Former Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe has finally been buried at his rural Zvimba home, bringing to an end the dramatic and bitter disputes between his surviving spouse Grace and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
It also gave some insight into the lingering misgivings the late Zimbabwean leader had about his successor.
Mugabe, who died aged 95 on September 6, was buried yesterday at Zvimba, about 80km west of Harare.
His burial was a dramatic affair, with his family turning away journalists and tightly vetting family members allowed into his wealthy compound for the burial.
Those not on the guest list were not allowed in.
“I am sorry we can’t allow you in; we have strict instructions to use the guest list and to allow only family members,” a family member, who was helping vet delegates for the burial ceremony, said.
Even Zimbabwean state media were not allowed into the compound. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation set up equipment away from the Mugabe compound.
However, some delegates who had been inside the compound described Mugabe’s burial place as being at the centre of his homestead.
“The grave is in the middle and that’s where they will bury him. People are already gathered for the burial later this afternoon [yesterday] and we are happy that we are bringing this issue to an end. This will allow us as a family to move on and to focus on other issues,” said a family member who declined to be named.
The decision to have Mugabe buried in Zvimba was controversial and came after intense bickering and heated debates. Grace reportedly had a fallout with elders and chiefs from Mugabe’s rural homestead, with sources saying she accused them of siding with Mnangagwa as they pushed for the burial to be at the traditional National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Many top heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation war including previous Vice-Presidents and struggle stalwarts are buried at Heroes Acre.
Mnangagwa and the Mugabe family had earlier agreed to have the former Zimbabwean leader buried at the national shrine, but the case assumed a sharp twist after EFF leader Julius Malema visited Zimbabwe to pay his last respects to Mugabe.
Malema was in Zimbabwe earlier in the week and viewed Mugabe’s body in his blue-roof mansion in Harare.
Reports during the week showed that Grace had applied to the Harare City Council to have Mugabe buried at his residence. The city fathers turned down the request.
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