BULAWAYO – Former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko is heading to court to force the government to pay him his pension, his lawyer said.
Mphoko, forced out in a military coup that ousted former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017, is entitled to a lifetime salary, security and an office, according to his lawyer Professor Welshman Ncube.
“We’ve been going round in circles and haven’t achieved any progress. We’ve been communicating back and forth… the communication we have so far with the Ministry of Justice through the advice of the Attorney General is that they appear to be conceding that he’s entitled to his pension, but continue to dispute his entitlement to other benefits like security, office and others,” Ncube told The Daily News.
The lawyer said government officials initially appeared to take the view that Mphoko was not entitled to the pension he is seeking because he did not serve out a full five-year term, having been appointed to the job in December 2014.
Ncube said there was a conflict between the Presidential Pensions Act, which government officials were relying on, and the country’s new Constitution adopted in 2013. The Constitution is silent on the full term, stating in section 102(3): “A person who has ceased to be President or Vice President is entitled to receive; (a) a pension equivalent to the salary of a sitting President or Vice President, as the case may be; and (b) such allowances and other benefits as may be prescribed under an Act of Parliament.”
Where an Act of Parliament is in conflict with the Constitution, the latter is superior, Ncube said.