Grace Mugabe pleads for legacy university on her farm

26 November 2017 - 00:04 By MZILIKAZI WA AFRIKA and RAY NDLOVU

Robert Mugabe may have fallen, but a $1-billion university named after the former Zimbabwe president will still go ahead, if his wife Grace has her way.
The Sunday Times has learnt that Grace Mugabe pleaded with a team negotiating her husband's exit package to ensure the government delivered on a $1-billion (about R14-billion) approved deal to build a state-of-the-art university to be named after her husband.
She also asked for an undertaking that all their properties, including more than 10 farms, were protected, and that all streets and structures named after her husband remain unchanged.The deal also included Mugabe's $10-million pension payout inclusive of all previous benefits that the former leader was enjoying during his 37-year reign as president.
The former first lady made the pleas during two days of discussions between the Mugabes and a team of mediators on Thursday and Friday.
Sources close to the negotiations said Grace, who reportedly did most of the talking, appealed to mediators to have an agreement in writing that the family properties would be protected at all costs and not repossessed or vandalised.
Her fear comes after a wheat farm belonging to her daughter, Bona, was burnt down on Thursday.
On Friday hundreds of Mazowe villagers vandalised Arnold Farm, owned by Grace.
The villagers have been in a long-standing dispute with Grace on how she acquired the farm and how she would demolish their houses without compensation whenever she built a new structure on the farm.Former Zimbabwe reserve bank governor Gideon Gono, a Mugabe family friend, and Roman Catholic cleric Father Fidelis Mukonori led the negotiations on behalf of the couple.
"I only took part in the negotiation team after being invited by the Mugabes on Friday," Gono said yesterday, refusing to give more detail about Mugabe's exit plan.
Higher and tertiary education minister Jonathan Moyo, a staunch Mugabe supporter now on the run, dropped a bombshell on August 9 when he revealed the government was going to build a university on Grace's Manzou Farm in Mazowe.
Sources told Sunday Times that Grace pleaded with the mediators to make sure the new government did not reverse the proposed grants for the university.
"Grace is arguing the university is a legacy project but we all know that is another way of looting while the people are poor," the source said...

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