Grace Mugabe back in Zimbabwe amid SA assault claims

By BBC

Mrs Mugabe failed to show at a summit in Pretoria on Saturday.

(BBC) – The wife of the Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe, has returned home from South Africa, despite allegations of an assault at a hotel in Johannesburg.

Grace Mugabe, 52, landed at Harare early on Sunday, Zimbabwean radio said.

She had intended to appear at a summit on Saturday but failed to show. She also applied for diplomatic immunity but it was unclear if this was granted.

Mrs Mugabe had been accused of hitting a 20-year-old woman over the head with an extension cord.

Zimbabwe’s ZBC state broadcaster said: “President Robert Mugabe, accompanied by the first lady, arrived on board an Air Zimbabwe flight early on Sunday morning.”

It showed pictures of her greeting officials at Harare airport.

Mrs Mugabe had been due to take part on Saturday in the first ladies’ programme at the Southern African Development Community heads of state summit in Pretoria, which Mr Mugabe, 93, was attending.

South African police had said they wanted to interview Mrs Mugabe and set up a “red alert” at the country’s borders to try to ensure she did not flee the country.

It remains unclear whether South Africa’s government granted Mrs Mugabe’s plea for diplomatic immunity.

She has not commented on the allegation.

Lawyers for Gabriella Engels, the woman who accused Mrs Mugabe of hitting her, say their client was offered money to drop the case but she refused.

Ms Engels appeared at a press conference on Thursday with a large plaster on her forehead.

She told the BBC: “She hit me with the plug and the extension cord. And I just remember being curled down on the floor with blood rushing down my face and down my neck.”

The South African Broadcasting Corporation said the Mugabes were scheduled to attend a funeral for a state minister at Harare’s Heroes Acre on Sunday.

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