Harare, Sep 13 (IANS) Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe will be buried at the National Heroes Acre monument here, his family said on Friday, following a row with the government over the leader’s final resting site.
Leo Mugabe, the family spokesperson and nephew of the former President, said the date was yet to be determined.
Before that there will be a public ceremony at the state cemetery in Harare on Sunday, followed by a ceremony at Mugabe’s home village.
Mugabe died last week aged 95 whilst being treated in Singapore. His body is now lying in state at the Rufaro football stadium in the capital.
Leo Mugabe told the BBC that there would be a public ceremony in Harare on Sunday. After that, the former President’s body would be taken to his home village of Kutama, where clan chiefs and the family would be allowed to perform their own ceremonies.
Only at a later date – another Sunday as yet to be determined – Mugabe would be finally buried at the National Heroes Acre monument in Harare, added Leo Mugabe.
However, it is unclear whether all family members agree with Leo Mugabe.
The family had earlier expressed shock at not having been consulted by the government about the funeral arrangements.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa had declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating he should be buried at the national monument.
Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe in 2017 after a coup, visited his widow Grace Mugabe on Thursday at the family’s mansion in northern Harare to assure her the government would abide by their wishes.
Meanwhile, thousands of mourners queued up at Rufaro stadium to pay their respects to one of the country’s freedom fighters who ruled with an iron fist for almost 40 years.
A state funeral will be held on Saturday in the state cemetery of Harare attended by a dozen African heads of state and diplomats from around the world.
Mugabe was admitted to a leading hospital in Singapore last April, where he received treatment for an undisclosed disease. The hefty hospital bills were paid by the government.
Despite his reputation as a brutal dictator, who freed his country and later turned it into his fief, in some countries in Africa Mugabe is still revered as an iconic freedom fighter against white colonial rule.
His 37-year regime was marked by the repression of his opponents, elections of doubtful credibility, lack of freedoms for his people and left the Zimbabwean economy in tatters.