Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Friday Briefing: Robert Mugabe and what he left behind in Zimbabwe

Mugabe burial in Zimbabwe 'sometime next week' - family spokesman Robert Mugabe to be buried next week in his village: Family
Patty Aguilar | 12 September, 2019, 18:12

Farai Dziva|Emmerson Mnangagwa and former First Lady Grace Mugabe will meet to discuss the way forward on the burial of the late former President Robert Mugabe.

"We are gathered here to received his body, we are grieved and we say our honest and deep condolences to the former first lady who has brought the body amai Grace Mugabe with us here and the children who are also here and the immediate family who are here".

"We have also observed with shock that the government of Zimbabwe is attempting to coerce us to accept a programme for the funeral and burial of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe which is contrary to his wishes on how he wished to have his mortal remains interred".

His family and the government disagree over Mr Mugabe's final resting place.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa had declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating he should be buried at the national monument. The government had planned for a state funeral on Saturday and then burial on Sunday.

People queue at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, where former President Robert Mugabe will lie in state for a public viewing.

Mugabe died in Singapore last week aged 95, leaving Zimbabweans divided over the legacy of a leader once lauded as a colonial-era liberation hero, but whose autocratic 37-year rule ended in a coup in 2017.

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But there is also high unemployment in the country and some people feel foreigners are taking their jobs. There has been reported xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and their businesses in South Africa.

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"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. That's the decision of the whole family", his nephew Leo Mugabe told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

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

It had always been expected that Mugabe would be buried at Heroes' Acre, a monumental burial location atop a prominent hill featuring a grandiose towering sculpture of guerrilla fighters that Mugabe built with help from North Korea.

Some family members are still bitter over his ouster, and the role his former ally Mnangagwa played.

Mr Mugabe was Zimbabwe's first leader after the country became independent in 1980.

"Such an icon, one whose funeral service is going to be attended by nearly 50 current and former heads of state". Supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party are being bused from all over the country to go to the stadium ceremonies.

Grace Mugabe is expected to stay beside the casket the entire time.

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