HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said former first lady Grace Mugabe will not be spared from the corruption dragnet and will stand trial if she is found on the wrong side of the law.
He said this in a globally-televised interview at the on-going World Economic Forum (Wef) in Davos yesterday.
Since assuming office on November 24 last year, Mnangagwa has been on an anti-corruption crusade which has been criticised as faction-driven and targeting only members
of the Grace-led Generation 40 faction in Zanu PF.
“We have not given anybody any immunity, what we have promised to the former president (Robert Mugabe) is that we have given him a package. It’s a question of him continuing to get his salaries, security, first class travel and medical check-ups in Singapore; things of that nature," said Mnangagwa in response to a question if Grace was safe from the on-going corruption arrests.
Mugabe, who has been granted immunity from prosecution and a guarantee that no action will be taken against his family’s extensive business interests, has received a "cash payment of $5m" immediately, with the $5m ballance to be pain in coming months..
The 93-year-old’s $150 000 salary will also be paid until his death. The 52-year-old first lady, reviled for her extravagance and greed, will then receive half that amount for the rest of her life.
“We are not saying that if anybody commits a crime, then their former status will stop the police from dealing with that person. My approach is zero tolerance to
corruption and there are no sacred cows in dealing with that.
“So far, many high profile persons have been to the courts, we have already brought so many people to court, the list is endless despite the fact that we are hardly two months in office," he said.
Mnangagwa also said there was no going back on the directive issued to people who externalised funds to return the cash by end of February.
“We are saying all the people, please return the money. There are others who took it and invested in properties in other countries, for those we will talk. But I have the list of them all,” he said.
He also said he welcomed criticism and said people are free to judge him. He was responding to a question on what did he thought was the right time for people to start judging him.
“I am saying judge me from day one. I must not be given any sleeping period. I am not an angel. I make mistakes and I would like to be told of those mistakes,”
Mnangagwa said. He also said he was keen to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss bilateral relations with the erstwhile colonisers.
He said jokingly: “I would like to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May. I believe she will be good to us. Margaret Thatcher (the late former British prime minister) was good to us. All the male prime ministers have not been good to us."
Mnangagwa will leave Davos tomorrow and head straight to Addis Ababa for the African Union heads of State summit.
Mnangagwa has predictably received a warm welcome at the Wef gathering. The European Union (EU) became the latest multilateral institution to pledge support for the new dispensation in Harare.
NKC African Economics analyst Gary van Staden said like his neighbours in South Africa, “he should be aware that foreign donors are watching for delivery and walking the talk.”
The sudden and rapid developments in Zimbabwe late last year, which saw the military essentially remove former President Robert Mugabe and subsequently elevate Mnangagwa to the top post, have ushered in a new opportunity for the country to achieve its economic potential as a powerhouse in the region.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa says Zanu PF will accept defeat should they lose elections later this year.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “If we lose elections, that’s it.”
Mnangagwa — who become president last year after Mugabe was ousted — reiterated his pledge for “free, fair and transparent elections”.