The South African model, who says she was whipped by Zimbabwe former president Robert Mugabe’s wife, now says she wants Grace Mugabe prosecuted.
Gabriella Engels told Zimbabwe’s private Standard newspaper that she would like the new president Emmerson Mnangagwa to hand over Grace Mugabe to face the charges in a South African court.
Pictures of Engels with an injury to her forehead allegedly inflicted by an electric-cable-wielding Grace last August were widely circulated, sparking anger in South Africa and beyond.
The former first lady was reported to have been incensed to find the model in a Sandton apartment being rented by her sons Chatunga and Robert Mugabe. She’s alleged to have snatched up the cable to beat Engels.
But the former first lady avoided arrest and prosecution after the South African government granted her diplomatic immunity.
“If I had the opportunity to meet the new Zimbabwean president, I would ask him to do the right thing and hand over Grace for prosecution,” Engels told the Standard.
With the Mugabes’ fall from power following a military takeover in November, the Engels family has renewed hope for justice, Engels’ mother Debbie was quoted as saying.
No longer ‘a person of power’
“We are aware that she is longer a person of power; that her husband was ousted from office and that the government of Zimbabwe said she does not enjoy any immunity anymore,” Debbie Engels told the paper.
“In light of the latest developments, our lawyers are working on that case to secure justice for my child,” she said.
But it’s unlikely that Mnangagwa would co-operate with attempts by the Engels family to prosecute his former boss.
Mnangagwa said in an interview at the World Economic Forum last week that although his government had not granted immunity to Mugabe and his wife, his government would “do everything possible to make sure the family lives in peace, undisturbed”.