PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace has been having a secret affair with central bank chief, Gideon Gono, a British newspaper, The Sunday Times has claimed.
Grace - who is 41 years younger than 86-year-old Mugabe - has allegedly spent the last five years cuckolding the veteran president with Gono, her husband's financial adviser and a key political ally.
The couple would meet as often as three times a month either at Grace’s dairy farm or in expensive hotels in neighbouring South Africa as well as on foreign trips to Asia.
Mugabe’s late sister, Sabina, is said to have revealed the sensational affair to her brother as she lay dying in a Harare hospital three months ago.
Sabina was said to have intensely disliked Grace but found it difficult to oppose her.
However after realising she was dying, she decided to warn her brother about his cheating wife and her lover.
Mugabe learnt the shocking news as he sat by his dying sister’s bed in July.
He is said to have left the meeting “devastated” although initially refusing to believe the allegations.
The President later consulted his most trusted bodyguard Cain Chademana who had sat in on the meeting with Sabina.
The bodyguard reportedly said, like other members of the secret service, he had also heard the rumours.
Particularly galling for Mugabe however, was the fact that he had encouraged the friendship thinking the pair was discussing mutual business interests.
Chademana – who is said to be the source of the story by intelligence officers quoted by the newspaper– has since lost his life amid suspicions that he was poisoned.
His body was handed to his family for burial at the end of August. The Sunday Times alleges no autopsy was carried out.
The newspaper claims officials had hoped the secret affair would be buried with Chademana but renegade officers in the intelligence services, unhappy with conditions of service, have started talking.
Still, it is not the first time Grace has been linked to affairs behind her ageing husband’s back.
One alleged former lover died in a mysterious car accident. Another, a business tycoon, fled the country.
Gono has known Grace, who married Mugabe in 1996, for at least 15 years and they are partners in a number of business enterprises.
The central bank governor is said to be one of Mugabe’s most trusted friends and has served as governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe since 2003.
Fare thee well ... Mugabe and Grace at Sabina's burial