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Updated: Mugabe body arrives


Harare (New Ziana) – The body of the late former President Robert Mugabe, who died in Singapore last Friday, arrived home on Wednesday afternoon aboard a chartered plane accompanied by his widow Grace, children and senior government and ruling party officials.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa, Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, service chiefs and other senior government officials received the body at the airport.

A brief military parade, and religious service was held at the airport in his honour, with a Zimbabwe Defence Forces chaplain general leading the prayer.

Thousands of people also turned up at Robert Mugabe International Airport to receive the body of the former President, who ruled the country for 37 years since independence in 1980 until his resignation in November 2017.

The atmosphere was electric before the arrival of the body as the crowd, made up mostly of young people, locals and foreigners sang revolutionary songs in praise of the late founding father of the nation, who was renowned for championing black majority rule.

There were wild scenes of joy from the crowd when the plane carrying the body of the late former President touched down and taxiing towards the dias, where a military parade had formed and dignitaries were seated.

The crowd whistled, blew vhuvhuzelas and beat conga drums as they sang and danced in praise of their revered iconic leader, who championed access to education, health and economic empowerment for his previously marginalised black countrymen.

Addressing the gathering, President Emmerson Mnangagwa described the late former leader as “our founding President, an icon of Pan-Africanism, the man that created our nation.”

He said the nation was aggrieved by his passing on and extended its sincere condolences to his widow and children.

“The light which led us to independence is gone but his works and ideals will continue to guide this nation,” he said.

“May I take this opportunity to say on the day we shall lay him to rest my appeal to you is to come in your numbers to show your love,” said President Mnangagwa.

The police and other security agents had a torrid time restraining the crowd from getting close to the military truck that was carting the body of the late former President away as they jostled to catch a glimpse of the coffin, and to take pictures.

Scores of other people lined the road from the airport to catch a glimpse of the body of the only leader they had known for the past three decades, with others perching on balconies of houses for a better view.

From the airport, the body was taken to the One Commando Barracks in Cranborne for a military parade, and later to his house in Borrowdale.

President Mnangagwa told the crowd that further details of the program leading to the burial of the late President would be announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs later.

A number of Heads of State and Governments, especially from the region, are expected to attend the burial.

New Ziana

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