Bernard Chiketo 4 February 2017
MUTARE – Grace Mugabe has been dragged into a tyre theft row after her
Queen of Grace’s national secretary-general claimed his prosecution was
aimed at tarnishing the first lady’s name.
President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, is the patron of Queen of Grace.
Ephraim Chizola, of St Martin’s in Harare, is standing trial for stealing
The 34-year-old allegedly failed to return the tyres lent to him by a
fellow Zanu PF political activist last August after he had a breakdown on
his way to Harare.
Chizola, who is being tried by magistrate Yeukai Chigodora, has since had
a warrant of arrest issued against him after skipping court on Wednesday.
He is denying the charges.
The Queen of Grace leader is being charged with theft as defined under
section 113 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter
It was the State’s case that sometime in August 2015, Chizola had three
tyre punctures and asked Miriam Manhenga, a member of an unnamed political
group, for assistance so that he could proceed with his journey to Harare.
He promised to return with the tyres but never did, leaving Manhenga with
no option but to file theft charges against him.
However, Chizola is claiming that Manhenga is trying to tarnish his
reputation and the image of Queen of Grace and the first lady, who is the
face of it.
He claimed that the litigation has high political interest rather than the
desire to recover her tyres, further claiming that Munhenga was being paid
to drag his name through the mud.
Chizola said he had the breakdown at the first lady’s service, and the
litigation was therefore a personal attack on her.
Munhenga, however, insisted that there was nothing political about the
She told the court that when she approached Chizola to ask about her
tyres, he assaulted her with the assistance of his wife.
Munhenga said the first lady should not be dragged into the issue because
the tyres were handed directly to Chizola.