Second public funeral parade held for Mugabe

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HARARE, (Xinhua) — Thousands of Zimbabweans thronged Rufaro Soccer Stadium in Harare on Friday for the continuation of the body viewing of the late former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, who died in Singapore last week at the age of 95.

Friday’s funeral parade followed another one held at the same venue on Thursday to afford ordinary Zimbabweans a chance to bid farewell to the late leader.

On Saturday, another funeral service will be held in the giant national Sports Stadium to give foreign dignitaries and members of the diplomatic community a chance to pay their last respects.

At least 11 African heads of state and government have confirmed attendance and some are expected to start arriving in the country Friday.

Family spokesperson and Mugabe’s nephew Leo Mugabe said Friday that the late founding leader of the nation will be buried at the National Heroes Acre at a date to be announced.

He told journalists that his uncle’s body would be taken to the National Heroes Acre on Sunday when all the necessary procedures to honor a national hero, such as the military 21-gun salute and conferment of national hero status by the government, will be done.

“The body will then be taken away for burial later while the works that are supposed to be done at Heroes Acre are done and finalized,” he said.

He said the works would take long to be completed, “perhaps as much as a week”.

“Thereafter, he will then be buried at a private ceremony by the family in a private burial service,” he said.

There had been issues between the Mugabe family and the government over the burial arrangements, with some family members saying that he should be buried at his rural home as per his wishes, while the government was pushing for him to be interred at the national shrine as a sign of honor.