Preparations have begun to give Robert Mugabe a state funeral as it was revealed the grief of his hated widow Grace is ‘immeasurable.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among world leaders to send the Zimbabwean government and the widow of its former president his condolences as the country he led for 37 years went into three days of mourning.
Mugabe died in Singapore aged 95 yesterday morning and his widow hid her face from public view as she paid her respects at the funeral parlour where his body had been taken too.
Zimbabwe’s Charge d’Affairs to Singapore Claudius Nhema, speaking exclusively to MailOnline, said: ‘Of course Mr Mugabe will be given a state funeral…he was a national hero.’
Asked why his wife Grace, who is largely despised in her homeland hid her face under a blanket, he said: ‘Her grief is immeasurable.
‘She may have been married to a national hero and President, but ultimately she had lost her husband.’
Mr Nhema, who has been comforting Mugabe’s widow and helping with funeral arrangements, added: ‘She is in pain. It doesn’t matter what religion you are Hindu or Christian or what your background is, the sense of loss is the same for her as anybody.’
He said Mr Johnson had sent a message of sympathy to the Zimbabwean government as had ‘many leaders.’
A state funeral, probably next weekend, is likely to be attended by heads of state mainly from the African continent, but lesser from the rest of the world because of Mugabe’s tyranny in his later years of power.
However, Mr Johnson sent a message of sympathy which appeared to carry a veiled criticism of Mugabe’s brutal tenure during which he was accused of slaughtering thousands.
Mr Johnson said: ‘His resignation in 2017 marked a turning point and we hope that today marks another which allows Zimbabwe to move on from the legacy of its past and become a democratic, prosperous nation that respects the human rights of its citizens.’
But South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa described Mugabe, who reportedly once said ‘the only white man you can trust is a dead white man, described him as liberation fighter.
‘South Africans join the people and Government of Zimbabwe in mourning the passing of a liberation fighter and champion of Africa’s cause against colonialism’ he said.
Mugabe’s body, which is lying in the Singapore Casket funeral home on a busy dual carriageway, was visited by friends from Zimbabwe and a Christian Irish missionary Rev Joshua, who declined to comment.
But Mugabe’s family are preparing documentation and expect a military aircraft to be sent from Harare next week to take his remains back to Africa.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa will declare Mugabe formally as a National Hero, which is normally a status reserved for icons of the country’s independence war.
He said he gave his heartfelt condolences to Grace Mugabe, the Mugabe family and the children ‘on this their saddest loss.’
He added: ‘Amai Mugabe stood by her husband to the very end, thus imparting to our nation a lasting lesson on devout love and care.
‘For that we deeply thank her, as we join her in the grief and loss and bereavement which is also ours to feel and bear.’
But the former Zimbabwean First Lady, despite the President’s support, faces an uncertain future as she is widely despised and accused of pillaging the country’s finances for her own use.
She became known as ‘Gucci Grace’ because of her lavish spending, particularly when she visited Singapore’s vast number of designer stores on Orchard Road.
More than £60,000 was once spent on a single visit to a department store.
Mugabe is believed to have left behind a multi-million-pound estate which was built from his days as ruler.
His widow is reportedly sitting on a £1 billion mountain of cash
His only daughter with Grace Mugabe Bona, 31, studied in Singapore and is said to own a luxury home in the island nation.
Grace was Mugabe’s second wife and they married in 1996, having two sons and a daughter. He married his first wife Sally Mugabe in 1961 but she died in 1992.
Mugabe’s sons Robert Jr and Chatunga gained a reputation for their playboy lifestyle, and were evicted from a flat in South Africa in 2017 after it was damaged in a party.
That same year, Chatunga was pictured on social media appearing to pour a £200 bottle of champagne over a watch which he claimed was worth £45,000.
Robert Jr had dreams of a basketball career but US sanctions meant he could not play in America, and he launched a clothing label in December 2017 called xGx.
Mugabe met Grace in the early 1990s when she was one of his shy young typists, but she became an ambitious politician who also wanted to become president.
Speaking in 2013, she said: ‘He just started talking to me, asking me about my life. I didn’t know it was leading somewhere. I was quite a shy person, very shy.’
The reports of her lavish spending and explosive temper earned her the title ‘Dis-Grace’ – and eyebrows were raised in 2014 when she gained a PhD in three months.
Her spending was an uncomfortable contrast with an economic crisis which left most of the 16 million population mired in poverty and unemployment.
Source: Daily Mail