Robert Mugabe's family lashes Zim govt over his funeral arrangements

Mugabe-coffin-AFP

Tony Karumba AFP

This is the mixed legacy of the late former Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, former Cuban leader Raul Castro and a dozen African presidents, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, are among those expected to attend Mugabe's state funeral on Saturday in Harare, Zimbabwe's presidency said.

The 95-year-old, who ruled for 37 years until he was ousted in November 2017, died last week in Singapore where he had been receiving medical treatment.

"As the immediate family of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe, we are ready and willing to work with the Government of Zimbabwe to develop a programme for the funeral and burial of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe which is in conformance to his wishes on how his mortal remains will be interred".

The statement adds that one of the late leader's final wishes was for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to never leave Mr Mugabe's casket during the funeral up until the point when he is buried.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa had declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating he should be buried at the national monument.

Mnangagwa made the remarks at the Blue Roof in Harare on Friday. The home affairs ministry would draw up the funeral programme in consultation with Mugabe's family, he said.

Today his family insisted he would be buried in a private ceremony in his home village early next week - not, as Mnangagwa wanted, at the Heroes Acre shrine in Harare where a grave is waiting for him. A delegation including a vice president headed flew to Singapore to bring him home.

Mugabe's final burial place on Sunday, though, is still unclear.

The family on Thursday issued a statement saying it was concerned about the manner in which the government was preparing the programme for Mugabe's funeral "without consulting his immediate family".

Mugabe's body will lie in state today at Rufaro Stadium where members of the public will have a chance to pay their last respects.

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