Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and assured that his safety would be guaranteed as part of a deal that led to his resignation, sources close to the negotiations said on Thursday.
Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, stepped down on Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice president sacked by Mugabe earlier this month, is set to be sworn in as president on Friday.
In the capital Harare, an opposition stronghold, one man said Zimbabweans wanted the 93 year old autocrat to apologise.
“People need to hear from him. Maybe he should come on TV and apologise maybe to the nation. There should be some kind of remorse so that people will feel justified and vindicated concerning what has been taking place in this nation,” Dr Makwerwere said.
Mugabe resigned on Tuesday as parliament began a process to impeach him, sparking wild celebrations in the streets. His rapid downfall after 37 years in power was triggered by a battle to succeed him that pitted Mnangagwa against Mugabe’s much younger wife Grace.
Mugabe will now receive a retirement package that includes a pension, housing, holiday and transport allowance, health insurance, limited air travel and security.
The aging former president was “rugged and drained” by events of the past week and may travel to Singapore for medical checks in the coming weeks, the source said. He had been due to leave for Singapore in mid-November before the military put him under house arrest.
Mugabe has maintained that he leads a frugal life and that he does not possess any wealth or properties outside Zimbabwe.
But last month a legal quarrel between Grace and a Belgian-based businessman over a $1.3 million diamond ring lifted a veil on the wealthy lifestyle of Mugabe and his wife, nicknamed “Gucci Grace” for her reputed dedication to shopping.
In Zimbabwe, Mugabe runs a dairy business and the family has several farms while local and foreign media have reported that Grace has bought properties and luxury cars in South Africa.
The army appears to have engineered a trouble-free path to power for Mnangagwa, who was for decades a faithful lieutenant of Mugabe and member of his elite.
His own human rights record also stirs hostility in many Zimbabweans. He was in charge of internal security when rights groups say 20,000 civilians were killed in Matabeleland in the 1980s.
Restoring the country’s fortunes and international standing will be a challenge. Human rights abuses and flawed elections prompted many Western countries to impose sanctions in the early 2000s that further hurt the economy, even with Chinese investment to soften the blow.
Staging clean elections next year will be key to winning fresh funds.
In its first official comments since Mugabe resigned, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said it was cautiously optimistic that a Mnangagwa presidency would not “mimic and replicate the evil, corrupt, decadent and incompetent Mugabe regime”.