h6> History is chock-full of those moments when those who hold the indistinct title or office of the First Lady have let down their guard, embarrassing nations and husbands alike.
Report by John Mokwetsi and Tapiwa Zivira
There is the story of Edith Wilson, the second wife of the President of the United States who purportedly became the de facto president of the country while her husband, Woodrow, was ill.
It is said that she would monitor what she felt was important for state and present to her husband who had stroked and was bedridden.
In Zimbabwe, it has long been held as a view and observation that Grace Mugabe, the infamous First Lady, is taking advantage of President Mugabe’s old age and is effectively running the country to the irritation of powerful politicians who believe she is not cut out for that work.
There have been other scandals that have painted the office of the First Ladies as an unnecessary addition to the politics of any nations.
Take the luxury experienced by Swazi King Mswati III’s 13 wives who often take tours in chartered planes to opulent and shopping havens like Italy and the US. With them they take bodyguards and children.
Other First Ladies have been bored by the opulence and ended up looking for a bit of more than the marriage vows tied them to.
One example is when the media was abuzz after South African President Jacob Zuma woke up to the shock of learning that one of his three wives was sleeping with her bodyguard.
But none showed their martial prowess than the late Luck Kibaki, one of the two wives of Mwai Kibaki.
A story is reported by The UK Guardian that Kenya’s then First Lady entered the offices of the country’s biggest-circulation newspaper, where she allegedly slapped a television cameraman and seized reporters’ notebooks and tape recorders to protest at stories about her eccentric behaviour.
She is said to have arrived at the offices of the Daily Nation, accompanied by a six-man security detail.
She was often referred to as the most violent First Lady but Grace Mugabe might have that moniker for now, given the recent reports of her physical and verbal confrontations.
The news of today is that Grace is suspected to have beat up a 20 year old young woman she found in the hotel room with her party-loving sons – Robert Jnr and Chatunga.
Grace has since been granted immunity amid protest from various pressure groups.
But it appears for her she has little care how she is seen by the public considering the South Africa incident is not the first.
Just last month, Grace was reportedly detained briefly in Singapore where she had allegedly taken her husband for medical check-up.
It is reported that after being irritated by the presence of journalists at the hospital, she allegedly assaulted the media practitioners and threw their cellphones into a pond.
According to reports, she had to reimburse the victims with approximately $1300 to secure her release.
According to the Huffington Post, the violence wouldn’t end there, however as she is additionally alleged to have paid money to reporters in Singapore to prevent the incident making front-page headlines. When it did, a member of Mugabe’s close protection unit was accused of leaking information and allegedly tortured and beaten.
Eight years ago, a British photographer claimed he was beaten and punched repeatedly by Grace while trying to photograph her in Hong Kong.
The Mirror UK reported that Grace lost her temper when she saw photographer Richard Jones waiting outside a five-star hotel where she was staying.
As witness and Sunday Times (UK) correspondent, Michael Sheridan, recollected, Grace reportedly instructed her bodyguard to attack Jones.
“The bodyguard grabbed Mr Jones, wrestled with him, … then held him while Mrs Mugabe struck him in the face repeatedly,” Sheridan reported.
In 2009, Grace reportedly Mugabe assaulted a member of airport security staff at an airport in Malaysia.
According to reports, she grabbed a member of security staff by the collar and “bellowed that she was the wife of a President and could do whatever the hell she wanted to whenever she wanted to”.
With such incidences, and many other controversies that surround her life as President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace could as well have earned her place on the list of the most scandalous First Ladies.