Grace accused of bloody attack on domestic worker

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Grace Mugabe, the wife of former Zimbabwean ruler Robert Mugabe, has been accused of attacking an employee at the family’s home with a shoe in 2017, lawyers said Tuesday.

She also faces an arrest warrant in neighbouring South Africa for her alleged assault with a power cable on a female model in Johannesburg in the same year.

Papers filed in Zimbabwe’s high court by lawyers for Shupikai Chiroodza allege that Mugabe used her fists and then her shoe in a prolonged attack that left Chiroodza’s face pouring blood.

Mugabe allegedly attacked Chiroodza after accusing her of “milking” her husband because she had accepted a cash wedding gift from him, the papers say.

Chiroodza was a government employee working at the Mugabes’ private Blue Roof mansion in Harare when the alleged attack took place in March 2017, eight months before then-president Mugabe was forced from office.

“I represent Chiroodza, who was part of the domestic staff at Blue Roof in a case of unlawful dismissal,” lawyer Douglas Coltart told AFP.

In her court papers demanding her job back, Chiroodza said Grace Mugabe punched her and ordered her to return an unspecified amount of money.

“She started beating me with clenched fists shouting, ‘Who do you think you are? You are milking my husband behind my back’,” Chiroodza said in her court application.

‘I was terrified’

“I was terrified. She removed her shoe and continued assaulting me with it and blood started gushing out of my forehead, mouth and nose. The assault continued for about 20 minutes.”

Chiroodza said she received a dismissal letter two months later.

Coltart said the civil service commission had indicated it would not contest the case. “We are hoping to get some form of settlement,” he said.

Mugabe, 53, was seen as a possible successor to her husband in a race against Emmerson Mnangagwa, the current president.

Mugabe, now 95, was ousted following a brief military takeover in 2017 after 37 years in office and replaced by Mnangagwa, the favoured choice of the military.

In August 2017, Grace allegedly attacked Gabrielle Engels using an electrical extension cord at an upmarket hotel in Johannesburg where the Mugabes’ two sons were staying.

South Africa granted Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity, allowing her to hurriedly leave the country, but a court later scrapped the ruling.

She earned the nickname “Gucci Grace” for her lavish lifestyle as Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed under her husband’s authoritarian rule.

Last month Mnangagwa said Robert Mugabe was in Singapore for medical treatment and was expected back home in mid-May.