Sunday 15 September 2019

Robert Mugabe to be buried in Zimbabwe next Sunday

The southern African country’s former leader died in Singapore on Friday aged 95.

Former Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe (PA)
Former Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe (PA)

By Associated Press Reporters

Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe is expected to be buried next Sunday, according to state media reports.

The ex-guerrilla leader became the southern African country’s first leader following independence from white minority rule in 1980 and held on to power until he was forced to resign in 2017.

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A visitor arrives with a wreath at the Singapore Casket funeral parlour building where the body of former Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe is being held (Daniel Hakim/AP)

He died in Singapore on Friday at the age of 95.

His body will arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, the Sunday Mail quoted presidential spokesman George Charamba as saying.

Mr Mugabe is still regarded by many as a national hero, with some even beginning to say they missed him after his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former ally turned foe, failed to revive the economy and used the army to crush dissent.

According to Mr Charamba, Mr Mnangagwa and family members will receive Mr Mugabe’s body at the airport named after the former president in the capital, Harare.

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Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared Robert Mugabe a national hero (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP)

The body will be taken to his rural home, about 53 miles (85km) south-west of Harare before being placed in a giant stadium for public viewing.

Mr Mnangagwa, who described Mr Mugabe as a “a great teacher and mentor”, declared him a national hero, the highest posthumous award in the country, and said official mourning will only end after the burial at the National Heroes Acre, a hilltop shrine reserved exclusively for Zimbabweans who made huge sacrifices during the war against white-minority rule.

In death, Mr Mugabe received praise from his former political and military allies, who propped up his rule for close to four decades before forcing him out in 2017.

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The Zimbabwean flag flies at half-mast at the parliament building in Harare (Themba Hadebe/AP)

“He died a very bitter man,” family spokesman and nephew Leo Mugabe told reporters at the family’s rural home on Saturday.

“Imagine the people that are guarding you, that you trusted the most, turn against you.”

PA Media

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