Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Grace Mugabe empire crumbles

By Adeline Mapfumo

Former first lady Grace Mugabe’s empire is teetering on the brink of collapse following reports that she is reeling in debt and teachers at her Mazowe academy are leaving en masse because of poor salaries, Zim Morning Post has learnt.

Grace Mugabe at Gushungo Dairy Estate, which she took over in 2009
Grace Mugabe at Gushungo Dairy Estate, which she took over in 2009

Affectionately known as Gucci Grace, the former first lady has a penchant for luxurious things and abused office to acquire her wealth.

Zim Morning Post understands that staffers at her Mazowe campus are leaving en masse because of lack of incentives they used to enjoy during her husband’s time as president.

Grace allegedly abused power to be granted a loan from CBZ bank without collateral putting her on the top of the list of bad debtors with a debt of US$4.5 million.

CBZ has engaged Biti and Associates to institute litigation with view of recovering the money.

Alpha and Omega’s supply rate has decreased, vendors who used to sell their yoghurts, ice creams and milk have seized.

A worker at the Gushungo Dairy (Picture by NewsDay)
A worker at the Gushungo Dairy (Picture by NewsDay)

Grace has been struggling to keep her companies afloat in the face of a festering economic tsunami, which they aided and abetted while still enjoying the trappings of power.

Her flagship enterprise, Alpha Omega Dairy, which used to scoop dubious accolades during exhibitions at the height of Mugabe’s power, is operating well below capacity. It recently auctioned several of its properties including vehicles and farm equipment.

At some point Grace was ordered to pay $278 304 to Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners for representing her in a botched $1,4 million diamond ring deal.

The law firm claimed that after it represented the former first lady for two years, Grace did not pay the legal fees.

Their legal woes started soon after the soft coup in November 2017, which saw several of their allies, including their nephew Patrick Zhuwao, going into self-imposed exile.

Grace through her company Gushungo Holdings, also dragged the miners and the officer-in-charge of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit demanding to be allowed back to the farm.

As if this was not enough, Grace’s company was also dragged to the High Court in May 2018 for failing to pay over $174 000 for potato seed acquired on credit from Seed Potato Co-op in 2015.

Her company turned the tables against the potato producing company, accusing the firm of breaching a verbal contract entered between the two parties.

During the same month, Alpha Omega Dairy was also in court facing eviction from its offices after it allegedly failed to pay $29 000 for rentals.

Grace is also facing the full wrath of the law in South Africa for attacking one of her sons’ alleged girlfriend, Gabriella Engels, in 2017 using an electrical extension cord at an upmarket hotel in the business district of Sandton.

South African police last December issued an arrest warrant against the former first lady for the offence.

Grace’s son, Chatunga Bellarmine is not having it easy either.

In June last year, Chatunga’s property was set to be auctioned over a $12 000 debt after he allegedly failed to pay rentals for his butchery business in Chitungwiza. Zim Morning Post