The $1.35 million diamond recently bought by Grace Mugabe was only the sparkler on top of a $7.5 million spending spree. Apart from the diamond, Grace is known to have also recently paid $4.5 million for a large property in Borrowdale close to the mansion where the Mugabes live, in preference to State House.
The Teede family who sold the property understandably do not want to discuss the deal but a local resident said: ‘The Teedes probably decided to sell their home and land to Grace Mugabe because they feared she would take it if they refused. We understand Grace Mugabe wants this property to develop many upmarket homes in a security estate.’
Property magnate Grace is also spending money on an expensive private school complex near Mazowe village about 20 kilometres west of Harare on land seized without payment from an old white couple fifteen years ago. A teacher there said pupils, mostly boarders, were charged $3,700 a term. The complex is below a huge luxury home Grace finished building last year.
Dr Grace is reported to have taken about a dozen other properties, mostly white-owned farms, since 2001. Robert has lagged behind, seizing only about six farms for himself. But then he is getting on a bit (see: http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/grace-mugabe-on-r100m-spending-spree-7217505).
Revelations of Grace’s spending spree came as it emerged that the Mugabes are paying up to half a million dollars a year on renting a ten bedroom house in Dubai. The disclosure came in an affidavit filed in the High Court this week in relation to the legal dispute over Grace’s diamond, which was bought in Dubai.
What is clear to the Vigil, in light of the vast wealth of the Mugabes, is that they have enough resources on their own to be sure of winning next year’s elections. All the old Zanu PF tricks have been deployed in today’s Bikita West by-election, even down to Zanu PF telling voters to declare that they are illiterate so that they can be ‘helped’ to vote for Zanu PF.
Apart from the predictable violence, intimidation etc, traditional rulers have been coerced into working for Zanu PF and there has been the usual partisan food distribution and fertiliser allocation to Zanu PF supporters. People have been told that Zanu PF has the serial numbers which will allow them to identify voters. And then, of course, there is the bribery . . .
- The Vigil was joined by many women who had taken part in a big ‘Dump Trump’ demonstration in nearby Trafalgar Square in support of American women upset at the property billionaire’s misogynistic remarks during the presidential election campaign. Many protesters came by and signed our petition and contributed generously to our cause.
- Supporters will be aware that the Vigil helped close the medical clinic in Nottingham run by Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife (connected to the Mugabes) who said they were given a farm in Zimbabwe even though they lived in England. Our protest led to a damning inspection of the clinic. Latest word of the Nyatsuros’ farming experiment: ‘A once thriving tobacco farm where a white Zimbabwean farmer and his wife lived for 35 years before being turfed out by a British doctor lies empty. Six foot tall tobacco plants which were lovingly tended to by 40 staff last year have been replaced by weeds, and the swish of water pumping onto crops is no more’ (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4106048/Pictured-Haunting-images-lush-tobacco-fields-seized-white-farmers-Mugabe-thugs-given-British-GP-reduced-pathetic-field-weeds.html).
- The Vigil was amused by a tweet from Education Minister Jonathan Moyo: ‘The Gambian people did not vote for war, they voted for Adama Barrow and their vote must count!’ The Vigil asks since when does the will of voters count for Moyo and Zanu PF? We heard a former Gambian minister on the BBC World Service saying the Gambian President, like many other African leaders, believed he owned the country and that he could just change the constitution at will to stay in power. The minister said the intervention by neighbouring West African states to secure his departure would help all of Africa. The Vigil thinks it is a pity that SADC does not also support constitutionalism.
- Listening to a Nigerian musician talking about African governance, we were struck by his description of African rulers as ‘executhieves and legislooters’. Rings a bell.
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Tawanda Chitate, Daizy Fabian, Dambudzo Gororo, Sibongile Gumbo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Phillip Mahlahla, Alice Majola, Heather Makawa, David Makuyana, Theodora Mandishaya, Rosemary Maponga, Benjamin Molife, Tinotenda Mrewa, Lloyd Mudzengerere, Erica Mukosha, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Xavier Murape, Virginia Mutyambizi, Nontokozo Ncube, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Sipho Ndlovu, Pretty Okechukwu, Jennipher Sabe, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Maxmus Savanhu and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Roseline, Cathrine Musa, Nontokozo and Alice M for looking after the front table, to Rumbidzayi, Dambudzo, Heather, Tawanda, Theodora, Tinotenda and Newman Richard for handing out flyers and selling wristbands, to Phillip, Alfredy, Maxmus, Tinotenda and Sipho for putting up the banners and to Rosemary and Mavis Chisvo for making tea.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.
FOR THE RECORD: 44 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 4th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 11th February. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-three months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 11th February from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
- ROHR Slough branch meeting. Saturday 11th February 2017 from 11 am – 1 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Centre, Wexham Road, Slough, SL2 5JW. For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803, Sharon Zimuto (Publicity and Advocacy) 07950837841.
The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
Facebook pages:ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/