Body of Zimbabwe`s Robert Mugabe to leave Singapore for burial at home

Cheryl Sanders
September 11, 2019

The body of Zimbabwe's ex-president Robert Mugabe was flown out of Singapore on Wednesday following his death last week, his nephew said, heading home for burial in a country bitterly divided by the hero-turned-despot's legacy.

According to the family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe, there has not been any finality on when and where Robert Mugabe is going to be buried.

Mugabe, who enjoyed strong backing from Zimbabwe's people after taking over in 1980, but whose support waned following decades of repression, economic mismanagement and allegations of election-rigging, is expected to be buried on Sunday, state media reported. Mugabe who swept to power after Zimbabwe's independence from Britain and went on to rule for 37 years until he was ousted in 2017, died on Friday, aged 95. Family members and officials arrived in Singapore, where Mugabe had been since April, early Tuesday on a chartered flight.

But in a memo sent to embassies in Harare on Sunday it encouraged foreign heads of state to leave immediately after the funeral service wraps up on Saturday.

Mugabe's family is pushing back against the government's plan to bury him at the National Heroes Acre monument in the Zimbabwe capital Harare and wants him to be interred in his home village, relatives have told Reuters.

The location of the burial remains unclear, with Mugabe's family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government appearing at odds over whether it would be at his homestead in Mashonalane West, or at a shrine for liberation heroes in the capital.

"The third and final issue is that there is a push from Zanu PF supporters in the provinces who say owing to travel costs it is better for Mugabe's body to be taken to all 10 provinces before burial".

Zimbabwe government protocol says that Mnangagwa does not attend national heroes' burials held away from the Heroes Acre.

A senior ZANU-PF politburo member, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said there were lessons to be learned.

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