Harare: Zimbabwe`s former President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace have been granted immunity from prosecution, the military said on Thursday, allowing the couple to remain in the country.
Colonel Overson Mugwisi, a spokesman for the Zimbabwean Defence Forces, told CNN that an agreement had been reached with the 93-year-old former leader that included immunity and a guarantee of safety for him and his wife.
Mugabe resigned on Tuesday in a historic moment that ended his 37 years of rule. The former leader has been accused of ordering a string of massacres in the early to mid-1980s in opposition strongholds to consolidate his power in which up to 20,000 people were killed.
He has also long been accused of corruption and criticized for living a lavish lifestyle while the once-prosperous nation plunged into economic ruin.
Mugabe had spent a week negotiating his departure with the military since the Army seized control in Harare and placed him under house arrest.
In a long, drawn-out process, military officials gave into the demands for immunity and allowed Mugabe to keep several of his properties before he stepped down, media reports said.
Mugabe`s former right-hand man, Emmerson Mnangagwa, returned to the country on Wednesday to take the reins as interim President, promising to take the country into a “new and unfolding democracy.” He will be sworn in on Friday.
Upon his return to Harare, Mnangagwa — known as “The Crocodile” — told supporters: “The people have spoken. The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
“I pledge myself to be your servant. I appeal to all genuine patriotic Zimbabweans to come together. We work together. We want to grow our economy. We want peace, jobs in our country.”
Mnangagwa`s dismissal earlier this month plunged the country into a political crisis and prompted military chiefs to take control of the capital and place Mugabe under house arrest.
Mugabe initially refused to stand down but tendered his resignation on Tuesday after impeachment proceedings were launched by Parliament. He had ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.