HARARE • Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and assured that his safety would be protected in his home country as part of a deal that led to his resignation, sources close to the negotiations said yesterday.
Mr Mugabe, 93, who had led Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, stepped down on Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him.
A government source said Mr Mugabe told negotiators he wanted to die in Zimbabwe. "It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it," said the source. "For him it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country... although that will not stop him from travelling abroad when he wants to or has to."
Mr Mugabe's rapid downfall was triggered by a battle to succeed him that pitted his former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa against Mr Mugabe's wife Grace, 52.
"The outgoing president is obviously aware of the public hostility to his wife, the anger in some circles about the manner in which she conducted herself and approached Zanu-PF party politics," a second source said. "In that regard, it became necessary to also assure him that his whole family, including the wife, would be safe..."
Mr Mugabe will receive a retirement package that includes a pension, housing, holiday and transport allowance, health insurance, limited air travel and security.