By Maynard Manyowa
Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe was briefly detained by no nonsense police in Singapore after she assaulted reporters and threw their cellphones into a pond at the Gleneagles hospital. She had to reimburse the victims, about $1300 USD each to secure her release.
In addition, Grace Mugabe’s protocol team went on overdrive, paying hefty sums of money to reporters in the Southeast Asia city state to prevent the ‘assault and detention’ making its way to front pages of newspapers.
Nonetheless, it still did. And in the aftermath, her family has engaged in a desperate witch-hunt. One top aide, and a member of Mugabe’s close protection unit has been accused of leaking the details to Khuluma Afrika. He is being tortured and beaten repeatedly as we speak.
The poor bodyguard has now spent a few nights in cold dark holding cells, first at a detention barracks owned by the central intelligence organisation, and now, at some high security facility owned by counter intelligence (secret service).
The Mugabe’s are upset. Especially Grace Mugabe and especially because this is not the first time she has been involved in such a debacle. All other times she has managed to somehow get away with it.
In 2009, Grace Mugabe happened to be travelling through another Asian country. This time, it was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She was scheduled to spend about 2 hours in the VIP transit zone at the airport, while waiting to connect another destination.
However, Grace decided she needed to walk around, and left the transit zone, proceeding from the international transit zone to the domestic flight zone. When she was done, she attempted to walk back to the VIP area using the same route she used to exit.
This despite the fact that the route was clearly marked ‘exit only’.
Airport security quickly stopped her, and told her that she would need to use the entrance, and go through a check-in process, as all passengers who exit the transit area need to go through immigration, and must go through security procedures.
But Gucci Grace owns the world. At least in her own mind. She refused, protested, and went on to assault some of the airport staff.
“She grabbed some of them by the collar, and bellowed that she was the wife of a President and could do whatever the hell she wanted to whenever the she wanted to”, a source at the airport who witnessed the event said.
“In all my 34 years working here, I have never seen such rowdy behaviour, from anyone at all. I have hosted all bad boys, rappers, artists, and even seen real Presidents come here. This one was so disgraceful” the source added.
The Malaysian authorities would have none of it. Members of Grace Mugabe’s protocol had to plead with them not to be too harsh, after they had resolved to declare her a security risk, and likely arrest her.
Members of her protocol and security team had to beg authorities for her release. While some of them had to beg her to cooperate and avoid causing a scene.
Eventually she made her way through the normal procedures, but not without cursing at anyone and everyone using excess vulgar language.
The Malaysia incident is not the second one either. It is not even the third, or the fourth. Khuluma Afrika has seen documents detailing at least five other incidents.
In Zimbabwe, there is a Shona saying that goes, “Mbudzi kudya mufenje hufananyina”. Another says, “Mhembwe rudzi inozvara mwana ane kazhumwi”, while another says, “Chaisiya huyo chaikuya nei”.
All sayings carry the same moral, that, “The apple does not fall far from the tree”.
In recent weeks, and months, several reports have exposed the lavish wild lifestyle that Mugabe’s children lead.
Robert Jnr was expelled from Dubai for bad behaviour. In SA, both him and his brother were evicted for all night drug parties. Grace Mugabe herself is on record for saying “Vana vandinesta (these kids trouble me)”
Perhaps in this case, Mrs. Mugabe needs to look at her own violent record first. Her kids are wild, and it is probably cause they learnt from the best.
- Maynard Manyowa is a Zimbabwean journalist, and co-editor of Khuluma Afrika – a nonpartisan center for investigative journalism and political analysis