Grace Mugabe

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Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe
Grace-Mugabe.jpg
Secretary of the ZANU- PF Women's League
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 6, 2014
Preceded by Oppah Muchinguri
Personal details
Born Grace Marufu
(1965-07-23) July 23, 1965 (age 51)
Chivhu, Mashonaland East
Political party Zanu-PF
Spouse(s) Robert Mugabe
Children Russel Goreraza
Bona Mugabe
Chatunga Mugabe
Robert Mugabe Jr
Event Timeline
6 Dec 2014 : Elected ZANU PF Women's League Chairperson
17 Oct 2014 : Meet The People Rally in Mashonaland East province (Rudhaka Stadium, Marondera)
For Grace Mugabe's full timeline of events, click here


Grace Mugabe is the Zimbabwean first lady; wife to President Robert Mugabe of the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF). She is also the Secretary of the ZANU- PF Women's League after her nomination and subsequent election in 2014. She is also an established philanthropist who owns an orphanage in the Mazowe area of Mashonaland Central province.

Background

Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe (nee Marufu) was on born 23 July 1965 in Chivhu in the Mashonaland East province of Zimbabwe. She was initially married to Stanley Goreraza, an air force pilot now working at the Zimbabwean Embassy in China and together have a son Russel Goreraza. Whilst working as secretary to the President, that is when she got married to the President. Grace then had three children with the President, Bona Mugabe, named after Mugabe's mother and Robert Mugabe Junior. The couple married in 1996 and in 1997 Grace gave birth to their third child Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe.[1] Grace is Robert Mugabe's second wife after the death of his first wife Sally Mugabe who died in 1992.

Educational Background

Grace Mugabe Graduating at the University of Zimbabwe in September 2014
Grace Mugabe studied at a Chinese university and graduated with a degree in Chinese.[2] On the 12th of September 2014, Grace graduated with a PhD from the University of Zimbabwe's Faculty of Social Studies Department of Sociology. She was capped by her long time husband who is also the Chancellor of all state Universities and the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe. She also graduated together with vice president Joice Mujuru among other thousands of graduates. However the degree attracted criticism and speculation over the fact that she did not write a thesis and she did not take the required period of between three and six years to complete.[3]

Businesses Interests

Grace Mugabe controls a business empire called Gushungo Holdings. The first family owns at least 10 farms through Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. Gushungo is Mugabe's clan name. The company owns 10601ha of fertile land in the country's northern regions. Mugabe and his family acquired a significant chunk of farmland.In 2008, eight years after the land reform programme started Grace took over Gwina Farm in Banket from high court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo. Gushungo Holdings also owns Mazowe, Sigaro, Leverdale and Bassiville farms,Gwina Farm,1000ha Foyle Farm,1046ha Iron Mask Farm, 1200ha Gwebi Wood Farm,1488ha Leverdale Farm and their personal farm in Norton Highfield Farm which is 445ha.[4] Gushungo Holdings was reportedly accused of having kicked out 11 small-scale miners occupying 22 hectares of land along Mazowe River to pave way for the expansion of the first family business.[5] The following companies are subsidiaries of Gushungo Holdings.

  1. Alpha and Omega Dairy is a subsidiary of Gushungo Holdings. This is multi-million-dollar project that has become one of the biggest rivals to big brands such as Nestlé Zimbabwe and Dairiboard Zimbabwe. Gushungo Dairy was at one point involved in a dispute with Swiss company Nestlé over a milk deal.[6]
  2. Mazowe's Children Home

Grace Mugabe also runs an orphanage which is supposed to help the less privileged children in society.[7]

  1. Amai Grace Mugabe Junior School

Grace Mugabe recently unveiled a new state-of-the-art high school in Mazowe where enrollment was underway for a whopping $3 500 per term. [8]

Political Mileage- Women's League

Grace Mugabe was in July 2014 nominated to lead the Zanu PF women's league. The nomination was spearheaded by the outgoing Womens's league chairperson Oppah Muchinguri and the youth league.[9] The nomination grabbed the headlines as the party supporters converged at Amai's Mazowe Orphanage home. In August 2014, Grace was subsequently elected leader of the Zanu PF Women's league at the Women's League Annual NATIONAL Conference held in Harare. Thereafter, the first lady embarked on a national tour where she toured various provinces in a campaign dubbed "Meet the People".

During her campaigns, the first lady is said to have taken the platform to denounce various factions within the party. Although she was not clear, there is widespread speculation that she launched an attack at the Mujuru faction which is led by vice president Joice Mujuru and Didymus Mutasa. She openly disassociated herself from internal factions in the Zanu PF movement. In her "Meet the People" rallies, the president toured various Zanu PF strongholds such as Manicaland, Mashonaland, Harare and Matabeleland. Businessman Philip Chiyangwa was said to be the one behind the funding and financial support of the first lady's nationwide campaign. Some politicians especially from the opposition media speculate that Grace has in fact started the preliminaries of taking over power from her husband Robert.[10]

Presidential ambitions

Grace Mugabe dismissed any claims that she harboured any presidential ambitions in an interview with the Sunday Mail.[11] She claimed that her focus was on her charity work, private business and her role as ZANU-PF Women's League boss.[12]

Controversy

Grace has been accused of living an extravagant life-style while masses are facing economic hardships.[13] She was nicknamed Gucci by some media houses due to her alleged love for expensive material and luxurious spending. It is believed that Grace is a shopping fanatic ans she usually travels to Asian and Arab countries for shopping together with her family. In December 2014, photos of the first family on a holiday emerged and local critics lamented the luxurious spending while the country was suffering from poverty and underdevelopment.

Scandals

Land Grabbing Scandals

The picture shows the victims houses up in smoke burnt down by the police
On 8 January 2015, the first lady forcibly removed more than two hundred families from their farms which they acquired during the controversial land reform program. Spenenken and Arnold farms which form Manzou Estate are said to have been reserved for commercial game reserve by the first lady who publicly expressed her interest in the area. Hardly 24 hours after this scandalous expulsion of ordinary citizens by the first lady, 600 more families were given notices to vacate their small scale farms on the edges of Mazowe Dam in Mashonaland Central Province. According to the NewsDay publication of 9 January 2015, six truckloads of riot personnel from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and burnt down houses which had remained intact after the initial raid held on the 7th of January 2015. The NewsDay also reported that "Grace, who runs an orphanage, an affluent primary school and Alpha Omega Dairy project, has publicly announced plans to annex more land to set up a private wildlife sanctuary, hospital, secondary school and Robert Mugabe University."[14]

Alleged Affair with James Makamba

In the 1990s, rumours began to emerge that the first lady was involved in an extra marital affair with a local businessman James Makamba. Makamba was diverse interests in various aspects of the economy including retailing, transport and properties. He was involved in an partnership with Grace Mugabe in which the two allegedly worked together to improve the ;lives of the less privileged members of the community particularly women and children. Previously, Makamba had done similar work with President Mugabe's first wife, the late Sally Mugabe. The funds raised were used to build schools, orphanages, and old age homes, set up bursaries, establish development organisations, and implement rural electrification programmes. Makamba then skipped the country in 2005 after allegations of externalising foreign currency.[15]

Alleged Affair with Gideon Gono

In 2010, Grace was accused of having a sexual relationship with the then Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono. The two were alleged to have gone on private trips in either neighbouring South Africa and Asia where they lived in private and expensive hotels. The rumours resulted in the publication of the photos of the two but some critics the evidence as dubious and malicious.[16]

Peter Pamire

In the late 1990s, the first lady was alleged to have been involved in a love affair with the late businessman and politician Peter Pamire. After the rumours began to circulate, Pamire was then involved in a mysterious car accident which claimed his life. The rumours were never confirmed as truth living locals to speculate and make their own conclusions.[16]

Grace Mugabe scandals started in the late 1980's when she fell in love with Mugabe whilst he was still married legally to his late wife Sally who eventually died in 1992. While Sally while battling the chronic disease, Grace was said to have began bedding the president resulting in her giving birth to Bona in 1990 while Sally was still alive.

Meet the People Rallies

Harare Province 08 October 2014

Grace Mugabe at a political rally in 2014
Grace Mugabe kicked off her official duty as the first secretary of the Women's League by meeting the party supporters for Harare province at the City Sports Centre. The first lady was accompanied by Oppah Muchinguri and Eunice Moyo a member of the Politburo.[17] The main highlight of her speech at this meeting was her call against factionalism in the party. In an effort to effectively convey her message, Grace made a physical gesture by calling two alleged faction leaders to unite in the spirit of togetherness; Amos Midzi who is the provincial party chairman and Godwin Gomwe the provincial youth leader.
Grace Mugabe "uniting" the warring faction leaders

Manicaland Province 10 October 2014

The Manicaland rally took place at Sakubva stadium in Mutare. There were reports of violence as youths clashed due to factional differences. A group of youths accused a fellow youth leader Godwin Gomwe for humiliating the "provincial godfather" Didymus Mutasa and accusing him for agitating factional differences within the party. Grace Mugabe showed utter disappointment as she launched a verbal attack on the people who were using Robert Mugabe's name to achieve their individual political ends.[18]

Matabeleland South 13 October 2014

The rally was held in Gwanda at Pelandaba Stadium. She began by briefing the party' provincial leadership before proceeding to "meet the people". Phillip Chiyangwa, Simon Khaya Moyo, Obert Mpofu, Temba Mliswa and Patrick Zhuwao were some of the figures who attended the rally. She donated ten tonnes of maize seed and ten tonnes of mealie-meal to the people of Matabelenad South.[19]

Bulawayo Province- 15 October 2014

The rally was held at Amazulu Sports Club. In a feat of disappointment or disapproval, some people decided to march out of the rally while the first lady was busy with her address. Responding to the humiliating demonstration of impatience by the women who were marching out, the first lady burst into anxiety and she was quoted saying; “You are disorganised, Bulawayo. This is disrespectful. We are about to finish. Sit down, where are those women going? Anyone who doesn’t sit down will not receive the farming inputs I brought”. Olivia Muchena a member of the Women's League tried to justify the walk out by stating that the women were going out to receive far implements. Considering the unpopularity of the Zanu Pf party in the Matabeleland region, it can be argued that the women who walked out were indeed showing their dislike for the party in general and Grace Mugabe in particular.[20]

Mashonaland Central Province- 16 October 2014

The Mash Central Meet the People episode took place at Chipadze Stadium in Bindura which is the capital of Mashonaland Central Province. The first lady went toured the province in the company of government officials and ministers including Jonathan Moyo, Supa Mandiwanzira and Saviour Kasukuwere. In her speech, she tackled the issue of factions when she proclaimed that she was going to deal with one faction leader who became to be known as "gamatox".[21] There was widespread speculation in the media that "gamatox" was a name used to refer to Didymus Mutasa who was linked to the faction led by vice president Joice Mujuru. Sulumani Chimbetu provided entertainment with his contemporary Dendera Music.

Mashonaland East Province 17 October 2014

Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera became a theatre of drama when the first lady toured Mashonaland east province in her meet the people rallies. She openly accused the Zanu PF provincial chairman Ray Kaukonde of siding with Joice Mujuru's faction in a bid to remove Robert Mugabe from power. Her speech was all over the media due to its explicit nature and it was construed as having "undressed" Ray Kaukonde. She also took a swipe at the Mashonaland East provincial youth chairperson for not being part of her entourage in her "meet the people" rallies. The Mash East rally attracted attention from various circles as it took a more direct approach to the factional fights which have marred the revolutionary party.[22] Some of the attendants included Joseph Chinotimba and Ignatius Chombo.

2014 election as Women's League leader

At the December 2014 party congress, Grace was confirmed as the Women's League Chairperson, effectively becoming the most powerful woman in the party. Her elevation was victory for the Mugabe loyalists who saw this as a befitting reward to Grace after she had "exposed" the rot in ZANU PF.

Philanthropy and Charity Work

The Danhiko Project

Grace Mugabe is arguably one of the biggest philanthropists in Zimbabwe. To begin with, she is the patron of Danhiko, which is an institution for the disabled people. She attends most of the annual paralympic games held at the institution in Harare. In 2014, she donated 1, 2 tonnes of beef and 700 tonnes of maize meal towards the success of the games. She also has a history of reaching out to the disabled members of the community by donating material such as wheelchairs which they need in their day to day lives.

The Mozowe Orphanage

Besides the Danhiko venture, Grace Mugabe also owns a orphanage in Mazowe. Here she takes care of dozens of orphans who she adopted from different parts of the country. She has also constructed a primary school which also includes a preparatory school at the centre.This gesture of looking after the less privileged members of the community enabled the first lady to win admiration form the general public as well as fellow politicians in the ZANU PF party. She also got support in terms of donations from the popular religious leader Emmanuel Makandiwa who at one point in time donated money towards the development of the project. It is said that the first lady also named one child after the popular prophet in a bid to increase sponsorship for the project.

Frail Health?

When Mugabe returned from his annual holiday from the Far East on 22 January 2015, he revealed that his wife, Grace had an appendectomy procedure.[23] This partly led them to delay their travel arrangements to back to Zimbabwe on time. Mugabe stated that, Grace had been complaining about her appendix for so long but surprisingly, was unable to reprimand it like she did to those who were accused of fanning factionalism within the party and those who were plotting to remove Mugabe from power.[23] Mugabe hinted that, Grace was discharged from hospital on 20 January.

It was also reported that, Mugabe was not aware of Grace's condition. Speculations are rife that Grace might have been struck by this rare type of appendicitis after the Manzou Farm fiasco.[24]

Trivia

  • Grace Mugabe was once a typist in the office of President (Robert Mugabe).
  • She was part of people sanctioned from travelling to Europe and the U.S.

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References

  1. Mugabe Tells Of Old Secret Affair With Grace
  2. Up close with Grace Mugabe
  3. , Grace Mugabe’s PhD: Academics speak, "The Standard", published:14 Sep 2014,retrieved:30 Sep 2014"
  4. President Robert Mugabe is one of the biggest landowners in Zimbabwe. A Sunday Times investigation alleged that he and his family own at least 10 farms through Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.
  5. First Lady Grace Mugabe evicts 50 families
  6. Mugabe dairy empire growing: Grace
  7. A thank you to Grace Mugabe
  8. Mugabes under the spotlight – Zimbabwe's first family filmed at home
  9. , Grace Mugabe voted head of Zanu-PF women's league, "Mail and Guardian", published:16 Aug 2014,retrieved:15 Oct 2014"
  10. F. Kwaramba, 'Grace Mugabe for president', "Daily News", published:9 Oct 2014,retrieved:15 Oct 2014"
  11. Daniel Nemukuyu First Lady hailed on succession, Herald, Published: July 27, 2015, Retrieved: July 27, 2015
  12. Mabasa Sasa First Lady opens up on Presidency, Sunday Mail, Published: July 26, 2015, Retrieved: July 27, 2015
  13. Spend it like Grace!
  14. E. Mushava, Grace targets 600 more families,NewsDay, published:09 Jan 2015,retrieved:09Jan 2015"
  15. , Makamba finally speaks of 'Grace Mugabe love affair' rumour,iHarare 24, published:21 Jun 2014,retrieved:30 Dec 2014"
  16. 16.0 16.1 , Grace Mugabe in sexual affair with Gideon Gono,ZimEye, published:25 Oct 2010,retrieved:30 Dec 2014"
  17. , Dr Grace Harare Rally, "The Herald", published:08 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  18. O. Maniyati, Youths clash at Grace Mugabe rally, "Newsday", published:11 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  19. T. Muleya, Amai Grace Mugabe Mat South Rally, "The Herald", published:13 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  20. N. Ndlovu, Grace fumes as women walk out, "Newsday", published:16 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  21. F. Share, Live, Amai Grace Mugabe Mashonaland Central Rally, "The Herald", published:16 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  22. F. Share, Live First Amai Grace Mugabe Mash East Rally, The Herald, Published:17 Oct 2014, Retrieved: October 17, 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 Tendai Mugabe, First Lady undergoes op, The Herald, published:23 Jan 2015,retrieved:23 January 2015"
  24. Grace Mugabe Struck By Deadly Disease After Starting Violent Manzou Evictions, Zim Eye, published:23 Jan 2015,retrieved:23 January 2015"