Robert Mugabe jets in as first lady’s lawyers ask for diplomatic immunity


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend a rally in Marondera, Zimbabwe, June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Acting national police commissioner Lt Gen Lesetja Mothiba told Parliament’s portfolio committee on police that lawyers of Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe have agreed to cooperate with police.

However‚ he could not comment on the whereabouts of the wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe after she reportedly assaulted a woman in Johannesburg as reports emerged that she had returned to Zimbabwe.

Mothiba said the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams was present with Mugabe’s lawyers when the commitment to cooperate with the police was made.

He said Mugabe’s lawyers presented themselves to plead diplomatic immunity on her behalf.

However he said that if Mugabe was no longer in South Africa‚ as some media reported‚ she would be compromising not only the work of the police on the case‚ but her own lawyers.

TimesLIVE was told by two independent sources on Wednesday morning that she is still in the country.

President Mugabe is expected to arrive in South Africa on Wednesday‚ amid a diplomatic storm brewing over the assault allegations faced by his wife.

Mugabe was expected to arrive in South Africa on Friday along with several other heads of state‚ ahead of the President’s meeting at the SADC Conference. The SADC conference is being hosted in Pretoria from 9 to 20 August.

However‚ TimesLIVE has learnt from two sources in Zimbabwe that Mugabe’s plane will depart for South Africa this afternoon.

Grace Mugabe has been accused of assaulting 20-year-old Gabriella Engels with an extension cord at a luxury hotel in Sandton‚ Johannesburg‚ on Sunday night‚ where Mugabe’s two sons were thought to be staying. Engels on Monday opened a case of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the Sandton police station‚ and Mugabe was widely thought to be appearing in court on Tuesday. But by the close of business she hadn’t been arrested or handed herself over to the police.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said on Tuesday police had been “negotiating” with the legal representatives of the suspect in the assault case. He had declined to name the suspect.

On Wednesday‚ Naidoo said no arrests had been made but “we will see as the morning and the day unfolds. We are focused on finalising the investigation“.

– additional reporting by BusinessLIVE 

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