Despite their rather undignified ejection from power, the extravagant lifestyles enjoyed by sidelined despot Robert Mugabe and his shopaholic wife, Grace, will continue to be bankrolled by impoverished Zimbabweans, it was announced today
The 93-year-old, who was forced to resign his position as Africa’s oldest leader last month following a bloodless coup, and his despised former first lady will continue to live in lavish, presidential style which has been chronicled an extraordinary government gazette.
A retinue of more than 25 staff, including drivers, waiters, secretaries, maids, gardeners and a six-strong security detail, will attend to every need of the ex-leader and his younger, second wife.
Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, pictured right. will continue to enjoy a lavish lifestyle after he was deposed
The couple and their three children have also been given a generous housing allowance to fund a home with up to ‘five bedrooms and three guestrooms or lump sump of money equivalent to the cost of building a private residence’, Zimbabwe’s new leader has decreed.
In a statement in the gazette, new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa stipulates that former presidents who served at least one full term – a category that includes only Mugabe – are entitled to private medical care, diplomatic passports and four annual first-class international trips.
It has drawn widespread condemnation across Zimbabwe, which has been bankrupted during Mugabe’s chaotic rule having once been the ‘breadbasket of Africa’ with one of the continent’s highest standards of education.
The deposed dictator and his wife along with their three children have been given a generous housing allowance
Local independent media reported last month that Mugabe was granted a $10-million retirement bonus as part of a deal to persuade him to eventually resign. The government denied the claims.
As part of the new package, Mugabe will have three cars – a Mercedes Benz S500 Series or an equivalent class of sedan, an all-terrain station wagon and a pickup van — which will be replaced every five years. The government will also pay for fuel.
It is understood that frail Mugabe only agreed to make way for his former deputy, Mr Mnangagwa in return for guarantees over the security and generous allowances for his family following his death.
Mugabe has been living at his private home in the leafy sububurb of Borrowdale, in the capital Harare, since his demise.
The announcement was made by new president Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured here at his inauguration, in an official government gazette
The downfall of Mugabe sent shockwaves around the world when he was finally forced to resign after 37 years in power.
Details of his generous retirement package coincided with news that the army chief who led the ruthless move to unseat him has been enthroned as the country’s vice president.
General Constantino Chiwenga helped delivered power to Mr Mnangagwa who had fallen out with Mugabe after the president sided with his 52-year-old wife in a bitter battle for power.
Known in Zimbabwe as ‘Gucci Grace’, the unpopular first lady had earlier managed to oust Mr Mnangagwa, known as The Crocodile, as her husband’s deputy.
When Mugabe fired the loyal henchman it sent Grace’s political enemies over the edge, sparking a coup in all but name that only ended in resignation when MPs starting impeachment proceedings against Mugabe.
The 93-year-old Mugabe was finally ousted from power. He is pictured during one of his last public appearances as president
Mrs Mugabe was a 20-year-old secretary when she first caught Robert Mugabe’s eye in the late 1980s. She became pregnant with his child when he was still married to his first wife, Sally.
By 1996 the ambitious Grace was first lady, marrying Mugabe in a lavish ceremony when Sally died. Initially, she was content to limit her role to that of glamorous consort but quickly became known for her love of shopping, once spending £75,000 during a spree in Paris.
More recently, she developed a reputation for her aggression, giving her another unflattering nickname: DisGrace. In 2009, a British photographer alleged she had punched him in the face with a diamond-encrusted fist.
In August, she was accused of assaulting a South African model with the plug at the end of an extension cord, after the woman had partied with her playboy sons.
In addition to the generous allowances now secured from Zimbabwe’s government, the Mugabes own a string of properties, including in Dubai and South Africa.