This is the first time that the former Zimbabwe leader would speak on the emotional torment of his wife, three months after he was forced to step down by the military, according to a report by South Africa’s News 24.
Mugabe reportedly gave this insight into the former first family at a meeting with African Union chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat during a courtesy call he made to the Mugabes at their Blue Roof Harare mansion. The former leader also told Mahamat that he doesn’t feel safe and that his pension has not been paid by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“They told you I was safe, but how can I be in this environment?,” Mugabe reportedly told Faki at the meeting on 19 February.
“My wife is crying daily. They are persecuting her… What am I without my wife and family? We are not safe,” the Zimbabwe Independent quoted Mugabe as saying, citing “detailed notes” supplied by officials who attended the meeting.
Mugabe said his wife was being harassed over her PhD from the University of Zimbabwe. Last week UZ Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura was arrested for alleged abuse of office for awarding her the degree in 2014. Critics say her thesis is nowhere near PhD standard.
Mugabe reportedly insisted to Faki the PhD was genuine:
“I used to see her here working hard day and night. I would assist her here and there, so how can someone wake up and claim she didn’t work for it? This is harassment.”
According to the leaked notes, Mugabe told Faki that Mnangagwa’s appointment as president was illegal, and appealed to the AU to help restore democracy in the country.
“We want you to assist to restore normalcy and democracy in the country and stop this thing of ruling through guns,” he reportedly said.
Mahamat had earlier visited President Emmerson Mnangagwa and tweeted about the double visits.