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British paper says British millionaire is sponsoring Grace to become president

A British paper today claimed that British millionaire Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who has been resident in Zimbabwe since 2007 and owns several businesses there, is funding First Lady Grace Mugabe to become Zimbabwe’s president and “the world’s first female dictator”. But the story has so many holes that it smacks of either a deliberate disinformation leak to discredit the paper or the work of anti-Mugabe elements from Zimbabwe. The Daily Mail says it has documents which show that van Hoog, as he is popularly known, is giving £62 million to bankroll Grace’s presidential bid. Zimbabwe’s next elections are three years away and under the current constitution should Mugabe die in office or be incapacitated his post is filled by his deputy. Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko were sworn-in as Vice-Presidents yesterday. It is not clear under what platform Grace would allegedly be standing because she is currently secretary for the Women’s League and the next Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front congress will in 2019, a year after the elections. But the paper says Grace has pledged to achieve her goal by eliminating all her opponents, though it clearly states that it doubts the veracity of the documents it obtained. It also says that Grace smuggled diamonds worth $750m from Marange last year. The paper says Grace wants to run the country with Gideon Gono, who is currently nowhere in the picture after his bid to become senator for Manicaland was foiled. It also claims that Gono was forced out of office in 2010 after reports that he and Mugabe’s wife were lovers. Gono stepped down as central bank governor last year after the end of his second and final term. Grace has been at the centre of a diplomatic spat with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and was largely instrumental for her demise. Mujuru it is now appears was the West and opposition’s preferred successor to Mugabe.

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