FORMER president Robert Mugabe’s sons—Robert Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga—this week met their parents for the first time since the long-time leader was ousted through a military intervention in his succession on politics a fortnight ago, the Zimbabwe Independent can report.
By Bernard Mpofu
This comes amid indications the Mugabes are expected to fly out of the country to Malaysia where the former leader’s daughter Bona is expecting her second child. Sources also said Mugabe is expected to fly to Singapore for his regular medical checks at Gleneagles Hospital.
Before their father’s inglorious exit after ruling for 37 years, the boys had been notorious for partying into the wee hours of the morning with reckless abandon.
In July, they left patrons at a local nightclub stunned as they excessively guzzled whiskey and champagne; drinking like fish.
They painted the town red through their ostentatious champagne lifestyle — enjoyment of luxuries and expensive pleasures — which left some awestruck and others green with envy.
Many were left in awe as Mugabe’s sons and a large entourage of hangers-on and friends took the club by storm, splurging money like confetti at a wedding. For many this looked like a Las Vegas scene in a Hollywood movie script as the Mugabe youngsters kept tables in the VIP section flowing with champagne and expensive whiskey non-stop.
Following the recent military intervention which brought to a dramatic end former president Robert Mugabe’s 37-year-old rule, his family is now scattered across different countries, while their multi-million dollar businesses and deals face collapse. Robert Jnr and Chatunga were in Johannesburg when Mugabe was forced out of office after the army rejected his manoeuvres to tap his wife Grace as his successor.
“The boys arrived this week accompanied by four aides. Their arrival was low key and it’s most likely that they will keep it that way for a while,” said a source familiar with developments at Mugabe’s mansion. “The family should be leaving the country today for Malaysia”.
The Mugabe family has a multi-million-dollar empire built around numerous farms, prime real estate, various businesses and lucrative tenders which they wrested for self-aggrandisement.
The family also benefitted heavily directly and indirectly from public funds during Mugabe’s endless globe-trotting trips.
On some occasions the family used public funds to acquire private assets.
By mid-year, Mugabe had overspent on travel by US$23 million. His budget was US$30 million, but he spent US$53 million on largely futile foreign trips. Overall, his office had a US$43 million budget overrun.
Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent show that Mugabe’s wife Grace used to siphon millions during the trips.
Bona, son-in-law Simba Chikore and grandson Simbanashe left for Malaysia on Friday last week. Bona is said to be expecting her second child. Mugabe’s party-loving boys Robert Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga are staying at their affluent Sandhurst mansion. In fact, they have two properties there and were contemplating buying another one.
Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao is also holed up in Johannesburg after failing to return home from a trip to Argentina in the aftermath of the military takeover. His family have reportedly joined him in South Africa.