Mugabe's family say burial to be private, place still unknown
Mugabe's family say burial to be private, place still unknown
Robert Mugabe to be buried next week in his village: Family
12 September, 2019, 18:11
Zimbabwe ex-president Robert Mugabe's family and the government appeared to be deadlocked on Thursday over his final resting place after relatives snubbed a plan for him to be buried at a national monument.
Mourners sit around the body of former president Robert Mugabe, as he lies in state inside his official residence in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe.
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.
Leo Mugabe, the late president's nephew, told Reuters the burial ceremony would be private, without saying where it would be.
This, he claimed, is only due to the fact that the procession will be rooted in the former Zimbabwean leader's cultural traditions.
Mugabe's body touched down at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe global airport at around 1500hrs accompanied by his wife Grace and children, Vice President Kembo Mohadi among other officials who were aboard the gulf plane often used by Mnangagwa on his trips in and outside the country.
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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 was a discord between Mugabe's family and the government on where he should be buried.
"His body will lie in state at Kutama on Sunday night. followed by a private burial - either Monday or Tuesday - no National Heroes Acre [the national monument for liberation heroes]".
"One of the wishes that the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe indicated was that his wife, Dr Grace Mugabe, MUST NEVER leave the casket bearing his remains for the duration of the funeral proceedings whilst in Zimbabwe up until his mortal remains have been interred".
Zimbabweans have been split over the death of a leader once hailed for ending white-minority rule in what was then called Rhodesia but who later purged his foes in a brutal crackdown.
His body has since been laid out for the public at the stadium and will later be transported to his homestead Zvimba for a wake.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Cuban former leader Raul Castro and a dozen African presidents, including South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, are among those expected to attend Mugabe's state funeral on Saturday in Harare.
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