Harare(New Ziana) – The government on Tuesday said there was nothing amiss with the delayed announcement of the place of burial of former President Robert Mugabe highlighting that as is the norm, burial arrangements of national heroes were done in consultation with the family of the deceased.
While it is customary for national heroes to be buried at the national shrine- the Heroes Acre in Harare – government allows the family of the deceased to choose an alternative burial place if they so wish.
National heroes including the late musician Oliver Mtukudzi and Dumiso Dabengwa were not buried at the national shrine after their families chose alternative burial places.
Before his death, reports had indicated that the ex- President had expressed wishes not to be buried at the national shrine, where his first wife, Sally Mugabe and sister, Sabina are interred.
But a family spokesperson said at the weekend the Mugabes were not aware who generated the reports saying a decision on his burial place would be made in consultation with government, family and home chiefs.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said information concerning the burial place would be availed in due course.
“There is absolutely nothing which is extraordinary about this. We have got processes which we go through as government when there is a national hero,” she said.
Weighing in, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lt General Sibusiso Moyo (Rtd) said a clearer picture of the burial arrangements would be known when the body and family arrive on Wednesday.
“Remember any programme by government is always in consultation with the family, so we cannot publish a programme before we have got full consultation with the family therefore we expect that is going to happen tomorrow when the family also arrives.”
Mutsvangwa said earlier on Tuesday President Emmerson Mnangagwa had formally notified Cabinet during its weekly sitting of the demise of Zimbabwe’s founding leader.
“His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa formally notified of the sad passing on of the founding father and former President of Zimbabwe, Cde RG Mugabe. He then led Cabinet in observing a moment of silence in honour of the departed iconic leader,” she said.
“The body of the late former president shall be received at the Robert Mugabe International airport tomorrow in the afternoon.”
The former leader died last Friday in Singapore where he was receiving medical treatment.
Vice President Kembo Mohadi left Harare on Monday for Singapore at the head of a family, ruling party and government delegation to repatriate the body home for burial on Sunday.
Before burial, the body will be taken to Zvimba his rural home on Wednesday and will be brought back to Harare on Thursday to Rufaro stadium in Mbare high density suburb where it will lie in state for two days for the public to pay their last respects.
A state funeral service will then be held on Saturday.