Mugabe was a 'victim of spousal abuse': report

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President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace. (File: AFP)
President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace. (File: AFP)

Former president Robert Mugabe was a victim of spousal abuse and the army even once considered giving him shelter at an army barracks, a newspaper claimed on Sunday.

The Daily News on Sunday quoted an unnamed former aide saying that while Mugabe was still in power one of his children approached an army general "to tell him that the former president was being badly beaten and abused by his wife".

'No longer safe at home'

"The situation was so bad that there was even a serious consideration by the military top brass to take the then president, as their commander-in-chief at the time, to the safety of Tongogara Barracks (in Harare) since he was no longer safe at home," the former aide said.

There's been no confirmation of the claims – but they do reflect many Zimbabweans' firm dislike for their former first lady, Grace.

Mugabe is 42 years his wife's senior. Her alleged manipulation of the former president was said to be one of the reasons the military took over the country last November, leading to Mugabe's resignation.

Ideological and age difference

Another former aide told the Daily News: "They (Mugabe and Grace) sometimes had their challenges like all people, and it didn't help that there is a significant ideological and age difference between them."

Grace Mugabe is alleged to have surrounded herself with a group of influential younger Zanu-PF members, known as G40. That group appeared to have got the upper hand in ruling party struggles last year. But then the military stepped in in November and replaced Mugabe with Emmerson Mnangagwa, G40’s biggest rival.

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