Society - Southern Africa - Zimbabwe - Justice - Unusual
When the Mugabes become a sexual joke in Zimbabwe
Frustrated Zimbabweans seem to have discovered a new hobby as they ridicule their aging president, Robert Mugabe and his young wife, Grace.

Frustrated Zimbabweans seem to have discovered a new hobby in ridiculing their aging President Mugabe and his family.

Two men from the border town of Plumtree, a gateway to Botswana, had the audacity of drawing caricatures of Zimbabwe’s extravagant first lady, Grace Mugabe cuddling his long suspected lover’s private parts, Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono.

The pair - Blessed Gay Phiri, a former police officer, and Mxolisi Tshabalala were arrested for possessing subversive material which court records reveal they had received in the form of bank notes from an unknown suspect.

Several bank notes depicted the aging Mugabe standing with his young wife, Grace, and Gono, Mugabe’s personal banker, while Grace was depicted in the cartoon holding Gono’s private parts with a wide smile.

Surprisingly, Phiri, who was nabbed on 18 January while showing off the notes to a group of friends was not formally charged with undermining the authority or insulting president or his immediate family when he appeared in court last Friday (February 4).

The two men are currently out on a $50 bail each and scheduled to appear on March 2.

A controversial history

A number of Zimbabweans have been arrested over the past few years for insulting Mugabe whom they blame for ruining what was once one of Africa’s success stories with common insults ranging from idiot, goblin, moron to crazy old man.

Nonetheless it is an offence under Zimbabwe’s tough security laws to undermine or insult Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since the country’s independence from Britain 30 years ago.

Grace Mugabe who is Robert Mugabe’s second official wife and who is 41 years his junior, has since 2005 been romantically linked with controversial Reserve Bank chief, Gono and is also believed to have had a string of lovers in the past, some of who have died or disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Two of the most known names include, Peter Pamire, a budding young businessman died in a bizarre car accident some years back, and James Makamba, one of Zimbabwe’s richest businessmen and a top-ranking Zanu-PF official who is believed to have been forced into exile when the cover was blown over his affair with Grace.

But Mugabe’s current union with Grace was founded on an adulterous relationship which shocked many Zimbabweans at the time.

Grace, who used to be a junior secretary in the typing pool in Mugabe’s office, was married to an air force officer when she began having an affair with the president.

Robert Mugabe had two children with Grace while Mugabe’s first wife, Sally, a Ghanaian national, was alive.

After Sally Mugabe’s death in 1996, Robert Mugabe officially married Grace.


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