Former first lady Grace Mugabe’s Mazowe Orphanage was allegedly raided by thieves who stole 31 laptops and floor tiles, a few days after her farm was invaded by gold panners.
An emotional Grace blamed the break-in on the panners who have taken over the citrus farm that houses the orphanage.
She said she feared that the safety of the over 100 children who include 48 girls was no longer guaranteed.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government reduced the number of security details at former president Robert Mugabe’s properties after the 94-year-old veteran leader was forced to resign under pressure from the military in November 2017.
“At night, the panners come here (Mazowe business centre) and 31 laptops were stolen at the orphanage warehouse,” Grace told The Standard last Thursday.
“They come here at night and we keep many children here. We are afraid they may be sexually abused, including the mothers who look after the children.
“We have 100 children here and 48 are girls. We have children from Equatorial Guinea who are of secondary school-going age.
“You saw the hostile behaviour of the panners, they are capable of doing anything.”
Grace reported the farm invasion at Mazowe Police Station. Mugabe had to travel to the orphanage on Thursday night to assess the damage at the farm.
The gold panners uprooted citrus trees and dug several pits to extract gold, which is in abundance in the area.
A Mugabe family member said security at the property had deteriorated after security details were withdrawn.
“This place used to be guarded and the panners only came in after the removal of security by the state,” the family member said.
The remaining police officer who was providing security at the orphanage was reportedly withdrawn last Thursday.
However, a source said Mugabe was rehiring some of the security staff that had been fired by the government.
“Some of them have been taken back by the former first family and Grace will pay them. Some of them are Mugabe’s relatives,” another Mugabe family member disclosed.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, was not picking calls yesterday to comment on the issue of the withdrawal of security for Mugabe.
Mugabe claimed in a recent interview with foreign and local journalists that the new government was harassing his family, especially his wife.
He also said his security staff was being constantly harassed by the military because of his alleged association with a new opposition party — National Patriotic Front.
– The Standard