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Grace Mugabe leaves workers on her Zimbabwe farm without pay

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Grace Mugabe

Grace Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s millionaire former first lady forced from power in last year’s coup has not paid her farm workers for months despite living a luxury lifestyle paid for by the state she and her husband once ruled, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

Workers on the Mugabes’ network of Zimbabwean farms – several of which were appropriated from white farmers – said they had not received salaries for three months.

Robert and Grace Mugabe have a vast property portfolio in Zimbabwe and South Africa worth more than £50 million. Despite being ousted last year, the Zimbabwean state still spends millions flying the couple by private jet for medical treatment in Singapore.

Zimbabwe’s government also said this week that it would not extradite Mrs Mugabe, 53, to South Africa, which issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for allegedly attacking a 21-year-old model with an electrical extension cord in a Johannesburg hotel last year.

However her 94-year-old husband, who can reportedly no longer walk, still has many supporters among the people and in the government.

Zimbabwean officials are unlikely to move against Mrs Mugabe while her husband is still alive.

South African prosecutors allege that Mrs Mugabe burst into a hotel room where her sons, Robert Mugabe Jr, 26, and Chatunga Bellarmine, 21, were drinking with Gabriella Engels, a 21-year-old model.

Mrs Mugabe allegedly struck Ms Engels with a power chord, leaving her with injuries to her forehead and to the back of her head, as her sons looked on. She faces up to two years in prison if convicted on charges of grievous bodily harm.

South African police allowed Mrs Mugabe to leave the country, which had become the base for her second home, after the incident when she claimed diplomatic immunity.

Her diplomatic status was revoked by a South African court this summer following last year’s coup d’etat which forced the Mugabe from power.

Energy Mutodi, Zimbabwe’s deputy information minister, said his country would view any attempt to extradite Mrs Mugabe as “harassment”.

“We will not smile on any attempt to embarrass‚ ill-treat or diminish the image of former president Robert Mugabe or his immediate family members,” Mr Mutodi said. “An attack on Grace Mugabe is an attack on the former president…our founding father and liberation icon and his misery is undesirable to us.”

Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mr Mugabe’s replacement as Zimbabwe’s president, pledged to continue supporting the Mugabes’ generous pension package which includes healthcare for both of them in Singapore.

The couple dislikes commercial travel and so Mr Mnangagwa hired private jets several times this year which flew Mr and Mrs Mugabe directly from Harare to Singapore’s exclusive Gleneagles Hospital.

The medical treatments and travel cost Zimbabwe at least £25 million this year when the state cannot afford to import basic medication for public hospitals and most state medical staff, including senior doctors, are on strike over poor wages.

Sources close to Mrs Mugabe in Singapore told The Sunday Telegraph she “spends money like water”. They say the Mugabe cash is held outside the country.

Mr Mugabe bought a farm in 2000 but went on to seize a further four adjoining properties from which white farmers, who were expelled without compensation. They employ around 100 workers across 12 farms.

The state ran the farms for the Mugabes and also secretly bought Zimbabwe’s most successful dairy in 2003 for Mrs Mugabe from a white farmer. She invested heavily in the dairy, but it has never yet covered its costs.

Most of their rural assets and the two expensive schools built by Mrs Mugabe on appropriated land are no longer fully operational since Mr Mugabe was ousted from power in last November’s coup.

Farmers told The Sunday Telegraph they were hoping Mrs Mugabe would pay them by Christmas Eve.

“We are worried for the last months, but we got a message will be paid next week, on December 24,” said one worker.

Mrs Mugabe and her associates, and the Zimbabwean government declined to respond to requests for comment this week from The Sunday Telegraph.

The Telegraph

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POLITICS

Mnangagwa appoints army General Sibanda into the Zanu PF politburo

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Philip Valerio Sibanda ZaNU PF

President Emerson Mnangagwa has appointed General Philip Valerie Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, to the Zanu PF politburo, in violation of the national constitution.

During a Zanu PF conference in Gweru on Saturday, Mnangagwa announced that the country’s top-ranking soldier would become an ex officio member of the party’s highest decision-making body in between congresses. Mnangagwa, who benefited from a 2017 military coup, made this announcement during his closing remarks.

“During the course of the year, we lost one of our party stalwarts, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga who was the Secretary for People with Disabilities.

Philip Sibanda’s appointment is a violation of the national constitution which says “The Defence Forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this constitution.”

While Zimbabwe’s military is known for being embedded with ruling party politics, Sibanda’s appointment is an unprecedented case of a serving soldier taking a leadership position within a political party.

The Zanu PF-led authority has ironically hounded out of service, a lot of officers within the country’s unformed forces for associating themselves with the opposition, which protests continued military involvement in Zanu PF campaigns.

The appointment of Philip Sibanda could come as an attempt by the under-fire leader to hedge himself against a possible coup with the military ever interested in who should be in the country.

The controversial appointment could also fall within the willy politician’s paraphernalia of self-serving schemes amid subtle signals of an ambition to go for a third term.

Zimbabwe has a dirty history of military interference in the country’s political affairs.

During past election periods, partisan military commanders have vowed never to “salute” an opposition leader emerging from the country’s polls in an indirect threat to block the ascension into power of any winner of the presidential election who is not Zanu PF.

Mnangagwa could also be preparing Philip Sibanda for a post in the Zanu PF presidium.

Last year, exiled former cabinet minister and politburo member Jonathan Moyo revealed Mnangagwa was keen to name Sibanda as his second vice president.

Sibanda is among former liberation war fighters drafted into the country’s military upon independence after having waged the war as a ZIPRA combatant.

ZIPRA was the military wing of the former PF Zapu, a liberation war movement that fought side by side with Zanu PF for the attainment of independence.

The current co-vice president, also a former PF Zapu politician, is battling poor health.

Mohadi collapsed a week ago while addressing a Zanu PF rally called to drum up support for a Gutu party election candidate.

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NEWS

Public Outcry Grows Over Mnangagwa’s Appointments of Family Members as Deputy Ministers

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Emmerson-Mnangagwa-sons

On Monday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was accused of nepotism for appointing his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, as the deputy finance minister in his new cabinet, after a controversial re-election. David will be working under finance minister Mthuli Cube. Additionally, the president’s nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, was named as the deputy minister of tourism and hospitality.

According to Fadzayi Mahere, a member of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), the cabinet of Mnangagwa is unacceptable. Mahere stated that it is a combination of illegitimacy, corruption, violence, nepotism, incompetence, and sex scandals. She added that it lacks the ethical leadership that Zimbabweans need and deserve. It is no surprise that the national mood is dismal.

Mnangagwa appointed Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa as ministers. Christopher will lead the new ministry of Veterans of Liberation, while Monica will be the minister of Women’s Affairs and SMEs.

David Mnangagwa graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a law degree. He was elected to parliament through the youth quota system, listed on a Zanu PF party roster from the Midlands province. Mnangagwa is believed to have almost two dozen children.

Tongai, meanwhile, is the Zanu PF MP for Hunyani constituency. His late father, David, was Mnangagwa’s young brother.

On Monday, sources reported that Mnangagwa is contemplating bestowing an official role on his son, Emmerson Junior, in his office. According to the source, Junior has already attended some of the president’s meetings with foreign investors, which has been an uncomfortable situation. Mnangagwa aims to regularise this arrangement by giving Junior an official position, such as an adviser or director.

On August 23rd, the 80-year-old Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the election amidst opposition allegations that the vote was fraudulent. He is now serving his second and final term as president, becoming another addition to the list of African leaders who have established political dynasties.

In Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister, a move that revived media speculation that he had a dynastic succession in mind.

Teodoro Obiang, President of Equatorial Guinea, appointed his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, as Vice President. He has been in power since removing his uncle Francisco Macías Nguema in 1979.

The former President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is the son of Omar Bongo who held the position from 1967 to 2009. Similarly, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila succeeded his father, Laurent-Désiré, after his assassination and remained as the head of state for 17 years.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has appointed his daughter Ange Kagame as the deputy executive director of the Strategy and Policy Unit in the Office of the President.

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NEWS

“CCC’s Ian Makone Takes the Helm as Harare’s New Mayor with Kudzai Kadzombe as Deputy

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new-harare-mayor-ian-makone

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has a new mayor in Harare. Ian Makone, who represents Ward 18, won the vote of the council on Monday, replacing Jacob Mafume from Ward 17. Kudzai Kadzombe, representing Ward 41, will serve as his deputy.

The CCC won a large majority in the election, taking 42 of the 45 council seats. Makone received 46 votes from the council, while his opponent, Temany Utete of Zanu PF, received only 7. Kadzombe won with 47 votes, compared to Susan Chuma of Zanu PF, who received 7. Party leader Nelson Chamisa instructed CCC councillors to vote for Makone and Kadzombe, and issued similar instructions for the election in Bulawayo.

In his first speech as mayor, Ian Makone pledged to prioritize service delivery to all residents, regardless of political affiliation. He also promised to tackle corruption and ensure that council workers are fairly paid. Tafadzwa Muguti, Harare’s secretary for provincial affairs, offered government support to the new council in addressing issues such as water supply, garbage collection, and sewer maintenance.

Overall, the message from the council and government officials was one of unity and shared responsibility for the well-being of Harare and its residents.

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