Yet more grist to the mill. I’m sure this is very plausible and if she is involved she should be prosecuted. But it is very, very timely and convenient for Mnangagwa. Having been accused by a Chinese national, caught in Zimbabwe in 2009 with rhino horn, of being involved in the rhino horn trade, he is distancing himself and trying to make him and his family seem guardians of wildlife. He praised conservation at a recent visit to Zimparks and his daughter joined an anti-poaching unit. Great contrast with the accusations against Grace Mugabe. And a charge that is believable and will go down well in the West with the current ivory ban campaigns. Never underestimate him. KS

Bulawayo 24

Harare – Investigations into illicit and illegal activities led and directed by the former first lady of the country Grace Mugabe have intensified, amid indications the government will make a huge statement soon regarding her involvement in ivory poaching, Khuluma Afrika reported.

Grace Mugabe, who is now subject to a forensic audit by the ruling Zanu PFs women’s league over “hundreds of millions” of party funds is also facing intense investigations regarding externalisation of assets and cash, involvement in setting up parallel money markets as well as illegal export of precious minerals.

Khuluma Afrika has now learnt that the net has been cast wider to include ivory poaching after preliminary investigations revealed that the former first lady and her associates were involved in the poaching of elephant tusks and rhino horns.

Documents seen by Khuluma Afrika implicate Grace Mugabe and a number of close associates, including a Chinese associate (name supplied) in a ring of organised crime which is responsible for the poisoning of hundreds of jumbos in the country.

Several tusks are also said to have disappeared from the ivory stock piles, while some ivory was carved at factories in Harare, before export permits were forged.

The new government in Zimbabwe has taken a no nonsense approach to conservation and vowed to arrest any person’s implicated or involved in poaching ‘regardless of who they are, or who they know’.

Special Advisor to the President, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa told Khuluma Afrika that the administration had placed conservation at the top of its list.

“We should make a pronouncement very soon. We are not allowing anyone to get away with the proliferation of our wildlife resources. Any person despite whom they are married to will be arrested.”

Mutsvangwa confirmed that a special taskforce was working with local and international law enforcement agencies to investigate and bring culprits implicated in the syndicate to justice.

Sources close to the investigations told Khuluma Afrika that the poaching of the elephants was a large criminal enterprise which operated and thrived on the support and protection of the former first lady.

Conservation taskforce activists have welcome the government’s move, stating that for years they had watched what was ‘near state sponsored poaching’ annihilate the wildlife population.

According to sources, the government is working closely with activists and corroborating data so as to track the activities and effect arrests ‘soon’.

Daniel Stiles commented on Facebook:

Grace Mugabe implicated in ivory smuggling, how shocking. In a study I carried out with Rowan Martin in 2016 we found that 18.5 metric tons of ivory was exported from Zimbabwe to China 2011-2014, in single shipments of “personal effects” each year – with CITES permits!