Grace Mugabe

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Grace Mugabe
Grace Mugabe with Robert Mugabe 2013-08-04 11-53.jpeg
Grace Mugabe (right) with Robert Mugabe
Born Grace Marufu
(1965-07-23) 23 July 1965 (age 49)
Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa
Residence Borrowdale Harare, Zimbabwe
Other names Grace Goreraza
Occupation Typist (former)
entrepreneur
Title First Lady of Zimbabwe.
Predecessor Sally Hayfron
Political party
ZANU PF
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Stanley Goreraza (divorced)
Robert Mugabe (1996–present)
Children Russell Goreraza
Nyepudzayi Bona Mugabe
Robert Mugabe Jr.
Chatunga Mugabe

Grace Mugabe (née Marufu, 23 July 1965)[1] is the second wife of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and the First Lady of Zimbabwe from her marriage to the leader in 1996.[2]

Grace was previously married to Stanley Goreraza, an air force pilot, and now working in the Zimbabwe embassy in China.[3][4] As secretary to the president, she became his mistress while still married to Goreraza and together they had two children, Bona, named after Mugabe's mother, and Robert Peter, Jr.[5] The couple were married in an extravagant Catholic Mass, titled the "Wedding of the Century" by the Zimbabwe press, after the death of Mr. Mugabe's first wife, Sally Hayfron.[5][6]

In 1997, Grace Mugabe gave birth to the couple's third child, Chatunga.[7] Grace is popularly known in Zimbabwe as "Dis Grace", a reference to her extravagant lifestyle while maintaining political responsibilities as first lady.[8]

Sanctions[edit]

After observers from the European Union were barred from examining Zimbabwe's 2002 elections, the EU imposed sanctions on 20 members of the Zimbabwe leadership and then, in July, extended them to include Mrs Mugabe and 51 others, banning them from travelling to participating countries and freezing any assets held there. The United States instituted similar restrictions.[9]

Controversies[edit]

Real estate[edit]

During her tenure as first lady, Grace Mugabe has overseen the construction of two palaces. The first, referred to commonly as "Gracelands", became controversial for its extravagance, and Grace Mugabe later explained that she had paid for its construction with her own personal savings.[5] It was later sold to Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. The second, completed in 2007, was reported to have cost $26 million to construct and to have been funded by the ZANU-PF party as thanks for Robert Mugabe's political service.[10]

In 2002, Grace Mugabe toured farm properties in Zimbabwe, looking for a new location for herself and her family. She chose the Iron Mask Estate, which had been previously owned by farmers John and Eva Matthews.[11]

The first family owns property in Malaysia, and in early 2008, it was reported that Grace Mugabe hoped to move there with her children. The intention behind the move was to escape the stress of leadership and to address fears that the first family faces assassination.[12] Recent reports indicate that Grace acquired property holdings in Hong Kong, including a diamond cutting business and a bolt-hole at House Number Three, JC Castle, 18 Shan Tong Road, Tai Po, Hong Kong.[13] The media speculates that this property acquisition is intended as both a weekend getaway pad for their daughter Bona who is studying at the University of Hong Kong under an assumed name[14] and that she and her husband expect to escape to China should they be ousted from power in Zimbabwe.

Diamond trade allegations and lawsuit[edit]

In December 2010 US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks brought up again earlier allegations[15] that high-ranking Zimbabwean government officials and well-connected elites, including Mugabe's wife Grace, are generating millions of dollars in personal income by hiring teams of diggers to hand-extract diamonds from the Chiadzwa mine in eastern Zimbabwe.[16][17] Grace Mugabe is currently suing a Zimbabwean newspaper over its reporting of claims released by Wikileaks she had made "tremendous profits" from the country's diamond mines. The president's wife is demanding $15m (£9.6m) from the Standard newspaper.[18]

Shopping[edit]

Grace Mugabe is known for her lavish lifestyle. The Daily Telegraph called her "notorious at home for her profligacy" in coverage of a 2003 trip to Paris,[19] during which she was reported as spending £75,000 (approx US$120,000) in a short shopping spree; and in the years leading up to 2004 withdrew over £5 million from the Central Bank of Zimbabwe.[12][20] In Zimbabwe she is known sarcastically as "Gucci Grace" or "The First Shopper" in reference to her numerous, lavish European shopping sprees. When Grace Mugabe was included in the 2002 sanctions, one EU parliamentarian said that the ban would "stop Grace Mugabe going on her shopping trips in the face of catastrophic poverty blighting the people of Zimbabwe."[21] Mrs Mugabe faces similar sanctions in the United States.[1]

Assault on photographer[edit]

The Times reported on 18 January 2009 that, while on a shopping trip in Hong Kong, where her daughter Bona Mugabe is a university student,[22] Mrs Mugabe ordered her bodyguard to assault a Times photographer Richard Jones outside her luxury hotel. She then joined in the attack, punching Jones repeatedly in the face while wearing diamond encrusted rings, causing him cuts and abrasions.[8][23] She was subsequently granted immunity from prosecution 'under Chinese diplomatic rules' because of her status as Mugabe's wife.[24]

Daughter's controversies in Hong Kong[edit]

Early reports indicated Bona Mugabe was a student at the University of Hong Kong.[25] A protest started on the University of Zimbabwe campus on 3 February resulting in about 30 students needing medical treatment including police forces being used against defenceless citizens and harassments of students.[26] Zimbabwe students were protesting to the P. R. Chinese embassy that Bona Mugabe should return home to Zimbabwe and study in the same conditions as her peers.[25] Colleges and universities in Zimbabwe have failed to open since 2008 due to dollarisation of fees and other economic problems.[27]

On 17 February the University of Hong Kong distanced itself from the controversy, denying a report that she was a student there. The school statement said "We do not have a student by the name of Bona Mugabe on our student register, and we do not have any lady student from Zimbabwe who is reading for an undergraduate programme or is at the age of around 20."[25] Subsequent reports clarified that Bona is in fact enrolled in a second school, the City University of Hong Kong,[28] which said she met normal admission requirements and her enrolment was not influenced by her parentage. Due to the attention surrounding Robert Mugabe's daughters her family enlisted the help of a female ex-government official to provide safety and supervision during her time in Hong Kong.[29]

According to Vice chairperson of the HK democratic party Emily Lau said the government should study whether to follow international practice in barring certain foreign politicians as many people might be looking at buying properties, investments or education in Hong Kong.[30] Lee Wing-tat said Beijing should be making the decision since this was a foreign affair.[30] Spokesperson Jiang Yu from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China said she was not aware of the Mugabes' alleged house purchase in Hong Kong and would not comment further.[29] A professor at the University of HK said Beijing was trying to stay out of the controversy.[30] The Beijing central government dismissed the concerns, adding that Falun Gong members were allowed to buy properties in Hong Kong.[30]

Education[edit]

Controversy ensued when Grace Mugabe was given a doctoral degree in sociology in September 2014 from the University of Zimbabwe two months after entering the program. She was awarded the degree by her husband and University Chancellor Robert Mugabe. Her doctoral thesis is not available in the University archive and she has faced calls to return her PHD.[31] This caused backlash in the UZ academic community, with some commenting that this could harm the reputation of the University.[32][33][34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Executive Order: Blocking Property Of Persons Undermining Democratic Processes Or Institutions In Zimbabwe". Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  2. ^ Verkaik, Robert (6 April 2008). "The love that made Robert Mugabe a monster". The Independent (London). Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Chinamano, Roy. "Mugabe will not accept defeat – Grace". Zimbabwe Metro. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  4. ^ "Affair with president's wife costs Zim tycoon". ZWNews.com. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c "Where We Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe By Andrew Meldrum"
  6. ^ Chikaya, Chicko. "A brief history about Grace Mugabe.". Harare Tribune. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  7. ^ Winter, Joseph (10 May 2000). "Mugabe: Freedom fighter turned autocrat". The BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Swain, Jon (18 January 2009). "Mrs Mugabe assaults our photographer outside her luxury Hong Kong hotel". The Times (London). Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  9. ^ "Mugabe's wife on EU sanctions list". BBC News. 22 July 2002. Retrieved 28 Sep 9.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ Chappell, Anne. "The Palace of President Mugabe of Zimbabwe". Newsvine. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  11. ^ Thornycroft, Peta (20 August 2002). "Mugabe's wife to move into white couple's farm". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  12. ^ a b Peta, Basildon (7 April 2008). "Mugabe demands vote recount as 'war veterans' arm for battle". The Independent (London). Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  13. ^ Swain. "Grasping Grace puts diamond business on her shopping list". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 15 February 2009. [dead link]
  14. ^ Sapa-dpa. "Mugabe's daughter 'studying in Hong Kong'". IOL. Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  15. ^ Tran, Mark, 2010:Zimbabwe rulers running diamond trade with 'corruption and violence' in Guardian 14 June 2010, viewed 15 December 2010.
  16. ^ Sguazzin, Antony/Latham, Brian, 2010: Zimbabwe’s Political Elite Profited From Gems, WikiLeaks Says in Bloomberg 10 December 2010, viewed 15 December 2010.
  17. ^ Wikileaks Cable Viewer: 08HARARE1016, created:2008-11-12 11:11, released:2010-12-08 21:09, classification:CONFIDENTIAL, origin:Embassy Harare, viewed 9 December 2010.
  18. ^ BBC, 2010: Wikileaks: Grace Mugabe sues over diamond claims in BBC News 16 December 2010, viewed 12 January 2011.
  19. ^ Truffle dinners for £190 at the Mugabes' glittering hideaway, Telegraph, 2 February 2003<
  20. ^ "MUGABE TREBLES HIS PAY". The Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  21. ^ "Mugabe's wife on EU sanctions list". The BBC. 22 July 2002. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  22. ^ Parry, Simon. "Mugabe's daughter studying at HKU under alias". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  23. ^ Brook, Sally, The Sun, UK, 4 March 2004
  24. ^ "No attack charges for Mugabe wife". BBC. 22 March 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2009. 
  25. ^ a b c News24. "News24." Mugabe's Bona at HK varsity?. Retrieved on 20 February 2009.
  26. ^ Zimdiaspora.com. "Zimdiaspora.com." Zimbabwe students riot over Bona Mugabe. Retrieved on 20 February 2009.
  27. ^ South China Morning Post. "SCMP." Zimbabwean students' union urges HK to deport Bona Mugabe. Retrieved on 20 February 2009.
  28. ^ "非 洲 獨 裁 者 女 兒 是 城 大 生 港 大 擺 烏 龍 澄 清 無 此 人". Hong Kong Apple Daily. Retrieved 17 February 2009. 
  29. ^ a b News.iafrica.com. "News.iafrica.com." Miss Mugabe in HK. Retrieved on 20 February 2009.
  30. ^ a b c d South China Morning Post. "SCMP." Why can't Mugabe buy a flat in HK, asks Beijing. Retrieved on 20 February 2009.
  31. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29451239
  32. ^ http://allafrica.com/stories/201409191481.html
  33. ^ http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/entertainment/article/2000135151/zimbabwe-s-first-lady-grace-mugabe-awarded-phd-two-months-after-enrollment
  34. ^ http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/zimbabwe-grace-mugabe-awarded-phd-two-months-university-where-president-mugabe-chancellor-1465523