial institutions to proactively monitor their clients in order to prevent money laundering and corruption. So why does Mr Mugabe, a private citizen, want such a huge amount in cash when the generality of people are struggling to access even $100 per week?” he queried.

“In South Africa you cannot even withdraw $100 000 without first complying with the South African Reserve Bank regulations on money laundering and terror. In light of that, we can only speculate that Mr Mugabe wants to use the money for illicit activities.”

Mr Dube urged Mr Mugabe to embrace plastic money.

“We are living in a cashless society and there is no justification why someone would want to carry such huge amounts in cash.

Another Bulawayo lawyer, Mr Abednico Ndebele, who is a retired magistrate, had no kind words for the former Head of State and Government.

“We know that Mr Mugabe is constitutionally entitled to his pension and other benefits, but for him to demand that money in cash is something that cannot be condoned considering the prevailing situation in Zimbabwe. He is being unreasonable and this is actually a contradiction of what he used to preach when he was still the President that we should embrace plastic money,” he said.

“Pensioners spend several hours if not days trying to withdraw their money, which is merely pittance, and we have National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees who have gone for years without pay, but here is a man who is not even ashamed to demand a lump sum of almost half-a-million in cash.”

People queue for money at a local bank in Bulawayo in this file picture

People queue for money at a local bank in Bulawayo in this file picture

Mr Ndebele said Mr Mugabe is not different from other citizens, among them war veterans, who endure long queues to access their pensions.

“We have war veterans who literally sleep in queues to access between $20 and $50 per day. In fact, people queue for days and at times money runs out while they are still in the queue. It is outrageous and uncalled for to have such a small family that has put us in this quagmire, to demand this whole lot of money in cash yet the generality of people queue to get coins,” he said.

“So in essence, what Mr Mugabe is saying is that every dollar that CBZ Bank gets is supposed to be given to him. If Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is a sitting President, is getting his salary through the normal banking system, what makes Mr Mugabe think he is special?”

Mr Kucaca Phulu, a prominent lawyer and vice president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), scoffed at Mr Mugabe’s demands, saying the former President is his “own worst enemy” who steered the country towards a wrong economic direction.

“Mr Mugabe’s economic policies scared away potential investors resulting in this cash crisis that we are now reeling under. In fact, the Government of the day has an obligation to pay a former President his pension dues, but however, for Mr Mugabe to go to the extent of climbing up the mountain and start making noise, demanding cash is incongruous yet his fellow pensioners are struggling to get their little pay outs in the banking halls,” he said.

Mr Phulu said the former President should face reality and feel the pinch like every Zimbabwean. “If anything the Government should prioritise paying NRZ workers their outstanding salaries, social grants to the elderly, which are key issues that need to be addressed. I therefore urge Mr Mugabe, in his capacity as a senior opposition leader, to start making noise about these burning issues so that they are promptly addressed,” he said.

Mr Phulu said Mr Mugabe should be held accountable for engineering the collapse of the economy through his unfriendly economic policies. He said the money that Mrs Grace Mugabe is getting was also unjustifiable given that thousands of people are jobless and underpaid. Mr Winos Dube, the chairperson of the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (BURA), described Mr Mugabe’s demands as “shocking and outrageous.”

“This is quite shocking and shameful for the former President to actually demand such a huge amount in cash when the country is facing a serious liquidity crunch. In fact, he should join the queues in the banking halls just like any other citizen,” he said.

Mr Dube said they have no problem with Mr Mugabe receiving his pension, which he is constitutionally entitled to.

He, however, said the former President should access his money through the formal banking system.

“We are really surprised to find a man of his (Mr Mugabe) status, a very seasoned elderly statesman who wants cash in a country that he knows very well that it is cash-strapped. He should know the situation better than anyone else considering that he has been at the helm of this country for the past 37 years,” he said.

Mr Dube said it was annoying for Mr Mugabe to demand such a huge amount in cash when ordinary citizens, among them the elderly and pensioners, spend sleepless nights queueing for money in the banks. “Where does he expect the money to come from? What has happened to a man who we used to respect, the founding father of this great nation? (Mr) Mugabe knows that everyone is struggling to access cash in the banks,” he said.

Another resident, Ms Concilia Ndiweni from New Lobengula weighed in: “Perhaps Mr Mugabe knows where the money is stashed. Honestly, it is shocking to have someone of his calibre making such unreasonable and unrealistic demands when everyone is struggling to get money from their banks let alone even 50 cents to board a kombi.”

A pensioner, Mr Kurirai Mushambi (70) from Gokwe said he came all the way from his rural home to collect a paltry $20 pension payout from NSSA. “It is sad that we come here and sleep outside the banking hall to collect $20.We read in newspapers that Mr Mugabe is demanding cash for his pension yet we are forced to come and sleep in the open queuing for our pension,” he said.

Another pensioner, Mr Daniel Mthanga (72) from Nkayi echoed Mr Mushambi’s sentiments.

“I retired from a security company in 2014. It is not fair for Mr Mugabe to demand such a huge amount in cash yet people like us have to sleep in the cold to collect small amounts. The same amount is eroded by transport costs and food. Mr Mugabe is being insincere and inconsiderate looking at the cash challenges that we are facing in the country,” he said.

On March 1, 2018, the Chair of the Public Service Commission Mr Mariyawanda Nzuwah wrote to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya asking monetary authorities to avail the cash for Mr Mugabe.

“The former President opted to commute one-third of his pension and he is therefore entitled to monthly pension of $13 333 and lump sum pension amounting to $467 200. The former President was being paid his salary in cash and he has requested that the same arrangement be maintained. “We are kindly requesting you to avail cash amounting to $467 200 and monthly cash amounts of $13 333 for us to pay the former President of Zimbabwe his pension benefits,” wrote Mr Nzuwah.

Since he resigned in November 2017, Mr Mugabe has received $80 000 in pension, while Mrs Mugabe has received $8 680. The payments to Mr Mugabe were made on January 5, 2018 ($40 000), January 29, 2018 ($20 000), and February 28, 2018.

The two payments on January 5 were because Mr Mugabe had not received his pension for November and December 2017 due to administrative issues hence the double instalment to offset arrears.

He got a third instalment at the end of January as his pension for that month, with the fourth also coming as scheduled in February.

Mrs Mugabe received instalments of $2 170 in November and December 2017, and January and February 2018.

Contrary to uncertainty surrounding pay dates for civil servants during Mr Mugabe’s administration, the Mugabes’ pensions are reportedly coming on time and in cash. Under Mr Mugabe’s government, civil servants and pensioners were never sure of when they would be paid. — @mashnets

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  • Jah Child

    This Is Just The Beginning Of A Chaotic Country.

    • Mhlawuli

      Who ever sanctioned that should be held responsible. Someone getting 13000$, when companies are getting 300$ weekly. This is absurd and should be stopped. Mugabe should learn to join the queue like any pensioneer . Why are the powers that be treating him with kid gloves?

      • seka memo

        stop this nonsense Ed.mugabe should get hs dues through the bank.hamuna tsitsi vanhu imi

  • Mike Bararamhanya

    I do not think the Bobster is even aware he’s getting so much physical money. I’m almost certain Ntombizodwa is the sole culprit and beneficiary!

  • Concerned Citizen

    The cash lump sum for Mugabe can pay 23350 people the $20 cash withdrawals that ordinary people have to sleep in bank ques for.

  • msana we ngombe

    Why raise the stink now when this has been the arrangement all along? While i agree that such an arrangement is not fair considering the plight of the ordinary citizen in accessing their money i wonder why the issue has been publicised now. I suspect the issue is being publicised now because of the former president’s perceived support of the newly formed National Patriotic Front.
    Why wasnt it raised before considering that we still have the same authorities.

    • musa

      hit the nail on the head

  • Solwazi

    Salitshela ngeswina lenu lathi sithule. Nano ke selivuke umbhejazane. Angithi lalisitshaya lisihlabelisa lisithi babamugabe. Uyalilungisa!

    • tonmat

      satan your language is bad

    • Simon Muziwendoda

      If you still think in terms of Swina and Dzviti in 2018 then you need your head examined: you are no different from Mugabe himself.In fact you lead a miserable life

  • Simon Muziwendoda

    Those expressing outrange possibly don’t live in Zimbabwe. Mugabe is the husband of one Ntombizodwa who blew a cool $1.3 million on a ring, whose children were blowing $60k per night on booze and rented houses in Dubai for $500k per month surely what he is demanding is loose change and Mnangagwa knows it. Not that I support it but people should not be “surprised” now when all along they saw no evil

  • Chipoto Vhaivhai

    Outrage to who? The only people who can be outraged are Zanu people. They created this monster and they should deal with t themselves. Asingeni ndawo thina.

  • jake

    What a circus. He did not care about peoples opinion then…..and he certainly still does not now. Most companies can draw $100 cash a week, mostly in coins.

  • Tinowaziwa

    The wily croc will certainly deal with this one.

  • musa

    acres & acres of space condemning bob, hahaha, the tide has turned. fickle journalism.

  • Samaritan

    You will be a fool to believe this article. This paper booty licked RG its entire life time and now reports that RG supports Mutinhiri, Zanu now tainting the already tainted name to decampaign Ambrose. Why do you write about this now not when RG was in power?. For all we know ED is also having cash stuck up somewhere there and no one can tell. Don’t fool us, do you think ED if he wants cash he will queue? or any of the zanu pf top elements. This is just low life politics by Zanu and chronicle.

    • Simon Muziwendoda

      I just love the fact that Mugabe is now a “Mr” a big achievement, just like Dr Nkomo and PF(ZAPU) leaders in the 1980s.These people never change! I thanks them for removing Mugabe though: Dr Grace Mugabe was making me sick!!!!!

  • QB

    So you Chronicle team as part of the present gvt what measures are you taking other than reporting? I come to believe that the former wasn’t paying his taxes and the way he used his monies was never monitored. Now that he is against you that’s why you are opening up a can of worms! Everyone knows very well that after leaving office of presidency one has to face the courts of law if there are any cases raised against him. So does his freedom mean that ubemsulwa or the present gvt is hiding something from the people?

  • Penelope Pen

    I am a very hardworking lady,working in one of the Government departments and running a business too. For a long time, everything i did was not going as planned,I started businesses that ended up failing,all the money i earned was just passing through my hands. I have worked for so many years and was still struggling, one day i sat down and reflected on my life and what i have achieved, but had nothing to show and yet most of my friends are progressing.,. I talked to one of my friends and asked him how he manages his business since he is doing well. He told me honestly that he is successful because he has used the help of Prof Nziki. I immediately contacted Prof on +27630 922041 and said basing on the problem i have i should see him. He cleansed me using spiritual oil and gave me instructions on the prayers i was to perform from home,today my business is successful and running well, communication between me and my husband is better than it was before. Don’t miss to consult with Prof Nziki.

  • Njomane

    Mr Mugabe kkkk sorry boss thats an adulterous demand

  • benjamin

    Plastic money this, plastic money that when they are getting it in cash, and not only cash, real US$!! The other one had $10,000,000 stashed in his house. Plastic money this, plastic money that ha??? Banking this, banking that ha???

  • Manqoba

    Hypocrites !!!! When he was doing it while in power u used to praise him so what’s new about it now..the guy is never used to receive money through the bank…sick paper for sick people

  • Mabhengeza

    Mariyawanda Nzuwah should just be expelled. Period. President ED nanku msebenzi isilima lesi esingu Nzuwah asihambe. In any case he is past his sell-by date in the PSC. Why should Robert Mugabe receive preferential treatment and reward for ill treating his fellow country for 37 years. He (Mugabe) messed up the once vibrant economy of Zimbabwe its now pay-back time. He must taste his own medicine. Let him use plastic money that his ruinous administration always sang about. Or better still give him the money in bond coins.

  • tafadzwa zviwone


  • watcher

    kikikikikikiki hope this time around its him(Mugabe) who wrote the letter full of these demands kikikikikikik
    ini zviiii zvangu on Zim politics kikikiki

  • MakhosiXamu

    This whole story is meant to appease ED and Chiwenga as messengers of hope., what a shame. This purely a dramatised story meant to mislead Zimbabweans. Mnangagwa and Chiwenga are trying to justify their militarisation of the Zim. politics and Govt. departments. If this military junta can use its mouth pieces to publicise lies Zimbabwe is as good as dead. Mnangagwa is so scared of the NPF to the extent of peddling falsehoods without any shame. i will to say Phambili , Pamberi, Forward with A.M. you have managed to put this Junta in its right place. Amanga aluhlaza, shame. Anybody who believes such trash is just a lunatic.

  • Major Musango

    Just because Mugabe endorsed Mutinhiri to run against Mnangagwa … he is now accused of all sorts of eels …. wake up and smell the coffee @The Chronicle, @mashnets

  • Nkunzemnyama

    We have serious issues in the country. Lets stop wasting time like investigating pupils singing a foreign language in Magwegwe.

  • timmie Dance

    Its high time the government should deal with people of Nzuwah’s calibre.Nzuwah thinks that he is still a relative ya former president as he used manipulate the civil service to suit his ambitions.To be honest Robert is sick in the head.He ruined the country and now he wants hard currency from where.Is he trying to ,make life difficult for the present government or what.One who retires now is to stay for two full years before his lumpsum payment is done and what more him who just left three(3) months ago.Let him stay for a year awaiting his turn to come then he will be paid like anybody else.If he wants to use his pension to campaign for NPF then walumila mudhara.Manje vafana vadiki who had not done enough looting will do you justice.

  • AZimbabwe is Mine icho!

    Just a greedy old man not happy with what he has

  • chinos

    Munyimei arare nenzara yatajaira. Imbwa wakaura the jewel of africa. History will judge him.

  • msongelwa

    Infact we need all this money from u Mgabe ungasimbuluzeli imaliyonke leyo ngeyani imali hlangana layo eBank, kudala sidla mahala njengedlozi thina sithwele kanzima.