In Brief

What now for Zimbabwe’s ‘Gucci Grace’ Mugabe?

Former dictator’s wife may be left ‘sitting pretty’ with a government pension

Zimbabwe’s former first lady Grace Mugabe - known by detractors as “Gucci Grace” or the “first shopper” for her love of designer clothes and Ferragamo heels - has been unusually quiet since her husband was detained by the military last week.

She once reportedly racked up a £75,000 bill during a shopping spree in Paris - but she’s making headlines for different reasons now. According to some initial media reports, she fled the country for Namibia following the coup and the house arrest of her husband, former president Robert Mugabe.

Other news sites say that while the deposed dictator might be allowed to leave Zimbabwe after finally resigning the presidency on Tuesday, military rulers had demanded his wife stay in order to face trial. According to The Independent, it “unlikely” that either will stand trial.

The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, reports that both husband and wife are remaining in Zimbabwe “under a deal with the ruling party that will see them retreat from politics in exchange for secure retirement”. 

According to CNN, senior military officers have agreed a deal including “immunity and a guarantee of safety for the former leader and his wife”.

The belief that Grace Mugabe was being lined up as Zimbabwe’s next president is thought to be one of the primary reasons for the coup, says The Washington Post.  Now former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in instead, on Friday.

The Times of South Africa says that Robert Mugabe’s decision to stand down, rather than be impeached, means he will retain his post-presidency pension. Accordingly, “Mugabe will earn the same amount of money earned by the sitting president” - estimated at US$12,000 (£9,000) per month. 

“When he dies, his widow will earn two-thirds of the pension”, the newspaper says, so Grace Mugabe will be “sitting pretty”, receiving “state-sponsored domestic help, air travel, office accommodation and an entertainment allowance”.

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