Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona has tied the knot with Emirates pilot, Simba Chikore.
Mugabe apparently took a very active role in the preparation of the wedding, to an extent that he and his wife Grace personally co-ordinated the arrangements.
A top official privy to the preparations said: “Everything is being passed through Mai (Grace); no matter how small the issue is. She wants to make sure that everything is going according to plan and is perfect.”
The wedding ceremony was held at their private mansion in Borrowdale from 2pm to 4pm and the reception from 6pm to 6am.
This is the first time the Mugabes have opened their gates for a function at their private family home which, on the six-page glossy invitation card, is being referred to as the “Blue Roof” — the code name by which their luxurious home is known to close relatives and friends.
The mansion, located in the upmarket Borrowdale Brooke area, reportedly includes 24 bedrooms with bathrooms and spas, a ballroom and media complex.
It is said to be three times the size of the president’s official residence, State House, and his adjacent offices at Zimbabwe House where he used to live.
The Chinese-style mansion overlooks a dam and a 50-acre garden protected by a three-and-half-metre wall.
The entertainment line-up included famous French-based Congolese rhumba music sensation Koffi Olomide as well as popular local gospel musicians, the Charambas.
Bona and Robert Jr where born while still Mugabe was still married to Sally when she was battling a terminal illness.
Mugabe’s controversial affair with Grace followed the marriage of the First Lady to army officer Stanley Goreraza, father to her first born Russell.
Mugabe lost his first child, Nhamodzenyika, who died of malaria at a tender age of three in Ghana in 1966 while he was in prison for his political activities.
From Mugabe’s remarks and demeanour, apparently Bona is the favourite child — she not only looks like him, but also she carries his own late mother’s name.
Grace has publicly applauded Bona for her moral rectitude and being well-behaved and she even claimed she is getting married a virgin.
There were claims that she was raped by a son of a diplomat while they were drunk overseas but Grace has publicly denied the reports.
Grace has said she warned her new son-in-law to avoid engaging in sex before marriage with Bona and they allegedly listened to her.
Mugabe has also expressed his public admiration of his daughter. He says he is “very obedient” and “absolutely trustworthy”.
While not much is publicly known about Bona’s private life, she appears very reserved and has not been caught out in any public scandals.
There is of course the disputed US$5million Hong Kong mansion, which the Mugabes argue they bought amid a counter claim by a former business associate, but Bona is not directly implicated.
Those close to the Mugabe family say a fortress has been built around Bona. She is loved and protected by the family.
Sources close to the family say that she is likely to be given the historic Mt Pleasant house where Mugabe lived just before he became prime minister in 1980.
Major renovations have already been done to the house on Quorn Road.
“By giving her that house, which has so much sentimental value to him, it shows how much he loves and cherishes her. It is his expression of pride in her — the way she carries herself and her achievements in life compared to the boys,” said a source close to the family.
Russell has been embroiled in scandals over the years, while Robert Jr failed his Ordinary Levels exams. Mugabe is also reportedly not happy with Chatunga for not taking his studies seriously.
“The First Family invited 68 sitting and former heads of state and government. All the Sadc leaders were invited but only 10 are likely to come,” a source said.
Some of the heads of state and government who had confirmed attendance include President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Nguema, Michael Sata of Zambia and Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Sata’s daughter is apparently Bona’s maid of honour.
Ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai was not invited.
Source – Independent/Bulawayo24News/Zimbojam