A fleet of supercars owned by Grace Mugabe have been involved in a pile-up as the disgraced former First Lady attempted to spirit them out of Zimbabwe.
A rare £250,000 Rolls Royce Ghost, a Porsche and a Range Rover were damaged as they were driven at night, in convoy through back roads of Botswana to a safe haven in South Africa.
Mrs Mugabe, who is known as ‘Gucci Grace’ and ‘Dis-Grace’ for her violent temper and extravagant spending habits, organised the transfer after fearing she will lose her ill-gotten gains in a crackdown on corruption in the wake of the bloodless coup which ended her husband Robert’s 37-year rule.
The 52-year-old’s attempt to put her supercar collection out of harm’s way backfired spectacularly last week when her son and his drivers were stopped for seven hours as they crossed over Zimbabwe’s border in Botswana.
Fearing the vehicles’ were being used to move large sums of cash, jewels and other assets amassed during Mugabe’s grip on power, border guards spent seven hours searching them and interrogating Russell Goreraza, Mrs Mugabe’s son by her first marriage, who produced affidavits signed by his mother.
Guards also contacted Mr Mugabe’s office and quizzed his wife over the phone before the vehicles were cleared, sources told Zimbabwe’s The Chronicle.
However, some hours after they were given permission to drive on, the valuable convoy was involved in a freak collision after cows wandered onto their remote route, as they sped through the night.
Eyewitness Orabile Tebegano, who was also on the road at the time, told ZimEye.com; ‘There were cows passing and the guys in front of me stopped, but I looked into my rear view mirror and I saw a car spinning in the middle of the road, it was a white Corolla, and he hit the Porsche and the Range Rover.’
Pictures showing the eye-catching black and white Rolls Royce Ghost series II on the back of a pick up truck reveal the luxury car must have been hit hard from behind during the pile up.
The images of the thwarted drive prompted a massive response on social media by Mrs Mugabe’s detractors, who saw them as a metaphor for the hated first lady’s downfall.
In the months leading up to her husband’s political demise, the mother of three – who had ambitions to succeed her 93 year-old spouse – went on an unprecedented spending spree, snapping up mansions, gems and luxury cars.
She bought 120 acres of prime land in the capital Harare and built a string of private schools, which will carry her name for posterity.
She flew to Johannesburg to secure a sprawling mansion called The White Lodge, complete with koi pond, sweeping drive and summer house, in Sandhurst, South Africa’s most exclusive suburb.
While there, she is said to have paid in cash for the distinctive Rolls-Royce, which is finished with a white interior.
Mrs Mugabe is described as ‘not mentally OK’ and going ‘berserk’ towards the end of her husband’s long rule by Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Known as ‘The Crocodile’ for his ruthless ambition and merciless plotting was sacked as Mr Mugabe’s longstanding deputy on the orders of Grace, who wanted power for herself.
At a rally on the day before he was relieved of his duties, in November last year, Mrs Mugabe denounced him as a ‘snake, who should have his head crushed’.
He told the Financial Times, ‘I was being castigated there as a snake. She went berserk on that one. At that stage now I believed she was not mentally OK.
In August last year, the former right hand man suddenly fell ill after being poisoned by a colourless, odourless rare ‘ hard metal arsenic toxin’, imported from Russia or Israel, which he is convinced was organised by opponents with the ruling Zanu-PF – which was divided between Grace’s allies and enemies.
Last November, Mr Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe after the army stepped in and the frail despot was forced to resign.