MUGABE: FAMILY, GOVERNMENT DIFFER OVER BURIAL ARRANGEMENTS

The Mugabe’s family seems to differ with Mnangagwe on the choice of where the former president will be interred whether in his rural homestead Zvimba in a ceremony involving local chiefs, or at the National Heroes Acre — a hilltop shrine in Harare commemorating guerillas killed during the liberation struggle.

Leo Mugabe who spoke to AFP refused to comment on the feud. “All I know is that we are closer to an agreement if the chiefs meet up with the president and discuss the issues,” said the nephew.

According to the Zimbabwe’s deputy information minister Energy Mutody said the body would rest in Harare.

“His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa has declared former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe a National Hero,” Mutody revealed via a tweet on Saturday. He explained that the former President will be buried at the national heroes’ acre next weekend

The 57-acre site, presided over by three bronze guerilla soldiers, was later opened up to national heroes in the arts and academia.

The family of Zimbabwean Afro-jazz icon and human rights activist Oliver Mtukudzi also refused to bury him at the shrine. Mtukudzi, who succumbed to diabetes in January, was declared national hero for his social and political influence.

Meanwhile, many reactions had continued troop in about the life and times of the departed leader.

At the packed Sacred Heart Cathedral in Harare, where Mugabe used to attend Catholic Mass with his first wife Sally and second wife Grace, people prayed on Sunday morning for their departed former leader.

“We are praying for our relatives who have died. Without forgetting to pray for our former president, Comrade Robert Mugabe. … We are asking God if there is anything that he did wrong in his life that he be forgiven,” the priest told the congregation.

Chris Sambo, a former soccer administrator who used to arrange matches for Mugabe in Kutama, said the southern African country’s Catholic community had lost one of its most important members.

Tsitsi Samukange, another churchgoer, said Mugabe should be praised for fighting for his country.

“I think everyone can admit that without the work he did we would not be as independent as we are,” she said.

“You know when you fight, in a fight sometimes you lose your teeth? And we became poorer. But that’s a fight and he did it, and we should give him that.”

Many Harare residents said they were saddened by Mugabe’s death and that it marked the end of an era.

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