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Grace Mugabe’s top ally returns home from Botswana

Phelekezela Mphoko, who was a vice president in Robert Mugabe's former government, had been out of the country since before the military takeover last month.

FILE: Former Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe attends the opening of the annual agricultural fair on 25 August 2017 in Harare. Picture: AFP

HARARE - A top ally of Zimbabwe's former first lady, Grace Mugabe finally returned home over the weekend, but the Botswanan government has denied deporting him.

Phelekezela Mphoko, who was a vice president in Robert Mugabe's former government, had been out of the country since before the military takeover last month.

Zimbabwean state media reported at the weekend that Mphoko was brought to the Plumtree border post aboard a minibus.

But the Botswanan government denied deporting him. In a statement, it said the former vice president had returned to Zimbabwe of his own free will.

Mphoko was on an official trip to Japan at the time of the military takeover in Harare on November the 15th.

He was seen as a key member of the G40 group linked to former first lady Grace Mugabe - some of its members are in hiding, while others have been arrested.

But the presidential spokesman said last week that Emmerson Mnangagwa had told Mphoko he was free to return and help rebuild the nation.

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