I was often struck by how deeply respectful Zimbabweans were of their president. Many people were obviously unhappy with Robert Mugabe’s leadership. Still, it was not unusual to hear people reference his role in the independence movement, to point out his clear intellectual gifts and his efforts to advance education.
.. The narrative, universally accepted across the country, was that the shy young typist had stolen Mr. Mugabe’s heart and then corrupted him. Mr. Mugabe was a good man turned bad; Ms. Mugabe was the temptress who led him to his downfall.
.. Her whereabouts is unknown — a testament to the fact that it is her physical safety rather than his that is in question in these tense times.
.. Over the course of the two decades since she entered public life, Ms. Mugabe garnered a well-deserved reputation for combativeness. She publicly humiliated key leaders; she has been embroiled in a range of personal scandals because of her volatile temper.
.. wore designer outfits while she fed the rural masses and didn’t hesitate to get into physical altercations with those who crossed her or her children.
.. She was just 31 when she married Mr. Mugabe in 1996; at 52, she remains relatively youthful.
.. The people who opposed her most fiercely are veterans of the movement
.. Grace Mugabe has fared particularly poorly compared with Sally Mugabe, Robert Mugabe’s first wife, who was the quintessential African first lady. Sally Mugabe was well educated. She had strong independence credentials, having been imprisoned for speaking out against the colonial rule of what was then Southern Rhodesia. And when her husband became prime minister in 1980, she quickly stepped into the maternal role: She was known across the country as Amai, or “mother.”