Mugabe's family say burial to be private, place still unknown

Cheryl Sanders
September 12, 2019

Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe will be buried next week at a private ceremony at an as-yet-undisclosed location, his family said on Thursday, rejecting plans by the rulers that overthrew him to inter him at a state monument.

Zimbabweans are expected to view the body and pay their last respects for the next two days at Rufaro Stadium, where nearly 40 years ago, Mugabe raised Zimbabwe's flag of independence ending years of white-minority rule.

Pall bearers carry the casket of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as it arrives at his former Blue Roof residence in Harare.

Pall bearers carry a casket holding the remains of the late former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe as they leave his Blue Roof Mansion for public viewing at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare

Mnangagwa, who praised Mugabe as a national hero, sought to downplay any dispute on Thursday, saying he was still in talks with the deceased leader's wife. "His body will lie in state at Kutama on Sunday night".

At the airport Wednesday night, Mnangagwa paid tribute to his former ally, calling him an "icon of pan-Africanism" and "the man who created our nation", Sky News reported.

There have been conflicting statements about Mugabe's burial but family spokesman Leo Mugabe, the ex-president's nephew, is expected to give a definitive statement about the issue.

"If I tell you that it won't be private", he said.

A family statement demanded that Grace, who was once a rival to Mnangagwa for the presidency, should be front and centre during the funeral.

"As the immediate family of the late Mugabe, we are ready and willing to work with the government of Zimbabwe to develop a programme for the funeral and burial of the late Mugabe which is in conformance to his wishes on how his mortal remains will be interred".

Addressing thousands of people including Zanu PF party supporters, immediate family members and government officials after receiving Mugabe's body, Mnangagwa hailed his former boss as a revolutionary leader who whose contribution led to the independence of Zimbabwe.

A choir wearing yellow T-shirts bearing Mnangagwa's face sang songs and played percussion as he arrived.

With just days to go before his burial on Sunday, there is still no word on whether the government and family have come to an agreement on where Zimbabwe's founding father will be buried.

It will be laid out for the public to pay their respects in Rufaro stadium on Thursday, before heading to his homestead Zvimba.

Other reports by iNewsToday