The Government of Zimbabwe recently gazetted Statutory Instrument 261 of 2020 also known as Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits (Services and Facilities for Spouses of Former Presidents) Notice, 2020.
The Notice stipulates the benefits the spouse of a former President is entitled to in case of retirement or death of the President. This however applies to anyone who served a full term as Zimbabwe’s President any time from 31 December 1987.
So far Zimbabwe only has one former First Lady in the form of Grace Mugabe. According to SI 261 of 2020 Grace is entitled to not less than two security personnel, a driver, a private secretary, and one aide-de-camp officer or personal assistant.
Grace is also entitled to her own office as may be determined by the President. The office should have a landline telephone and a cell phone, one computer and office facilities, equipment and materials as may be determined by the President. Dr. Amai as Grace is also known will be exempt from paying telephone, water, and electricity bills in respect of her office and official residence.
The benefits do not end there with Grace Mugabe entitled to suitable state residential accommodation and domestic staff which include; one domestic employee; and one gardener; and one cook and one waiter.
The former first lady is entitled to a medical allowance. Grace Mugabe can get to travel as a diplomat once more as she is entitled to a diplomatic passport, business class air, and rail private travel within Zimbabwe, as well as business class international air private travel up to a maximum of two trips per annum. She will get her own vehicles to facilitate movement within the country. Grace will not get just any vehicle but a Mercedes Benz E300 Series or one four-wheel-drive station wagon or an equivalent or similar class of a motor vehicle and one pick-up van.
The staff at her disposal will also get a vehicle or vehicles as seen fit by the President. The vehicles will be replaced every five years and fuel will not be a problem since it will be provided by the Government.
As if that is not enough, Grace Mugabe will get an entertainment allowance as determined by the President.
President Mnangagwa’s wife Auxilia also stands to benefit from the package which many believe to be the intended beneficiary.