Zimbabwe’s Mugabe to be buried in new national shrine

Tuesday, 17 Sep, 2019

Former president Robert Mugabe's family was told that they risked losing his Harare mansion and other Harare properties if they did not accede to government's demands that the long-time ruler should be buried at the Heroes Acre, it has emerged.

Zimbabwe president, Mnangagwa walked behind the casket carrying Mugabe's body as it was wheeled into the centre of Harare's National Sports Stadium and placed on a podium decorated with flowers.

Walter Chidhakwa, who spoke at the funeral on behalf of the Mugabe family, referenced the emotional effect the coup had on Mugabe.

"Banners at the stadium where Mugabe's body lay in state read "Hamba kahle, Gushungo", (go well, Gushungo)", a reference to his clan name, and "Go well our revolutionary icon".

Mugabe, who was 95, died last week while being treated in Singapore.

Mugabe's body was expected to arrive at the village on Sunday.

The wrangle over the burial highlighted the lasting acrimony between Mnangagwa and Mugabe's widow, Grace, and other family members.

Mnangagwa, Mugabe's former deputy who conspired to topple him, said late on Friday that building a new mausoleum as a compromise would delay the burial of the man who was once his mentor. They wanted him to be buried at a private ceremony. Mugabe's first wife, Sally, is buried there and a space next to her had been reserved for Mugabe.

Mugabe farewell ceremony
Mugabe will be buried in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre shrine in Harare in about 30 days

"Mugabe had no doctor looking after him".

Mugabe primarily was identified as the Marxist and Leninist who successfully led his party ZANU-PF and served the nation from executive office for almost four decades. "We, who remain, shall continue to hear his rich, brave, defiant and inspiring voice - which we grew accustomed to on various global platforms - beyond his grave, encouraging and warning us to be vigilant and astute; always guarding and protecting our freedom, our independence and indeed our God-given resources".

The ceremony did not draw attention to Mugabe's pitiless persecution of political rivals, his policy of confiscating land from white farmers, or his wider mishandling of the economy which led to skyrocketing inflation that left millions in poverty during the latter half of his 37-year reign.

He eulogised President Mugabe's burning desire to end colonial exploitation which incurred the anger of aggressive foreign interests that discredited and destabilized his rule.

"President Mugabe was a friend of the African National Congress, and the people if South Africa and he stood by us in our darkest hour", he said. "I couldn't make it to the sports stadium because of that but I went to Rufaro to pay my respects to our father on Thursday", said one Zimbabwean, who asked not to be named.

Following Mugabe's passing, Mnangagwa called on the country to set aside their differences and come together to remember the past and look to the future as a united, proud, independent and free nation.

Later the crowds booed and jeered at South African President Cyril Ramaphosa - which appeared to be a reaction to the xenophobic violence across South Africa in the last month. "It leaves (former) president Mugabe without a house in Harare", said Leo candidly.