Grace Mugabe returns home after assault allegation

She claimed that Mrs Mugabe "beat the hell out of her" with an extension cable, at the hotel where she was staying with the First Lady's two sons. Zimbabwe's action followed the grounding of an Air Zimbabwe flight at Johannesburg's main worldwide airport on Friday evening.

Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe returned from South Africa early yesterday, state media reported, after a 20-year-old model accused her of assault in an upmarket Johannesburg hotel room.

Mugabe, wife of Zimbabwe's longtime ruler, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, is accused of beating a woman with an extension cord August 13 during a trip to Johannesburg.

Recall that Mrs. Mugabe was dragged to the spotlight after a 20-year-old model, Gabriella Engels, took to Twitter to accuse her of brutal assault.

Her lawyers told reporters she had been offered cash to make the incident "go away" but that she had refused and was determined to press charges against Mugabe.

A South African Airways spokesman said officials had asked to see certain documents that had not been requested in two decades.

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.

Reports of the assault angered many South Africans, who called on their government to prosecute the Zimbabwean first lady.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive David Chawota did not specify the "issues" requiring attention.

"We will know the actual cost in the course of next week, as we must take into account a number of cost elements", he said.

South African Airways said it has prepared and submitted required documents after the cancellation of flights between Johannesburg, the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and the Zimbabwean city of Victoria Falls.

South Africa's government said it had not yet made a decision to grant the Zimbabwe government's request for diplomatic immunity for Grace Mugabe.

Mugabe has two sons, who are residing in South Africa.

Some demonstrators protested Saturday in Pretoria against Zimbabwe's president and his wife, saying she should be prosecuted.

"Arrest Grace, please. Grace is a disgrace", some chanted.

Well, Grace Mugabe is back to Zimbabwe and it is unclear if the flight out of South Africa was permitted by the government.

The alleged attack threatens to spark a diplomatic problem for South Africa and Zimbabwe, neighbours who have strong political and economic ties.

In 2009, Grace was investigated by Hong Kong police for an alleged assault on a British photographer during a shopping trip to the city.

  • Rogelio Becker