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The lavish parties and £75,000 shopping bills of Zimbabwe ousted First Lady

Ajoutée le 16 nov. 2017 Breaking News 24/7 150 833 vues Download

CUNNING and corrupt, the woman known as the First Shopper schemed, spent and seduced her way to the very cusp of power.“Gucci” Grace Mugabe seemed destined to succeed her 93-year-old husband Robert as leader of Zimbabwe, having initially been hired as his secretary.That was until the tanks rolled through the capital Harare this week — a coup in all but name — to leave Mugabe, after 37 years of dominance, under house arrest and his wife rumoured to be fleeing to Namibia.After years of positioning herself as his successor, the 52-year-old appears to have let her despotic lust for power get the better of both her and her husband.Last week, her rival for the top job, former spy chief Emmerson “The Crocodile” Mnangagwa, was sacked as Vice-President by Mugabe.Gucci Grace said he was a snake whose head needed to be crushed.Mnangagwa, who has supporters in Zimbabwe’s security forces, vowed to return to lead a rebellion.To some, the tyrannical duo have got off lightly after plunging a fertile nation once known as the Breadbasket of Africa into bloodshed, hunger and poverty.Known as “DisGrace” to her many enemies, Mugabe’s wife has been accused of plundering her country’s diamonds to buy 3,000 pairs of designer shoes, and once spent £75,000 on luxury goods in a single Paris shopping spree.Born in South Africa, the former chicken seller was 20 and married when she landed a job as a typist at Mugabe’s state house in Harare.Her boss, at 41 years her senior, was the hero of Zimbabwe’s independence struggle — and also married.Yet they were soon having an affair behind the back of his terminally ill wife, Sally.Gucci Grace later said: “I felt a bit uncomfortable.He told me that he and his wife discussed it and she was sort of agreeable.” Mugabe fathered two children with his glamorous secretary and, after Sally’s death, the couple married in an extravagant ceremony in 1996, in front of 40,000 people, including Nelson Mandela.Mugabe was 73 when the couple had their third child.For the next 18 years she appeared to devote her energies to her lavish shopping trips rather than interfering in politics.Before travel bans were imposed on Zimbabwe’s elite, the First Shopper would borrow a plane from the national fleet and head for London or Paris.On the return flight, she would have the rear seats removed to make room for her purchases.In London, she would take a suite at Claridge’s then, with bodyguards in tow, would sweep through Harrods before loading her shopping bags into her chauffeur-driven Mercedes.She once spent £40,000 in a single afternoon in the capital.At the time of her £75,000 trip to Paris, 7.2million Zimbabweans were at the point of starving to death, the World Food Programme warned.Yet the Mugabes would retire to their £10,000-a-night, 33-room suite at the Plaza-Athenee.She justified spending thousands on her favourite designer shoes, saying: “I have very narrow feet, so I only wear Ferragamo.” Her obsessional spending was summed up by a picture taken