BY SILAS NKALA
FORMER Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s daughter, Siduduzile, has rapped the government for allegedly disrespecting and failing to honour her father despite his contribution to Zimbabwe before and after independence.
Siduduzile’s remarks came after Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, recently disputed Mphoko’s claim of more than US$300 000 in benefits and monthly pension pay-outs.
She said Mphoko, as a former Zipra commander, former ambassador and ex-VP deserved better treatment from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
“I just read an article by Misheck Sibanda about my father’s pension and besides the fact that they want to deny him what is rightfully his, in the article, he addresses my dad as Mr Mphoko,” Siduduzile wrote on her Facebook page.
“I have been asking myself why the disrespect, then I realised that addressing him as former VP Mphoko opens a can of worms because the title is stamped within the Constitution, making him entitled to his benefits. So, let’s act like he wasn’t a VP and let’s not address him as one so that we can take what is rightfully his.”
She added: “How can someone who has dedicated more than half his life to serving his country be told he is not worthy. He was appointed by a legitimate Head of State, the late (former President) Robert Mugabe (unless you don’t recognise him either) and it is also documented on every official assignment he participated in locally and internationally that he was representing his country as the VP.
“Whether you like it or not, he is former VP Mphoko. Stop disrespecting and sideling our leaders based on tribe.
His contribution to his country is as valuable as any other Zimbabwean’s. Show that you have some respect for a former leader.”
The Public Service Commission is insisting Mphoko will only be paid his pension in local currency and should not expect any other benefits.
The former VP has approached the High Court for an order to declare the withholding of his pension by government as illegal and unconstitutional.
Sibanda said it was illegal for Mphoko to claim his money in United States dollars.
Mphoko joined the civil service in October 1981 before his appointment as VP in December 2014, a position he held until he was removed from office when Mugabe was ousted in a coup in November 2017.