Late Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe left behind $10 million and eight properties in his estate following his death this year – and no will explaining how to divide the spoils among his wife and many children.
Zimbabwe’s Master of High Court will begin by first calling a hearing to appoint an executor, responsible for dividing his property.
Mugabe passed away in Singapore on September 6 this year at the age of 95 following a protracted battle with prostate cancer. He had been forced out of office against his will in 2017; the Zimbabwean military installed Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa as his successor.
Mugabe’s next of kin were listed as his wife Grace Mugabe, as well as Bona, Robert, Bellarmine, and Russel Goreraza as his surviving children. According to Zimbabwean law, if a person dies without writing a will, the assets are divided among their spouse and children.
His daughter Bona Nyepudzai Mutsahuni-Chikore notified the Master’s Office in October that her father had left behind $10 million in a bank account as well as ten cars and eight pieces of property ranging from plots of land to vacation homes. In her letter, Chikowore fails to mention any of the farms that her father seized during his illegal land reform program.
The family’s lawyer, Terrence Hussein of Hussein Ranchod & Company, wrote in his death registration letter to the Master of High Court Eldard Mutasa that they had been unable to locate a will, having asked all the local law firms if they had overseen the process.
“Kindly register the estate. Thus far, we have not been able to locate a will, but have sent out inquiries to other law firms, although the family members are not aware of any,” he wrote in his letter, quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper. “In this regard, perhaps the estate may be treated as intestate for now.”
Hussein later told the BBC that “none of the properties are in his name” and his principal assets are owned by his far-left ZANU-PF party. He claimed that any “suggestion that the Estate has been finalized is untrue and misleading,” adding that “the long drawn out process has only begun.”
Mugabe’s extremely valuable estate serves as a reminder of the corrupt socialist regime he ran for 37 years following the country’s independence from the British Empire, in a tenure marked by genocide, persecution of political opponents, and widespread rigging of elections.
He also plunged the country, known for having some of the most valuable natural resources in Africa, into an unprecedented economic disaster, the effects of which are present to this day. Last week, a report from the United Nations warned that widespread food shortages and hyperinflation have the country on the brink of “man-made starvation,” while basic services such as water and electricity remain heavily unreliable.