By PAUL IBANDA
The legendary Grace Mugabe will never be forgotten for her lavish and arrogant lifestyle that cannot even be compared to that of the infamous Marie Antoinette who was the wife to France’s King Louis XVI
Known as “DisGrace” to her many enemies and Gucci Grace by her admirers, Mugabe’s wife has been accused of plundering Zimbabwe’s meagre resources to buy 3,000 pairs of designer shoes, and once spent £75,000 (Shs320m) on luxury goods in a single Paris shopping spree.
At the time of spending this money, 7.2million Zimbabweans were at the point of starving to death, the World Food Programme report stated.
But that didn’t quench her thirst for shopping and lavish life. It is also on record that before the couple was married in 1996, she used £500,000 (Shs2b) of government funds to build a 30-bedroom mansion, which she named Gracelands.
When it was ruled that this money had been illegally withdrawn from state coffers, she sold the mansion to some Libyans for £3million (more than Shs10b) and kept the all the profits.
Also, 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.
Her obsessional spending was summed up by a picture taken of her with Mugabe in a first-class lounge at Singapore’s International Airport. She had 15 trolley-loads of electronic goods and exotic foods.