FORMER President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are being well-looked after by the government but are liable to prosecution for crimes committed during his 38 year-reign or after, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Mnangagwa told French television channel France24 in an interview that former First Lady Grace was the cause of the November 2017 coup that brought her husband’s rule to a dramatic end after the military intervened in Zanu PF internal leadership fights forcing the former guerrilla leader to resign.
Asked about the Bulawayo bombing at a rally he addressed during last year’s election campaign and if Grace had been part of it, Mnangagwa said:
“Grace Mugabe and the G40 cabal that had surrounded the former President (Mugabe) were the reasons for what happened in 2017. But they are well looked after.”
Two people died while scores were injured including Vice President Kembo Mohadi and Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri after a daring grenade attack at a rally addressed by Mnangagwa as dignitaries left the top table.
The President added:
“No one is above the law. If any crime is committed they will be prosecuted. That is what our law says at the moment. It is only a sitting President who cannot be prosecuted and even then I can be prosecuted once I leave office.”
On the eve of elections last year in July, Mugabe declared his support for opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa accusing Mnangagwa of persecuting his family but days after the Zanu PF leader’s inauguration, the former President made a volte face and acknowledged his predecessor.
This was after Mnangagwa had chartered a plane to bring home Grace for her mother’s funeral and critics argued Mugabe had done this to protect his vast business empire and over a dozen farms that the new President had threatened would be confiscated.
As regards the military crackdown that followed violent protests last month, Mnangagwa admitted atrocities may have been committed.
“We have asked those with relatives who were killed by the army to come forward. But these were violent demonstrations that were well planned, funded and well oiled as well as coordinated by non-governmental organizations operating in our country,” said Mnangagwa.
“This is not to say the army did not overstep their mandate in trying to quell the disturbances. But we are investigating this and those soldiers will be court martialed.”