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Robert Mugabe ‘fairly jovial’ despite being forced from workplace, nephew says

Ousted Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is “quite jovial” despite being forced to resign, according to his nephew.

Leo Mugabe said his 93-year-old uncle, who had ruled the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1980, was “fine” and upbeat about his future.

The son of Mr Mugabe’s late sister Sabina told the AFP news agency: “He is fine. I have been to see him, he is quite jovial.

Zimbabwe's Emmerson Mnangagwa, is sworn in as president in Harare

Zimbabwe’s new president is sworn in

“He is actually looking forward to his new life – farming and staying at the rural home. He has taken it well.”

He did not address reports the former president was given a $10m retirement bonus as part of a deal that persuaded him to resign earlier this week after 37 years in power.

Leo added that Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace, who was being positioned to succeed her husband before the military intervened, is concentrating on plans to build a university in his honour.

Emmerson Mnangagwa

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“I like the spirit she has, she is with him all the time. She is an amazing person. She wants to continue planning the Robert Mugabe University so they have something to do,” Leo said.

Controversial plans for a $1bn post-graduate university in Mazowe, 20 miles from the capital Harare, were announced in August.

On the terms of exit settlement, the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper has reported that Mr Mugabe was given a $10m lump sum, immunity from prosecution and allowed to keep his assets.

He will still get his full salary, in line with the constitution, while Mrs Mugabe will reportedly receive half her husband’s pay after his death.

The sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa triggered the military uprising

‘The Crocodile’ set to lead Zimbabwe

Asked about the deal, Mr Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba said that “the package of a retiring president will be defined (by) law”.

He said immunity had never come up during the talks between Mr Mugabe and the army chiefs who briefly put him under house arrest.

The current whereabouts of Mr and Mrs Mugabe are not known.

The chain of events that led to Mr Mugabe’s downfall was sparked when he sacked his vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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This prompted the military to intervene and usher in Mr Mnangagwa as Mr Mugabe’s successor.

Known as “The Crocodile”, Zimbabwe’s new leader has vowed to bring in sweeping changes to jump-start the nation’s struggling economy.

He also paid tribute to Mr Mugabe in his inaugural address, describing him as one of the “founding fathers of our nation”.

But critics have expressed fears Mr Mnangagwa – who has been accused of overseeing violence and ethnic massacres – could prove to be just as authoritarian as Mr Mugabe.

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