Harare – (Mlondolozi Ndlovu) Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s party says the first lady Grace Mugabe’s penchant for lavish lifestyle as the expense of suffering masses is worse than that of former Philippines Imelda Marcos
President Robert Mugabe’s controversial wife is at the centre of a dispute involving a $1,4 million diamond ring which the controversial first lady had ordered from a Lebanese dealer only to turn around and demand a refund.
The matter, which has spilled into the local courts, has further exposed the first family’s extravagance which many say was being funded at the tax payer’s expense.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said Monday Grace had demonstrated she was insensitive to the plight of civil servants whose December 2017 bonuses have not been paid by the cash-strapped government.
PDP further said the controversial first lady was worse than some of the world most extravagant first ladies.
“It is interesting to note that as a First Lady, Grace Mugabe, has managed to outdo other first wives in looting their countries’ resources to fund personal lifestyles,” PDP said in a statement.
“Some of these materialistic first ladies were; Imelda Marcos of the Philippines; Marie Antoinette, France; Mary Todd Lincoln of the USA; Nancy Reagan, the USA and the current Syrian First Lady, Asma Al-Assad.”
Marcos, is the widow of Ferdinand Marcos, the former President of the Philippines.
During her time as the First Lady, she was notorious for travelling the world, constantly adding to her thousand-plus shoe collection, which included designers such as Givenchy, Dior, Chanel, and Ferragamo, while the people of the Philippines were living in extreme poverty.
On one trip to New York, Marcos purchased $3.5 million Michelangelo painting, $2.5 million in jewellery, and over $19,000 on nightgowns.
Said PDP, “Al-Assad is leading a glamorous life against a background of Syria’s on-going political unrest.
“The wife of Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, she has become known as the ‘modern-day Marie Antoinette’ for her overly-lavish lifestyle.”
One report highlights how recently Assad spent as much as $420,984 in London.
“Assad also has a penchant for expensive shoes and at one time bought a pair of crystal-encrusted high heels for $6 000 while her country continues to go up in flames.
“Antoinette (1755-1793), while France was struggling financially during the French Revolution, she enjoyed spending government money on expensive fashion, jewellery and outrageous parties.
“She was known as “Madame Deficit or Mrs Debt” and would spend copious amounts of money and developed a gambling problem, reportedly losing $1.5 million in one year.”
Grace has however denied abusing public funds, insisting her lavish life style was being financed through savings by the country’s most powerful family.