Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe, has denied assaulting South African model Gabriella Engels with an electric cable in a Johannesburg hotel suite last month.
The 52-year-old wife of president Robert Mugabe also accused Gabriella Engels of attacking her with a knife and being “intoxicated and unhinged”.
In a previously unreported statement seen by Reuters, Mrs Mugabe painted herself as the victim of last month’s incident in a Johannesburg hotel suite and said she was considering filing attempted murder charges.
Mrs Mugabe claimed she had been worried about her adult sons Chatunga and Robert Junior who were “in trouble with a drunken young woman” in a different room.
“Upon her arrival, Ms Engels, who was intoxicated and unhinged, attacked Dr Grace Mugabe with a knife after she was asked to leave the hotel,” the statement said.
“Security was left with no other option but to remove Ms Engels from the hotel suite,” it continued.
Mrs Mugabe’s statement alleged that Ms Engels might have sustained the injuries in a fight with other women at the city’s Taboo nightclub the previous evening.
But those claims were denied by Afriforum, an Afrikaans civil society group acting on the model’s behalf.
“Gabriella never attacked Grace Mugabe in any way and she did not participate in the fight at Taboo,” Afriforum said.
“It is clear that Grace Mugabe is desperately trying to escape responsibility for her own violent behaviour by using lies to falsely portray the victim in this case as the perpetrator.”