Africa

Grace Mugabe's farm invaded by Zimbabwe gold diggers

Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Grace Mugabe developed the farm while her husband was president

Illegal workers have invaded the farm of former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe to mine for gold.

Reporters from the Zimbabwean newspaper Newsday found them uprooting lemon trees, digging shafts and loading gold ore into lorries.

After unsuccessfully confronting them on Thursday, Mrs Mugabe reported the matter to the police.

The farm is in Mazowe, where she had forcefully evicted villagers in 2015 - while her husband was still in power.

Mrs Mugabe said in a statement to the police obtained by the New Zimbabwe website that she was touring the farm when she was "shocked to find approximately 400 men illegally panning for gold".

When she confronted them at the farm, some 40km (25 miles) north of Harare, she said they "started to shout obscenities at me and continued with their unlawful activities".

Newsday reports that one worker shouted at her:

"You no longer have any power to remove us. This is the new dispensation, we do what we want".

Last year Mrs Mugabe was widely reported to be preparing to replace her aging husband as president of Zimbabwe.

But the rumours were not welcomed by parts of the ruling party and he was ousted from office in November, to be replaced by his long-time ally Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The life of Grace Mugabe

  • Began affair with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 41 years her senior, while working as a typist in state house
  • Mr Mugabe was still married to his first wife, Sally, who was terminally ill at the time
  • Married Mr Mugabe, her second husband, in 1996 in an extravagant ceremony
  • They have three children - Bona, Robert and Chatunga
  • Nicknamed "Gucci Grace" by her critics who accuse her of lavish spending
  • Named head of Zanu-PF women's league in 2014
  • Rumoured to be lining herself up to take over from her husband as president of Zimbabwe
  • Those rumours were followed by Mr Mugabe being ousted from power after 37 years

The polarising Grace Mugabe

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