No diplomatic immunity for Grace Mugabe

Chatunga and Robert Jnr with their mother Grace Mugabe

Chatunga and Robert Jnr with their mother Grace Mugabe

Published Aug 14, 2017


Harare - Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, may face prosecution after allegations she assaulted a woman in Sandton at the weekend.

Mugabe allegedly beat up Gabriella Engels, 20, from Johannesburg, who was partying with her two sons in a Sandton hotel on Sunday. 

Engels, who says she is a model, took to Twitter on Monday to accuse Grace Mugabe of attacking her with an extension cord. She posted pictures of her injuries on her Twitter feed. 

Her mother, Debby Engels, said via her daughter that she would be reporting the alleged assault to the police. 

The whole party, including Grace Mugabe, was eventually asked to leave the hotel where the alleged assault happened, according to management of the Capital Hotel Group. 

Social media in Harare and Johannesburg erupted after Engels posted her version of events online. Many Zimbabweans questioned whether the first lady would be charged or if she would get diplomatic immunity. 

But Department of International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela told the Sowetan Grace Mugabe could not claim immunity. 

“She needs to be here on official business. It won't apply if she's here on holiday or for something else‚" he said. 

"Secondly‚ as a first lady‚ she's not part of government or a government official. It doesn't apply just because she's the wife of a president‚" Monyela said.

Mugabe was in South Africa last week to receive treatment for her injured foot, and did not attend her husband’s youth rally in Gwanda, southern Zimbabwe, on Saturday. 

But sources in Harare claim she did return to Zimbabwe on Saturday, but only spent a night there, then returned to Johannesburg the next day to attend to her sons, who regularly attend the Taboo nightclub in Sandton, where sources say they spend a “great deal” of money on champagne. 

The 25-year-old Robert jr is supposed to be studying at the University of Johannesburg. 

Robert jr and Chatunga Bellarmine, 21, were recently evicted from their flat in Rivonia after they got caught up in a drunken brawl which resulted in a security guard being injured. Repairs were needed to the R70 000-a-month rented flat. Chatunga was previously expelled from his high school in Harare for bad behaviour. 

The two Mugabe sons were previously studying in Dubai, but had to leave suddenly earlier this year, apparently after problems with their social life.

Independent Foreign Service 

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