by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOME exiled Zimbabweans, including those forced out of the country by violence sanctioned by Robert Mugabe, have called on the government to investigate reports the former president was being abused by his controversial wife, Grace.
They have called for the arrest of the 52-year-old former first lady after it emerged she was physically, emotionally and verbally abusing the veteran politician, aged 94.
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) Executive Director, Gabriel Shumba, who is also an advocate at the Johannesburg High Court, said violence, especially against elderly people, was unacceptable.
“Violence and abuse of man on women, or on women to men is reprehensible and should be condemned in any society. It is even worse when it involves the elderly. This is a matter that law enforcement should deal with, together with many other previous allegations levelled against the two,
for example, issues related to corruption,” Shumba said.
Ironically, Shumba was forced into exile to South Africa by Mugabe’s regime for standing against human rights violations and fighting deteriorating rule of law in Zimbabwe.
He is a victim of torture by state agents.
Shumba pointed out Mrs Mugabe has a history of violence.
Last year, she was at the centre of a diplomatic tiff after allegedly assaulting and injuring South African model, Gabriella Engels, with an extension electric cord after she found her in the presence of his unruly sons.
“Knowing that Grace has previously exhibited a propensity for violence and tantrums, I am not surprised to hear these allegations,” Shumba said.
Michael Harold Mawere, a Zimbabwean businessman based in Fourways, said, “If indeed the reports (of Mugabe’s abuse) are true, then something urgent must be done by Mnangagwa’s government to urgently rescue the former president from such physical, emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse.”
He pointed out old age had rendered Mugabe defenseless hence the need by the state to protect him.
“Mugabe is now very old. More-so, let us not forget he supported liberation not only for Zimbabwe but throughout Africa. The old-man might have turned a dictator along the way but for fellow comrades in Zanu-PF, Zimbabwe and the rest of the continent to turn blind eye while he (Mugabe)
is being abused is sinful,” Mawere said.
Exiled opposition activists including Movement for Democratic Change’s Revai Mashandudze demanded that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government arrested Mrs Mugabe, if indeed the claims of physically assaulting Mugabe by wife were true.
“Such abuse against elderly people cannot be tolerated. I therefore call for President Mnangagwa’s government to investigate the matter with view to prosecute Grace (Mugabe) of such alleged assault,” Mashandudze said.
Shadreck Sungano of Pretoria, said, “We all know Mugabe is founding father of Zimbabwe’s independence, who later turned a monster against own people, but allowing such alleged vices from his wife to physically abuse him was not acceptable at all. Mugabe is very old, and deserves protection just like any other elderly people.”
Contacted for comment by CAJ News Africa, Mugabe’s nephew and former cabinet minister, Patrick Zhuwao, now in self exile dismissed the allegations as untrue and unsubstantiated.