Grace Mugabe, 52, the wife of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has allegedly gone into hiding after she was accused of assaulting a 20 year-old model, Gabriella Engels with an extension cord.
This is contrary to an earlier report that she handed herself over to the police over allegations of physical assault on Engels, who she met at a hotel where her sons – Robert and Chatunga – lodged in South Africa.
Mugabe was in South Africa to have her foot examined following an accident at the Harare international airport.
Police national spokesman Vishnu Naidoo told AFP that “the negotiations over the suspect handing herself over have not concluded and our investigations have not finalised.”
“The investigation into this case has already reached an advanced stage. The suspect in this matter cannot be named because she has not as yet appeared in court. We request that the SAPS be allowed to conduct a thorough investigation and to follow due process,” Naidoo added.
Naidoo said that the negotiations that led to an earlier statement by police minister Fikile Mbalula that Mugabe had handed herself over didn’t materialise as planned.
“As long as we don’t have a suspect in custody, we cannot say when they will appear in court. The minister learned later that it just didn’t materialise as it was supposed to,” Naidoo said.
Speaking to Times Live, Engels narrated the events of the said day. She said she was visiting Robert and Chatunga at the Capital 20 West Hotel after meeting them through a mutual friend on Saturday.
Engels said a bodyguard asked her and a friend to wait in a separate room before Mugabe allegedly started beating her.
“When Grace entered I had no idea who she was. She walked in with an extension cord and just started beating me with it,” she said, adding that Mugabe accused her of living with her sons.
“She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug. Over and over. I had no idea what was going on. I was surprised… I needed to crawl out of the room before I could run away. Her ten bodyguards just stood there watching, no one did anything, no one tried to help me.”
“There was blood everywhere. Over my arms, in my hair, everywhere,” she added.
She opened a case of assault against Mugabe on Monday afternoon, adding that she has not been contacted by either Mugabe or her children following the incident.
“I am a model, with this scar over my face my whole career is ruined. I don’t know how to deal with this, but I am trying hard. I am trying so hard to be strong.”
She said she reported the assault to the police and an investigation was opened.