Zvimba,(New Ziana) – Late former President, Robert Mugabe (95) was on Saturday finally laid to rest at his rural family home, three weeks after his death.
Mugabe’s burial had been a subject of confusion as location of his final resting place kept shifting, in what appeared to be disagreements within the family.
The issue appeared solved a week after his death when both the government and the family announced he would be buried in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre.
But while the mausoleum was still under construction, the family pulled a shocker, announcing on Thursday Zimbabwe’s founding and long-time leader, who succumbed to cancer in Singapore, would be buried at his rural home in Zvimba.
Government respected the family’s wishes and provided full security services and escort as the family transported the body from Mugabe’s former residence in Harare to Kutama, about 70 kms southwest of the capital.
Mugabe was buried in the heart of the family courtyard, a few yards from where the rest of his family, including his mother and brothers are interred.
His first wife, Sally Mugabe is interred at the National Heroes Acre, where he was largely expected to also be buried.
The burial was overseen by the Roman Catholic Church, which the late former President was an avid congregant of and was attended by hundreds, who included relatives and representatives of government.
In eulogies after a church service before the burial, former First Lady, Grace Mugabe’s sister, Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma and sister to the late President, Dr Regina Gata said it was the former leader’s dying wish to be buried at his family home.
“What we have done was his wish, he said it with his own mouth that he did not want to be buried at the Heroes Acre,” Gumbochuma said.
Justifying the private burial, Gumbochuma said: “Even if there are not as many people here, which might seem belittling for a man of his stature, it was his wish.”
Dr Gata said Grace Mugabe and the children were not to blame for the change in burial place but were simply following his orders.
“What the children did is in order. It is not Grace who decided where he will be buried. It was said in the presence of a number of family members.”
Mugabe’s nephew, Walter Chidhakwa thanked President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the support his government had rendered the late former leader until his demise.
Chidhakwa said government’s decision to respect the family’s wishes was also welcome.
“There might be some who think the First Lady’s family did what they wanted which was against what the party or government wanted, but we are saying, we thank you for respecting the wishes of the late President even if it might not be what you expected,” he said.
“We simply followed his wishes.”
Flags have flown at half-mast, for three weeks as never seen before in Zimbabwe following the death of the legendary former President.
Meanwhile, the ruling Zanu PF party was not amused by the last minute decision to change the burial location describing the move as “belittling” the late international statesman.
“The former late President was the founding father of this nation and trivialising his remains by scandalously throwing them from pillar to post, particularly after an amicable decision had been reached with the family that his remains will be interred at the national shrine is belittling of the late revolutionary icon,” party spokesman, Simon Khaya Moyo said.