Govt officials, family fly to Singapore to bring Mugabe's body to Zimbabwe

Cheryl Sanders
September 11, 2019

Relatives fly to Singapore to bring Mugabe home Close relatives and government officials flew out of Zimbabwe on Monday to collect the body of ex-president Robert Mugabe from Singapore where he died last week, his nephew said.

Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital aged 95 last Friday.

"The body is expected in Zimbabwe, Harare airport, anytime on Wednesday, 11 September 2019", said Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.

A Mugabe relative who is helping with funeral arrangements told Reuters that the family had compromised by agreeing to have a state funeral led by the government on Saturday but is insisting that Mugabe would be buried at Kutama, his place of birth.

"...president Mnangagwa expressed surprise that there were some members of the Mugabe family who had left the country without any indication that they were facing any charges".

Mugabe's burial is set for September 15 at a place still to be announced.

Mnangagwa, who described Mugabe as a "a great teacher and mentor", declared him a national hero, the highest posthumous award in the country, and said official mourning will only end after the burial at the National Heroes Acre, a hilltop shrine reserved exclusively for Zimbabweans who made huge sacrifices during the war against white-minority rule.

The delegation comprised members of the Mugabe and Marufu (the former President's in-laws) families, Zanu-PF secretary for Women's League Cde Mabel Chinomona and Politburo members Cdes Edna Madzongwe and Sydney Sekeramayi.

Having ruled the Southern African nation for 37 years, until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, Mugabe's legacy continues to divide opinions at home and overseas. The chiefs have not told us where he will be buried, so it is not clear yet.

He also said Mugabe "slaughtered political opponents in the 1980s, used security forces to abuse the opposition and civil society enriched his family and inner circle through massive corruption".

He ruled Zimbabwe for almost four decades until November 2017 when he resigned.

"I will always remember the vast, enormous contribution he made not only to the people of Zimbabwe but to the people of Africa", he said.

"Even now we have livestock we keep in the rural areas because of him, so it's painful to lose our father, our grandfather who helped us to learn and go to school", said Tongai Huni, a fruit vendor. He was once revered and celebrated as an independence hero when he came into power in 1980.

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