Case of Africa’s troubled richest woman casts new light
ANALYSIS | THE INDEPENDENT | When the former long-serving leader of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe died on September 06, 2019, attention almost immediately turned to the wealth he is alleged to have looted while in office and those likely to benefit from it; his wife, Grace, and children.
Mugabe had three living children; the eldest a girl, 30-year old Bona Chikowore. But attention focused mainly on the sons; 28-year old Robert Peter Mugabe Jr. and 23-year old Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe, and their step-brother Russel Goreraza.
On September 11, 2019, Time magazine wrote an online article titled “What next for the Mugabe kids?”
Its last line read: “Privileged or not, they will both benefit from and be disadvantaged by their late father’s controversial legacy”.
As conspiracies rage over how much Mugabe looted over 37 years in power, it was revealed in the High Court in Harare on December 03, 2019 that Mugabe had at least US$10 million on a bank account. But the true wealth in such cases is rarely confirmed. Instead rumours swirl.
In the Mugabe case, attention went to the lavish spending of Mugabe’s `bad boys’ (as they are called) who are said to control mining, hotels, fuel businesses inside Zimbabwe. Abroad they are said to own property in South Africa, Dubai, and Singapore. Luckily, nobody is currently pursuing the brothers.
It is a different story for their step-brother. The 36-year old Russell Goreraza, Grace Mugabe first son, is reported to be a billionaire. One famous anecdote is that he bought two Rolls-Royces because he could not decide between a black or white one. Russell is famous for being his mother’s business `fixer’ and striking multimillion-dollar contracts. In a famous deal, Russell fixed her US$1.5 million purchase of a diamond ring from Lebanese businessman Jamal Hamed. The Lebanese is now suing them for US$4 million.
Stories about children of First Families and the looted wealth of their parents are nothing new. Even Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr., son of Mugabe’s successor has not been spared. He is rumoured to control hefty fuel supply contracts, sometimes allegedly on behalf of his father.
In neighbouring South Africa, Duduzani Zuma, son of the former South African President Jacob Zuma, has been linked top controversial coal mining contracts.