First lady Grace Mugabe clashed with former Zanu PF Mashonaland East chairman and governor Ray Kaukonde over a business deal, which is the real reason why she directed her husband to send him packing, not factional politics as some claim, Now Daily can reveal.
Grace Mugabe blamed Kaukonde, who was the chairman of Innscor, which manages the global Spar retail franchise in Zimbabwe, after she failed to open a supermarket in Harare.
“Grace Mugabe could not fulfil the conditions for operating a Spar supermarket,” said a source familiar with the deal. “She tried to armtwist Kaukonde to allow her to open the shop without conforming to the global Spar standard but he refused. That is the real source of her beef with him.”
Grace Mugabe wanted to take over what was then a TM Supermarket located at the corner of Sam Nujoma and Nelson Mandela Streets, according to the source. She was expected to pay for the franchise to the Dutch group that runs the Spar chain.
“Grace Mugabe was given specifications about the changes and improvements that were needed on the building to make it conform to the Spar brand. She refused to do the improvements and instead tried to negotiate with Kaukonde, who refused to entertain her pleas. That is when she decided to fix him by labelling him a Mujuru follower, leading to his ouster,” said the source.
Kaukonde was forced to flee Zimbabwe in 2014 after Central Intelligence Organization assassins raided his home but failed to locate him. Kaukonde apparently hid in one of the servants quarters and fled in his official Mercedes Benz, which he dumped at the Beitbridge border before crossing by public transport.
Kaukonde was a target from the start because of his previous association with president Robert Mugabe’s first wife Sally Hayfron Mugabe. Kaukonde started off as Sally Mugabe’s CIO driver, rising to become her bodyguard, confidante and eventually her business front. Kaukonde fell out with Grace Mugabe after she demanded access to the late Sally’ money and businesses, sources told Now Daily. Kaukonde refused to hand over Sally’s businesses, which included her flagship Chicken Inn, which was later incorporated under Innscor.
© Now Media 2016. All Rights Reserved.