Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe has denied assaulting South African model Gabriella Engels with an electric cable in a Johannesburg hotel suite last month.
She rather alleged in a statement that the 20-year-old model was the one that attacked her with a knife after she went to rescue her sons from the “intoxicated and unhinged woman”.
“She was worried about them (sons) and went to see them at their hotel suite. Upon her arrival, Ms. Engels, who was intoxicated and unhinged, attacked Dr. Grace Mugabe with a knife after she was asked to leave the hotel. Security was left with no other option but to remove Ms. Engels from the hotel suite,” read the statement.
The first lady also alleged in the statement that Ms. Gabriella Engels might have sustained the injuries in a fight with other women at the city’s Taboo nightclub the previous evening.
In a previously unreported August 17 deposition seen by Reuters, Grace Mugabe dismissed Engels’ version of the incident as “malicious allegations”.
She, rather, painted herself as the victim, saying she was thinking about filing attempted murder charges against the South African model.
Meanwhile, human rights group, Afriforum, have denied Grace’s accusations. The group, which is acting on behalf of Engels said she never attacked Grace Mugabe in any way and she did not participate in the fight at Taboo.
“It is clear that Grace Mugabe is desperately trying to escape responsibility for her own violent behavior by using lies to falsely portray the victim in this case as the perpetrator,” Afriforum said.
President Robert Mugabe’s wife is accused of assaulting Gabriella Engels with an electric extension cord on August 13 at the Johannesburg hotel after she found her with her two sons.
The model, who sustained deep cuts to her forehead and the back of her head during the scuffle, registered a case with the police the next day alleging assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
In Ms. Engels’ version of events, Mrs. Mugabe burst into the room where she was waiting with two friends to meet Chatunga Mugabe on 13 August and started whipping her with an electric extension cord while the first lady’s bodyguards looked on.
Amid a public outrage and calls for prosecution, Grace Mugabe flew back to Zimbabwe on Sunday, August 20 with her husband, who had arrived South Africa to attend the 37th Southern African Development Community (SADC) conference in Pretoria.
Grace Mugabe, 52, is a contender in the upcoming Zimbabwe presidential election. She has been campaigning to succeed her 93-year-old husband as Zimbabwe’s president.