Imagine a group of people set up camp in your backyard and start ripping up your lawn looking for gold. You confront them, but they tell you that the land doesn’t belong to you. What would you do? If you’re former Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe, your options appear to be limited.
How They Met
Grace Mugabe first met her husband, former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, in 1987 while working as a typist in the state house. Even though they were both married to other people at the
time and he was 41 years her senior, they began an extra-marital affair. They had two children during the affair—Bona and Robert Peter, Jr. It would be some time before they would marry…
The Wedding Of The Century
When Robert’s first wife, Sally, passed away in 1992 from a chronic kidney ailment, Grace and Robert made plans to tie the knot in a lavish Catholic ceremony. They were married
in August 1996 in an extravagant mass, titled the “Wedding of the Century” by the Zimbabwean press. At the time of their marriage, Grace was 31 and Robert was 72 years old.
Living A Lavish Lifestyle
In 1997, Grace gave birth to their third child, Chatunga. During the 1990s and early 2000s, Grace developed a nickname amongst the Zimbabwean public and press: “Gucci Grace.” She gained a reputation
for indulging her love of luxury and lavish spending on clothes, jewelry, and more.
Her sons, Robert Jr. and Chatunga, have inherited their mother’s lavish spending and share their lifestyle on social media.
Head Of The Women’s League
In 2014, Grace was appointed as head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League. The ZANU-PF [Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front] has served as the ruling political party in Zimbabwe since
the country gained independence in 1980.
Grace’s position in politics made others believe her husband, Robert, would appoint her as his successor after his ultimate resignation. This didn’t actually happen, however…
The End Of An Era
In September 2017, a feud developed between Robert and his Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa concerning the rumor that Robert would appoint Grace as his successor. This feud eventually led to reports
that Robert would be impeached. Instead, Robert resigned from office after serving for 37 years, and Mnangagwa took over as Zimbabwe’s new president.
This wasn’t the end of difficulties for Grace and Robert…
A Previous Experience
In 2015, when Robert was still in power, Grace was forced to evict villagers off her farm 25 miles north of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city. Because of this incident,
Grace hired guards to protect the property, as well as herself whenever she would visit the farm.
But, when Robert resigned in 2017, things changed drastically, in ways Grace least expected…
Mining For Gold
Grace was touring the farm last month when she was shocked to find over 400 local villagers were illegally mining for gold on the property. They were uprooting lemon trees, digging
shafts, using picks and shovels, and loading gold ore into lorries. Grace went to confront the villagers, but she was unsuccessful in getting them off the farm for one specific reason…
Refusing To Leave
The villagers said Grace doesn’t have any power to evict them from the property since her husband isn’t President of Zimbabwe anymore. Her land was their land now.
They shouted at her,
“You no longer have any power to remove us. This is the new dispensation. We do what we want.”
They refused to leave, and Grace was alone in the fight.
He Said, She Said
The miners claimed to be digging for gold to sell to Fidelity Refinery and Printers, a sole buyer of gold produced in Zimbabwe. The miners insisted they weren’t harming the environment, but Grace
still insisted they leave the farm. She was forced to call the police, and this incident has turned into a large legal dispute. It has developed into a “he said, she said” situation…
Going To Court
Grace filed a theft report last month against the illegal miners, but this hasn’t stopped the miners from moving in on the farm and fighting back at Grace.
Two miners, who say they
own gold claims on the property, have filed court applications against Grace to stop her from interrupting their plans. A date has not been set for a court hearing.
Who will win this fight?