Robert Mugabe has finally resigned

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, bringing to an end 37 years in power which he began as a hero of the struggle against white rule and ended as the man blamed for reducing his country to despotism and economic misery.

The streets of Harare erupted in celebration after Mr Mugabe’s resignation was announced during a joint session of both houses of the Zimbabwean parliament that had gathered to launch impeachment proceedings on Tuesday afternoon.

“My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power,” Mr Mugabe said in a letter read out by Jacob Mudenda, the speaker of parliament.

Mr Mugabe’s resignation letter made no mention of who should replace him as president.

However, he is widely expected to be succeeded by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former security chief who fled to South Africa after Mr Mugabe fired him as vice president on November 6.

Zanu-PF, the ruling party, installed Mr Mnangagwa as party leader after ousting Mr Mugabe from the same role on Saturday.

Mr Mugabe’s resignation came a week after Zimbabwe’s military placed the 93-year old president under house arrest in a soft coup prompted by a power struggle within the ruling party involving Grace Mugabe, the first lady.

 

In a bid to preserve a veneer of legitimacy and avoid sanctions, the military and its allies in Zanu-PF attempted to persuade Mr Mugabe to resign voluntarily by threatening to impeach him and mounting a massive public march in Harare to demonstrate he had lost public support.

He initially refused to resign, and stunned Zimbabweans on Sunday night when he used a televised address, widely expected to be a resignation speech, to reassert his authority and announce he intended to preside over Zanu-PF’s December congress as usual.

He faced further humiliation on Tuesday after almost no ministers showed up to a routine cabinet meeting he called at State House, his official Harare office.

Zimbabweans celebrate outside the parliament building immediately after hearing the news that President Robert Mugabe had resigned
Zimbabweans celebrate outside the parliament building immediately after hearing the news that President Robert Mugabe had resigned CREDIT: BEN CURTIS/ AP
Later in the afternoon lawmakers from both houses of parliament gathered in a conference centre to debate a motion that called for him to be removed from power for short comings including falling asleep in meetings and allowing Mrs Mugabe to “usurp” presidential powers.

The motion, which was tabled by Zanu PF and seconded by the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party, was abandoned after Mr Mugabe’s resignation letter arrived in parliament.

Mr Mnangagwa had called on Mr Mugabe to heed the “insatiable” desire of the Zimbabwean public for change in a statement on Tuesday morning.

“The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call and resign forthwith so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy,” Mr Mnangagwa said in his statement.

 

Culled from the telegraph.co.uk

Grace Mugabe’s oldest son imports two Rolls Royce limousines ‘worth £4 million’ into bankrupt Zimbabwe

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The eldest son of Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe has imported two Rolls Royce limousines into the bankrupt country, it has been reported.
Russell Goreraza, 33, offloaded the two luxury cars at Harare International Airport from a plane belonging to the Dutch airline KLM on Sunday.

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Goreraza, said to have a ‘chequered reputation’, was also reported to have enjoyed a ‘huge celebration’ with friends after the exotic vehicles arrived, with Champagne flowing freely.

According to IOL, a news site based in South Africa, another car – this one an Aston Martin – is due to arrived in the capital shortly.
The cars are thought to have been bought in Europe.
Rolls Royce Phantoms cost a minimum of just under £400,000, but custom-built versions are sold for as much as £1 million. Media in South Africa are reporting the combined cost of the cars as about £4 million.

It comes as Zimbabwe is in a terrible financial position, owing huge debts to South Africa.
Goreraza was born to Grace Mugabe during her first marriage to Stanley Goreraza.
He has two half-brothers – 25-year-old Robert Jr and Chatunga, 21 – whose father is Robert Mugabe, the beleaguered African country’s leader since 1980.
In 2015, he was found guilty of culpable homicide after killing a pedestrian in his car.

He was sentenced to two months in prison and ordered to pay an $800 fine.
IOL also reported that Goreraza ‘ultimately lives off massive cash donations’ from mother Grace, who is given a regular supply of funds by the Zimbabwean state.
Grace was accused of wounding a 20-year-old model in Johannesburg, South Africa last month.
Gabriella Engels, 20, claims that Grace beat her repeatedly with an electrical cord in a hotel on August 13.

 

 

Grace Mugabe finally responds to assault case, claims S.A model attacked her with a knife

Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe has denied whipping a South African model with a piece of electrical cord.

The 52-year-old wife of president Robert Mugabe also accused Gabriella Engels of attacking her with a knife and being “intoxicated and unhinged”.

In a previously unreported statement seen by Reuters, Mrs Mugabe painted herself as the victim of last month’s incident in a Johannesburg hotel suite and said she was considering filing attempted murder charges.

 

Mrs Mugabe claimed she had been worried about her adult sons Chatunga and Robert Junior who were “in trouble with a drunken young woman” in a different room.

“Upon her arrival, Ms Engels, who was intoxicated and unhinged, attacked Dr Grace Mugabe with a knife after she was asked to leave the hotel,” the statement said.
“Security was left with no other option but to remove Ms Engels from the hotel suite,” it continued.

Mrs Mugabe’s statement alleged that Ms Engels might have sustained the injuries in a fight with other women at the city’s Taboo nightclub the previous evening.

But those claims were denied by Afriforum, an Afrikaans civil society group acting on the model’s behalf.

“Gabriella never attacked Grace Mugabe in any way and she did not participate in the fight at Taboo,” Afriforum said.
“It is clear that Grace Mugabe is desperately trying to escape responsibility for her own violent behaviour by using lies to falsely portray the victim in this case as the perpetrator.”

 

South African model challenges Grace Mugabe’s immunity

The South African model who has said she was whipped with an electric cord by Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe has filed court papers challenging the government’s decision to grant her diplomatic immunity, advocacy group Afriforum said.

South Africa’s international relations minister said she had granted diplomatic immunity to the wife of Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

Afriforum has given legal backing to Gabriella Engels, the 20-year-old woman behind the assault allegation, and is working on the case with Gerrie Nel. He was the prosecutor who secured a murder conviction against Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius.

“We want to set aside the granting of diplomatic immunity to Grace Mugabe,” said Afriforum CEO Kallie Kriel adding that it could take months before the case is heard in court and that no date for the hearing had been set.

Mrs. Mugabe returned home from South Africa early on Sunday, but her immunity was widely-criticized in South Africa, where August has been designated Women’s Month to highlight concerns around gender violence and abuse.

Engels has accused Grace Mugabe of whipping her with an electric extension cable as she waited with two friends in a luxury hotel suite to meet one of Mugabe’s adult sons.

Harare has made no official comment on the issue and requests for comment from Zimbabwean government officials have gone unanswered.

 

 

Reuters

Grace Mugabe finally gets diplomatic immunity, returns to Zimbabwe

The wife of Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, was whisked out of South Africa on Sunday, trailed by calls for her arrest after she was accused of beating a fashion model with an extension cord in a luxury hotel in Johannesburg.

The violent encounter between the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe, 52, who had sought diplomatic immunity afterward, and the model, Gabriella Engels, 20, who had filed assault charges, sparked outrage in South Africa and Zimbabwe and threatened to escalate into a diplomatic incident.

The South African authorities confirmed on Sunday that Mrs. Mugabe had been granted immunity. Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said in a statement that she had been “acting in the interests of South Africa” in recognizing “the immunities and privileges” of Mrs. Mugabe.

The handling of the case drew intense criticism — it was at least the second time that Mrs. Mugabe has had a brush with the law in which she sought protection. In 2009, she was granted diplomatic immunity by Hong Kong after being accused of attacking a British photographer who took pictures of her shopping. (Mrs. Mugabe’s lavish shopping expeditions have been the subject of derision and denunciations at home.)

This time, she escaped arrest after Ms. Engels said Mrs. Mugabe had burst into the hotel room on Aug. 13 while she was visiting Robert Mugabe Jr., 25, and Chatunga Mugabe, 21, and began beating her with the extension cord as 10 bodyguards watched.

“There was blood everywhere,” Ms. Engels told a South African broadcaster. “She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug. Over and over. I had no idea what was going on. I was surprised. I needed to crawl out of the room before I could run away.”

Why she was beaten was not entirely clear, but Ms. Engels later filed charges and posted photos on social media showing a deep gash in her forehead, a bloodied scalp and bruises on her body.

South Africa set to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity in assault case

South Africa is planning to grant diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe, allowing her to return to Harare and avoid prosecution for the alleged assault of a 20-year-old model, a government source said on Friday.

Police have put border posts on “red alert” to prevent Mugabe fleeing and indicated she will receive no special treatment in the case involving Gabriella Engels, who says Mugabe whipped her with an electric extension cable.

Engels said she was assaulted by Mugabe on Sunday evening as she waited with two friends in a luxury Johannesburg hotel suite to meet one of Mugabe’s adult sons.

A senior government source said there was “no way” Mugabe, 52, would be arrested because of the diplomatic fallout that would ensue from Zimbabwe, which has been led for nearly four decades by 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

Other countries in southern Africa that supported South Africa’s ruling ANC in the long struggle against apartheid would also see Grace Mugabe’s prosecution as a betrayal, the source said.

“There would obviously be implications for our relations with Zimbabwe. Sadly the other countries in the region are watching us and how we are going to act,” the source said, asking not to be named.

“What is likely to happen is that she will be allowed to go back home, and then we announce that we’ve granted diplomatic immunity and wait for somebody to challenge us.”

 

Reuters

Grace Mugabe hasn’t surrendered -South African Police

A South African police spokesman has said that a suspect – believed to be Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe – who has been accused of assaulting a model, has not handed herself in yet.

The police were negotiating with Grace Mugabe’s lawyers on Tuesday to get the wife of the Zimbabwean president to turn herself in to face charges of assaulting a model, a senior police source said.

South African police minister Fikile Mbalula had said earlier in the day the Zimbabwean first lady had already handed herself in to police and would appear in court shortly, but that information later appeared to have been premature.

Twenty-year-old Gabriella Engels told South African media Grace had attacked her while the model was visiting the Mugabes’ sons Robert and Chatunga at a hotel in Johannesburg’s upmarket Sandton district on Sunday.

“One cannot be a fugitive for not appearing at a court to which they have not been summoned & when they have not been charged of any crime!” Grace’s close ally and higher education minister Jonathan Moyo tweeted, without elaborating.

Confusion arose on Tuesday afternoon when the magistrates’ court where Grace had been expected to be formally charged closed for the day without her appearing.

“The negotiations for her to hand herself in are still going on. We are at a point where we cannot effect an arrest yet,” the police source said. “We will cross that bridge when we get there.”
Asked if Grace was now considered a fugitive, the source said that was not the case at this stage.

“I don’t know, I haven’t seen her,” the source said when asked if she was still in South Africa.
Another source in South Africa’s prosecuting authority said Mugabe had breached an agreement to surrender herself ahead of an expected court hearing on Tuesday afternoon.

Reuters