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Booing of Zimbabwe’s Grace Mugabe lands four in court

  • 10 November 2017
  • From the section Africa

Grace MugabeImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Grace Mugabe was booed while she gave a speech at a Zanu-PF rally

Four people have appeared in a Zimbabwean court for allegedly booing First Lady Grace Mugabe, state-owned media reports.

The Herald says they were arrested after a rally in Bulawayo, where Mrs Mugabe spoke last Saturday.

They reportedly face charges of undermining the president’s authority. It is not clear how they pleaded.

The booing came amid a bitter battle between rival factions to succeed President Robert Mugabe, aged 93.

Mrs Mugabe leads one faction, while former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa led the other. He was sacked two days after the heckling and has since fled to neighbouring South Africa.

The four accused are said to be supporters of Mr Mnangagwa.

The three men and one woman have been remanded in custody pending a bail hearing.

Prosecutor Jerry Mutsindikwa told a magistrate court that “the quartet, with others allegedly sang the song ‘into oyenzayo siyayizonda'” – the lyrics of which say “we hate what you are doing” in Ndebele – while Mrs Mugabe addressed the rally.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Grace Mugabe is now the favourite to take over from her husband

Mrs Mugabe had been pushing for the removal of the vice-president, referring to him as a snake that “must be hit on the head.”

Mr Mnangwagwa’s removal makes Mrs Mugabe the favourite to succeed her husband.

She is now expected to be appointed vice-president at a special congress of the ruling Zanu-PF party next month.

Who is Grace Mugabe?

Image copyright AFP
  • Began affair with Robert Mugabe, 41 years her senior, whilst working as a typist in state house
  • Mr Mugabe later said his first wife Sally, who was terminally ill at the time, knew and approved of the relationship
  • Married Mr Mugabe, her second husband, in 1996 in an extravagant ceremony. They have three children
  • Nicknamed “Gucci Grace” by her critics who accuse her of lavish spending
  • Along with her husband, is subject to EU and US sanctions, including travel bans
  • Controversially received a PhD in September 2014 after just two months
  • Head of Zanu-PF women’s wing
  • A model comes forward accusing Grace of assaulting her in South Africa in August 2017

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