Thursday, 20 February, 2020

Mugabe's body heading home to Zimbabwe for mourning, burial

Family members and officials are due to fly out from Singapore with Mugabe’s body on Wednesday Family members and officials are due to fly out from Singapore with Mugabe’s body on Wednesday
Deanna Wagner | 11 September, 2019, 07:57

President Mnangagwa on Tesday met with chiefs from Zvimba, elders and members of the Mugabe family, led by Chief Zvimba, regarding burial arrangements of former President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe died Friday in a Singapore hospital at age 95.

Mourning ... Robert Mugabe's first born daughter Bona leaves a funeral parlour in Singapore following a church service on TuesdayGrieving ...

A plane carrying the former leader and the visiting delegation departed shortly afterwards, his nephew Adam Molai told AFP.

Zimbabweans have been divided over how to mourn a former leader once hailed as a liberation hero but who later brutally repressed his opponents.

The location of the burial remains unclear, with Mugabe's family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government apparently at odds over whether it would be at his homestead 85km northwest of Harare or at a shrine for liberation heroes in the capital.

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Mugabe's body was expected to arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT).

The body will be taken to his rural home before being placed in a giant stadium for public viewing.

The official funeral will be held on Saturday at the 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in Harare and foreign leaders are expected to attend.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba and Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi had said at the weekend that the former authoritarian ruler would be buried at the National Heroes' Acre, a site reserved for people that the Zanu-PF party viewed as having served the country with distinction during and after the 1970s war of independence.

"The chiefs in Zvimba still regard him as a chief and in terms of tradition they are the ones that determine where is he going to be buried, how is he going to be buried, the procedures that must be followed in his burial".

But Mugabe is believed to have told his family that he wanted to be buried quietly with his mother, denying the politicians and generals who toppled him in 2017 the chance to "pontificate" over his dead body.