THE body of Robert Mugabe, former President of Zimababwe, is expected to arrive in the country today but there is still uncertainty about where he will be buried.
There are reports that he will be buried on a vacant plot reserved for him, next to his first wife Sally, at the Heroes’ Acre. The National Heroes Acre or simply Heroes Acre is a burial ground and national monument in Harare, Zimbabwe. The 57-acre (230,000 m2) site is situated on a ridge seven kilometres from Harare, towards Norton.
Other reports said because the chiefs in Zvimba still regarded him as a chief and according to tradition, they were the only ones who could determine where he was going to be buried, how he was going to be buried and the procedures that must be followed for the burial.
The Zvimbi District is located in Mashonaland West Province, in the central part of northern Zimbabwe. Mugabe was born in Kutama, a town in the Zvimba District.
A report by eNCA said this was a cultural thing and nobody could push the chiefs to divulge where they were going to bury the former President.
The eNCA discloses that there will be a procession, but that will be rooted in the former Zimbabwean leader’s cultural traditions.
Africanews, however, reports that Mugabe’s body will lie in state at Harare’s Rufaro Stadium and then at the National Sports Stadium, also in the capital.
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Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Kembo Mohadi and other senior officials and family members were despatched to Singapore by the country’s government to accompany the body home.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in a statement that Mugabe would be buried this Sunday but did not say where he would be buried, saying more updates would be provided as more information on the programme trickled in.
Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has confirmed that it will be commemorating the passing of Mugabe with a memorial service which will be held at the Orlando East Community Hall, in Soweto, this Friday.
EFF leader, Julius Malema, is expected to lead the procession where the life of what the party describes as “an African revolutionary” will be celebrated.
In a statement recently, the Red Berets described the late President as one of the liberation fighters that ensured the independence and self-sufficiency of Zimbabwe and its people.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba and Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi at the weekend said the former ruler would be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre, a monumental burial site reserved for people viewed by the ruling ZANU-PF party as having served the country with distinction during and after the 1970s war of independence.
However, family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe, a nephew of the former President, said over the weekend that burial arrangements had not yet been finalised.
This has prompted speculation of a rift between the government and members of Mugabe’s family, who want him to be buried at his rural home in Kutama, about 85 kilometres (52 miles) southwest of Harare.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson has confirmed there has not been any finality on when and where Robert Mugabe is going to be buried.
Mr Mugabe is expected to be laid to rest this Sunday, September 15.
The family spokesperson also addressed rumours that there had been a disagreement with the Zimbabwean government over arrangements for Mugabe’s burial but Leo Mugabe said this was far from true.
“To say there is a feud is not correct, it’s not true. We’ve been meeting with the government and everything has been very smooth. There’s understanding, there’s clarity on responsibilities and, therefore, there’s no feud whatsoever,” Leo Mugabe stated.
The former Zimbabwean President, an ex-guerrilla chief, who took power in 1980 when the African country shook off white minority rule and ruled for decades, died last Friday at a hospital in Singapore at 95 years.