DURING THEIR HEYDAYS: Robert Mugabe and his embattled wife Grace Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe has reportedly told the African Union that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is unconstitutional and continues to harass his wife, Grace, who cries everyday due to intimidation by state agents.

The privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent reported that detailed notes leaked to the newspaper of a meeting between Mugabe, his wife Grace, government officials and African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat at his Borrowdale mansion in the capital, Harare last Monday, indicate that the former president is bitter about his removal from office by Mnangagwa and the military. “… They told you (AU), I was safe, but how can I be in this environment? My wife is crying daily. They are persecuting her; that is obviously directed at me. What am I without my wife and family? We are not safe … Why are they harassing people? Some of them are overzealous. How do you arrest a whole university vice-chancellor (Levy Nyagura) over lies about a PhD? Some of these people are just idiots; they are ignoramuses.

“It wasn’t easy … I used to see her (Grace) 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.”

Mugabe is also quoted as saying the AU should help to ‘restore normalcy and democracy in Zimbabwe’ as the Zimbabwe Defence Forces grabbed power and handed it over to Mnangagwa.

“The army had been unconstitutionally deployed without permission of the commander-in-chief and soldiers continue to be used in this operation. So from a constitutional point of view, he (Mnangagwa) is there unconstitutionally. Mnangagwa is in power illegally, yet some of his officials dare call me a dictator. What dictator? Maybe a dictator for dictating that we must take over our land and give it to the people; maybe a dictator for demanding that our people must be empowered. If that’s why they call me a dictator, I have no problem with that,” Mugabe was quoted as saying.

According to the newspaper, he quizzed Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu about his so-called dictatorial tendencies.

“The one sitting next to you (Mpofu) used to be my minister, but now I hear he had the temerity to call me a dictator … Am I a dictator, sir (Obert Mpofu)?”

The Zimbabwe Independent noted that Mugabe stressed that there is no democracy in Zimbabwe and so it would be unlikely that the government will conduct free and fair elections.

He also demanded, without elaborating, that the government should give him his benefits.

Some of the people who attended the meeting included Mugabe’s wife Grace Marufu Mugabe, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Minata Samate Cessouma, an AU interpreter, Home Affairs Minister and Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to Namibia Chipo Zindoga, and a former diplomat in Angola now a senior official in the Foreign Affairs and International Trade ministry.

Mahamat also met with Mnangagwa, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo and Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and several state officials.

He was on a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.

The African Union says there was no military coup in the southern African nation, which Mugabe had ruled with an iron fist for more than 37 years.