As Zimbabweans are waiting for former President Robert Mugabe’s corpse to be sent back home, there have been reports that there is an ongoing dispute between the government and family members as to where the founding father will be buried.
Robert Mugabe’s family is pushing back against the government’s plan to bury him at the National Heroes Acre monument in Harare and wants him to be buried in his home village instead, Reuters reports.
Local sources in Zimbabwe quote his family to have said “Robert Mugabe’s health deteriorated after he was overthrown in a military coup in 2017 and he never forgave those behind his ouster.”
A top government official reacting to the matter has denied that there was a dispute between the government and the Mugabes over where the former president should be buried on Sunday.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba told state media that Robert Mugabe’s body is expected to arrive in Harare on Wednesday. It will then be taken to his rural home in Zvimba, and on to the National Sports Stadium in Harare for Zimbabweans to pay their last respects.
There’s speculation that Mugabe, bitter at the way he was forced from power two years ago, did not want to be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre. Many of his comrades are buried there, as well as his first wife Sally and his sister Sabina.
Mugabe’s body was initially expected to arrive in South Africa early on Saturday before flying on to Zimbabwe. But there was still no word that the body had left Singapore.
Mugabe declared National Hero
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday Zimbabwe would be in mourning until Mugabe was buried, but he did not say how many days of mourning there would be or when the burial would take place.
In downtown Harare, most residents said on Saturday that they were saddened by the news of Mugabe’s passing since he was their liberator from white colonial rule and had broadened access to education.
In Kutama, Robert Mugabe’s hometown, a special mass was held on Sunday in honour of Mugabe, a seemingly devoted Catholic who regularly attended services at the rural parish until a few months before his death in Singapore where he was undergoing medical treatment.