NEWS
24/02/2018 08:51 SAST | Updated 24/02/2018 08:51 SAST

Mugabe: 'Grace Is Being Harassed Over PhD Debacle'

"My wife is crying daily. They are persecuting her… What am I without my wife and family? We are not safe."

Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters
President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace.

Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe says his wife is being harassed and cries daily, three months after he was forced to step down in the wake of a military takeover, a newspaper reported Friday.

Mugabe told the African Union's Moussa Faki Mahamat during a courtesy call he made to the Mugabes' Harare mansion this week that he doesn't feel safe.

'Wife persecuted'

"They told you I was safe, but how can I be in this environment?," Mugabe reportedly told Faki, who is chairperson of the AU commission.

"My wife is crying daily. They are persecuting her... What am I without my wife and family? We are not safe," the Zimbabwe Independent quoted Mugabe as saying, citing "detailed notes" supplied by officials who attended the meeting.

Mugabe said his wife was being harassed over her PhD from the University of Zimbabwe. Last week UZ Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura was arrested for alleged abuse of office for awarding her the degree in 2014. Critics say her thesis is nowhere near PhD standard.

REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe attends a university graduation ceremony in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 17, 2017.

'Ruling through guns'

Mugabe reportedly insisted to Faki the PhD was genuine: "I used to see her here working hard day and night. I would assist her here and there, so how can someone wake up and claim she didn't work for it? This is harassment."

According to the leaked notes, Mugabe told Faki that Mnangagwa's appointment as president was illegal, and appealed to the AU to help restore democracy in the country.

"We want you to assist to restore normalcy and democracy in the country and stop this thing of ruling through guns," he reportedly said.

-- News24