Robert Jr and Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe. (File: AP)

 

According to president Mugabe, in his address to the people, “I wanted to be there with you at this meeting but the emergency in South Africa could not allow me to return on time since I have to make sure my children have secure accommodation,” the private Daily News quoted the president as saying in Shona.

Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe has had to make an emergency trip to South Africa to secure accommodation for her two sons.

This emerged at the weekend, after Grace missed a rally in Masvingo where her husband was drumming up support from youths for his 2018 presidential bid.

President Robert Mugabe relayed a message from his wife to thousands of supporters at the Friday rally.

“I wanted to be there with you at this meeting but the emergency in South Africa could not allow me to return on time since I have to make sure my children have secure accommodation,” the private Daily News quoted the president as saying in Shona.

Mugabe’s two sons, Robert Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga were reported to have relocated to South Africa, early this year, Robert from Dubai and Chatunga from Harare.

They’re understood to now be studying in Johannesburg, although it’s not clear where.

One thing is certain: whatever lodgings their mother does find for them won’t be humble.

Early this year, independent press reports said the Mugabes were paying half a million US dollars per year to rent a villa for Robert Junior in Dubai’s plush Emirates Hills suburb.

Top ruling party officials are often criticised for sending their children to South Africa or abroad to study, instead of supporting local universities and colleges.

This week hundreds of medical students at the University of Zimbabwe were evicted from their halls of residence in Harare after some of them staged a demonstration over fees they say are unaffordable.

Many were forced to sleep out in the open or take shelter at a local church. They have since been allowed back into their rooms after rights lawyers went to the High Court to overturn the evictions.