By Benjamin Semwayo
Nehanda Radio’s recent revelation of the diamond ring saga involving Grace Mugabe is utterly shocking, to say the least, and lays bare the extent to which Zimbabweans have been cowed into submission by a first family that trashes people’s rights willy-nilly and shreds what remnants of the rule of law the ruling party crows about and insists exist.
Zanu PF is adamant that Zimbabwe is on a par with all the other progressive nations of the world when it comes to the application of the law, yet the events on the ground scream out stridently that such assertions ring false and hollow.
According to Nehanda Radio the long and short of the said incident is that Grace ordered a $1,350,000.00 diamond ring, wired the astronomical amount to Dubai and, upon being presented with the rare gem, refused to take delivery of the commodity that can only aptly be described as out of this world, having suddenly realised that she did not want it, and made a spectacular volte-face on the transaction.
She was advised that the sale would be cancelled and the money repaid into the account from which it had come, whereupon she cried foul and demanded that the amount be deposited into an off-shore account in Dubai.
When the seller protested citing the irregularities that he did not wish to be party to, the first lady flew into a rage and unleashed a string of threats one would normally expect to come from some baron of the criminal underworld, and proceeded to brazenly seize the seller’s immovable properties located in Zimbabwe.
On face value this would seem to be a normal change of heart that we all experience from time to time when we make purchases, and that is what Grace would have us believe, but in reality this was a meticulously choreographed ploy to externalise funds in a safe haven abroad. Grace obviously knew from day one that she did not want to purchase the diamond but went down that road only because she knew that that would be an easy, convenient and efficient way of carrying out an illegitimate transfer of funds.
Grace knew that her real intentions were unlikely to be questioned because her penchant for the high life is well documented. She knows full well that everybody knows she is extravagant, and although that is not exactly a quality one can possess with pride, she knew she could capitalise on that to cover up a more repugnant side of hers.
This is a gauche woman who lives in la-la land when everything around her is rotting as a direct consequence of her family’s extravagant appetites. This is a woman who travels in the star-studded fast lane and is only too conscious that she has come to be associated with parting with eye-watering amounts to acquire whatever she has set her mind on, so she reasoned that people would dismiss it as just another of her spending sprees, of which there have been unlimited since she became Mugabe’s wife.
Unfortunately while she can deceive some people she cannot deceive everyone because many people can in fact see through her ruse. Zimbabweans are appalled by the behaviour of their first lady but are too scared to voice their feelings.
There are many questions that come into people’s minds, although they do not have the courage to ask them openly given the repressive nature of Mugabe’s government. She has the audacity to commit such an outrageous crime in broad daylight because as Zimbabweans we have taught her that it is in our nature to take injustice lying down. Hatijamuki. (We do not protest.)
The first of such questions is, is it really necessary to spend so much on a diamond when multitudes are starving? Zimbabwe is experiencing the worst suffering in its history and has been taken back decades by the ineptitude of Zanu PF, yet the people who are responsible for that kind of retrogression are the same people who are scheming off what little wealth is left to send it to their private accounts in safe havens abroad.
Mugabe and his cronies have been sending money out of the country for decades, and although they have billions securely stashed away they are insatiable and obstinately continue to send money abroad.
The next question is where did she get the money given her husband’s salary and reports that her illegitimate family’s businesses are in debt? Mugabe recently complained that his salary of $12.000 a month was inadequate, but a simple calculation can easily reveal that even on a salary like that she could not have afforded a diamond ring of that value.
Not that Zimbabweans believe that he deserves a single cent of such a hefty salary, or any salary at all, for why would anyone be paid for looting, destroying a once prosperous country, maiming and unleashing a murderous reign on innocent, defenceless civilians?
We are all aware of the Brazilian loan money that she distributed among her bootlickers. Might she have raided that that facility, or indeed any other donor funded facility? It would be surprising if she did not. Then there are government coffers that have been looted repeatedly in the course of Mugabe’s time in office.
Is it likely that she has respected them and did not claw anything out of them? Finally there is the missing $15 Billion. Do we now know where it went to? And do people’s wives award themselves blank cheques to buy rings? Is it not husbands who buy them for their wives and present them as surprise presents?
Why did the Reserve Bank approve of such a blatantly criminal transfer? There are clear guidelines and restrictions on how money should be sent out of our borders. The government recently gazetted lists of what people may or may not import on account of the current man-made liquidity crisis, and as anyone can tell you, not only are diamonds firmly prohibited in that list, but there are many other pieces of legislation that bar such transactions.
In Grace’s altercation with the diamond dealer she claimed her family was Zimbabwe itself. Did she mean it literally? It would seem so. She believes her family is more important than all the citizens of Zimbabwe put together and is above the law.
Why did she not pay in bond notes since the government says they are just as good as the U.S. dollars? Could this be a graphic example to illustrate why the bond notes were really introduced, namely to enable Zanu PF gangsters to send real money abroad? Will anyone be surprised if all genuine currency is sent abroad to line the pockets of thieves and the country is only left with valueless bond notes?
We all wait with bated breath to see the ruling of the court. It will be interesting to see how the judge handles this clear case of unparalleled avarice in the trial of a woman who calls herself Zimbabwe.