HARARE – The family of Africa’s strongman and fallen giant Robert Mugabe are in a squabble over the site and date of burial, not wanting to go against his last wishes.
According to the family of the ex-Zimbabwean President who was considered a dictator, they were unclear over the burial site and the date planned to lay the man to rest.
His body arrived on Thursday at the famous historic Rufaro Stadium hoisted by soldiers in uniform.
Ideally, it is alleged that tension was erupted after the current President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnagangwa collided with the family members by setting up a burial place without their approval.
The family wanted a private burial ceremony while the President suggested a public one involving Zimbabweans as the man had made significant contributions to the country.
A family spokesman says former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will be buried at the national Heroes’ Acre site but it is not yet clear when.
Mugabe’s family has three warring Spokesmen; Leo Mugabe speaking on behalf of Mugabe’s traditional family members, Walter Chidhakwa who is speaking for another faction of the family and the self-exiled Patrick Zhuwao who is speaking for an ousted Zanu PF faction G40 former First Lady Grace Mugabe.
It is said Grace Mugabe does not get on well with the rest of Mugabe family in rural Zvimba. Both Leo Mugabe and Patrick Zhuwao are sons of Mugabe’s late sister Sabina but of different fathers. Patrick was born out of a Mozambican father and Leo Mugabe is rumoured to be the son of the late Patrick Mboma who used to run a bus service fleet and later became football administrator as ZIFA Secretary-General.
It is thought Grace Mugabe exploited the divisions in the family and co-opted Patrick Zhuwao in her political manoeuvre.
Leo Mugabe, the former leader’s nephew, told reporters on Friday that the decision was made after consulting with traditional chiefs.
The nephew says it will be a private family burial and that details including the day are still being worked out.
Robert Mugabe’s body is on view at a local stadium for a second day. A stampede on Thursday injured several people trying to view it.
Mugabe died last week in Singapore at the age of 95. He led the southern African nation for 37 years before being forced to resign in late 2017.