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Mugabe granted immunity, won't be prosecuted

November 23, 2017

Zimbabwe's ousted leader, Robert Mugabe, and his wife, Grace, will be allowed to stay in the country as part of the deal that led to his resignation. Ex-Vice President Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president Friday.

Simbabwe Rücktritt Robert Mugabe | feiernde Menschen in Harare
Image: Reuters/P. Bulawayo

Zimbabwean officials revealed on Thursday that former President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, had been granted immunity from prosecution and assured of his safety as part of the deal that led him to step down earlier this week.

Mugabe reportedly told negotiators from the ruling ZANU-PF party that he had no plans to live in exile and wanted to die in Zimbabwe. "It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it," a party source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Reuters news agency. "For him it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country... although that will not stop him from traveling abroad when he wants to or has to."

Read more: Zimbabwe: 'It's a second independence'

The ousted president will also reportedly receive a retirement package that includes a pension, housing, holiday and transport allowance, health insurance, limited air travel and security.

Both the military and officials within the ZANU-PF party turned against Zimbabwe's leader of 37 years, placing him under intense pressure to resign. After initially refusing to step down after the military took control of the capital, Harare, Mugabe finally gave up his post on Tuesday after Parliament began the process of impeaching him.

His resignation sparked widespread celebrations both inside the parliament building and on the streets of Harare.

Despite the move to oust the aging president, spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo played down any notion that Mugabe was the victim of a political coup. 

"He is still our revered liberation hero. He contributed immensely to the development of the country for the past 37 years," Moyo said.

"We do not have anything against Mugabe or his wife. The people of Zimbabwe wanted him to rest. They are free to stay in the country if they wish to."

Read more: Zimbabwe's economy urgently needs reform, says IMF

President-to-be Mnangagwa returns

Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is poised to take over the Zimbabwean presidency on Friday, after arriving back in the capital from South Africa on Wednesday.

Jacob Mudenda, Zimbabwe's parliamentary speaker, confirmed that preparations are already underway for Mnangagwa's swearing-in ceremony.

dm/kms (Reuters, dpa)