Robert Mugabe Burial plans
Family members and relatives of the late Robert Mugabe reject government burial plans. Photo/AFP

Family members and relatives of the late Robert Mugabe have indicated that the deceased will be buried at his home and not in a national monument like the government is planning.

In a meeting on Thursday 12th September, between family and officials at his home in Harare, the family insisted that they are going to go on with Robert Mugabe burial arrangements basing with what the late told them before his death.

According to Leo Mugabe, a nephew of the former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe the burial ceremony will be held early next week in Zvimba district, about 60 miles (95km) north-west of the capital, Harare.

Friends and relatives including Mugabe’s wife, Grace, have clarified that the late while still alive chose to be buried in Zvimba with only close relatives in attendance.

They added that the late Mugabe did not want his death to be exploited by his successors for political gain.

Meanwhile, the ruling Zanu-PF party also announced that Mugabe’s remains would be interred at a hilltop monument outside Harare on Sunday, after a ceremony at the nearby national stadium on Saturday, where dozens of prominent African leaders would be present.

Earlier, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe as president, said he had appealed to the family to set aside any bitterness. They are reportedly unhappy about his treatment of the former leader.

“Let bygones be bygones. The family is going to lead the programme, that’s why we haven’t released anything. We haven’t agreed how he will be buried,” Mnangagwa said.

The president, a veteran of the ruling Zanu-PF party and a decades-long close associate of Mugabe, said:

“We will have to sit down first with Grace. As the government, there’s nothing we will do to go against your wishes. Let’s unite, he was our father.”

Robert Mugabe passed on in Singapore last week from where he was receiving medical treatment.

Mugabe who died at the age of 95 was ill for some time. He led Zimbabwe as prime minister and president for 37 years after the country was created from the white-minority ruled Rhodesia in 1980.

He led Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017, before he was ousted and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, took over power after Mugabe paid tribute to the former leader.

His body arrived on Wednesday, on a government-chartered private jet, at Zimbabwe’s main airport, where thousands of supporters had gathered.

On Thursday his casket was taken to a sports stadium in Harare, where thousands packed the stands to see him lie in state.

Several people were injured in a crush as they surged forward to try to view the casket, with some carried away on stretchers. The severity of their injuries was not immediately clear.

Riot police later restored order, at times using batons to strike people.

Mugabe’s casket was under a tent at the centre of the pitch, while his wife sat on a podium to the side of the field.

A military helicopter later returned the casket to Mugabe’s Blue Roof house in the capital.

By John Dalton Kigozi