Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife Auxillia at the presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, yesterday. Mnangagwa was sworn-in as president after Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday. Pictures: Associated Press

Parliament is reported to have blocked a proposal from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to place the wives of Mnangagwa and his two deputies, Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, on the government payroll.

An amendment to the Presidential Salary and Allowances Act would have resulted in the “presidential spouses” earning 50 percent of their husbands’ salaries and allowances. However, the move was blocked by Parliament which said that it was illegal as the spouses were neither elected nor public office holders.

Part of the proposed amendments which were later shelved reads,

The spouse of a president shall be entitled to an allowance calculated at fifty per centum of the salary and allowances payable in terms of section two to the president.

The spouse of a vice-president shall be entitled to an allowance calculated at fifty per centum of the salary and allowances payable in terms of section two to a vice-president.

Speaking to the Financial Gazette, MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said,

He (Patrick Chinamasa) withdrew the proposal after we had contested its constitutionality and that there is no legal basis for the first lady to get an allowance…There is no law that defines the office of a spouse of the president in this country and it is not mentioned (at all) in our constitution. We should only deal with duly and properly elected individuals.

More: Financial Gazette