Much despised but inured from public prosecution: Grace Mugabe [photo] weeping by the coffin of her late husband after the body was flown back from Singapore, midweek
The widow of Robert Mugabe wept over his coffin today – as Zimbabwe’s president says she will not be pursued over suspected misuse of public funds.
Barely two years after then first lady Grace ‘Gucci’ Mugabe, 54, indirectly led to the ouster of her husband, trying to force through her ambitions to succeed her husband, who died last week aged 95, she remains a deeply unpopular figure among her country’s public.
Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe died in Singapore surrounded by his family, including wife Grace last weekend. He was 95.
The former guerrilla leader was a communist and nationalist revolutionary. – Regarded by many as a tyrant, willing to unleash death squads, rig elections and trash the economy in the relentless pursuit of power during his 37 year rule Mugabe was born 21 February 1924, in Zvimba 40 miles west of the capital of Harare.
The dictator was uber wealthy at his death, a far cry from his early childhood when he tended his grandfather’s cattle and goats, fished for bream in muddy water holes, played soccer and “boxed a lot,” as he recalled later.
After obtaining his college degree in South Africa Mugabe worked as a teacher in Ghana before becoming involved in the struggle against the apartheid rule of the Ian Smith led white minority government in what was the former British colony known as Rhodesia.
Mugabe was arrested and detained without trial for a decade and then in the 1970s he led a guerrilla campaign.
Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe was regarded by many as a tyrant, willing to unleash death squads, rig elections and trash the economy, clinging to power. He died last week Friday aged 95, and two years after he was forcibly stripped of his 37-year rule
Once Africa’s longest serving head of state, Robert Mugabe died last week after nearly four decades at the helm of Zimbabwean politics
Last days: Dictator Robert Mugabe in wheelchair with son Robert Mugabe JR.
In 1979, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced that the UK would officially recognize Rhodesia’s independence if it moved to democratic majority rule.
Mugabe, who was a Marxist, was elected Prime Minister the following year when his ZANU-PF secured 63 per cent of the national vote.
He clung on to power by crushing opposition through constitutional changes and cracking down on dissent with state force.
Mugabe abolished the Office of Prime Minister to appoint himself President of Zimbabwe in 1987.
Then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher [left], was in power when Robert Mugabe was elected prime minister to lead the newly democratized Rhodesia, later Zimbabwe
The body of the former Zimbabwean President arrives at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in the capital Harare on Wednesday
President Emmerson Mnangagwa [left], First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa [right] lend support to former First Lady Grace Mugabe [center] following the arrival of former President Robert Mugabe’s body from Singapore in Harare Wednesday
After marrying Mugabe in 1996, south African Born grace became known for going on extravagant spending sprees while many of her compatriots lived in poverty.
The former secretary, dubbed ‘Gucci’ Grace, is alleged to have assets of up to $1.24billion, and with her husband is widely suspected of having used public funds to cover her bills.
The pair were not pursued after Mugabe was toppled in 2017, with president Emmerson Mnangagwa hoping to placate those voters who still supported the ousted president.
Many had speculated that, with Mugabe dead, Grace’s vast wealth could be probed, but Mnangagwa has now said she will not face an investigation.
Speaking at the Mugabe family home, Mnangagwa said he had asked for a one-on-one meeting with Grace to “discuss some issues”, but added: “We had let bygones be bygones.
“You [Mrs. Mugabe] have the full support of the government.
“Nothing will change.”
“We had let bygones be bygones.” The Emmerson Mnangagwa administration has indicated it will not probe former first lady Grace Mugabe [photo], for amassing over $1.2billion fortune with state funds
After marrying Mugabe in 1996, Grace gained notoriety for her extravagant splurges while many of her compatriots lived below the poverty line. The family property holdings is estimated to be worth $1billion
Reports of Grace Mugabe’s lavish spending and explosive temper earned her the title ‘Dis-Grace’ – and eyebrows were raised in 2014 when she gained a PhD in three months. A couple of years later she was plotting the meteoric ambition of rising from typing pool to leading Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe was credited with helping secure Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain, but later established himself as a lifetime dictator, and was eventually overthrown after losing support within his own party in 2017. He ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years.
He died on September 6 at a Singapore Hospital following months of decline, though his exact cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
Among the topics expected to be discussed by President Mnangagwa and the Mugabe family is the question of where Mugabe will be buried. For now the burial place for the late president is uncertain.
The government stated previously that he would be buried at the Heroes’ Acre state monument, a site reserved for those who fought for Zimbabwe’s independence and contemporary figures who have demonstrated sufficient commitment to the country.
The site features a large monument to the guerrilla fighters built by Mugabe with the help of North Korean construction firm Mansudae Overseas Projects.
Mugabe’s first wife Sally, who died in 1992, is also buried there, in a plot long reserved for the ex-leader.
But some members of Mugabe’s family say he should be buried at his birthplace, the village of Kutama, 45 miles west of capital Harare, according to Zimbabwean tradition.
Mnangagwa said: “We have no idea where we will bury him yet.
“We need to talk to [Mrs. Mugabe] and the family first.”
Mourners arrive at Rufaro stadium, in Mbare township where Mugabe’s body will lie in state
Robert Gabriel Mugabe [portrait] died on Friday, aged 95, while receiving treatment at a hospital in Singapore
President Emmerson Mnangagwa [left], First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa [right] holds hands with former First Lady Grace Mugabe [center] as the body of former President Robert Mugabe is rolled out to begin it’s journey in Harare Wednesday
Grace has been reassured by the current govt that she won’t be investigated despite public suspicions that she amassed her private wealth by abusing public funds
Some members of the Mugabe family want him buried in Kutama, the village of his birth
It had long been expected that Mugabe would be buried at the Heroes’ Acre memorial site [photo], as he had expressed
While receiving the body of his former boss, President Mnangagwa on Wednesday appealed for peace and calm as the nation mourned the national hero and prepares for his burial on Sunday.
“May I take this opportunity to say to the great people of Zimbabwe, on the day we shall lay him to rest on Sunday, I appeal to you in your hundreds, thousands and millions to show your love to our great leader who has left us,” he said.
“May I, therefore, appeal to you all to be peaceful and to be loving, united, Zimbabwe is ours together. We are one people and one nation.”
The chattered aircraft transporting the body touched down at 3:35pm local time.
The body was accompanied by former First Lady Grace Mugabe, Vice President Kembo Mohadi, who together with other senior Government and Zanu-PF officials had flown to Singapore for that purpose.
After a brief ceremony at the airport, the body was taken to One Commando Regiment where another devotion was conducted.
Thereafter, the body was taken Mugabe’s Blue Roof residence in Borrowdale where it was expected to lie in State.