Zimbabwe ex-president Robert Mugabe’s family and the government squabbled over his burial on Thursday, with the place of the ceremony — and even its date — unclear after relatives snubbed a plan for him to be entombed at a national monument.
Mugabe died in Singapore last week aged 95, leaving Zimbabweans torn over the legacy of a leader once lauded as a colonial-era liberation hero, but whose autocratic 37-year rule ended in a coup in 2017.
Tensions erupted after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government proposed a burial for the former guerrilla fighter at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, while the family said he would be buried at a private ceremony, possibly in his homestead of Kutama, northwest of the capital.
“His body will lie in state at Kutama on Sunday night… followed by a private burial — either Monday or Tuesday — no National Heroes Acre. That’s the decision of the whole family,” his nephew Leo Mugabe told AFP.
In a statement, the family accused Mnangagwa’s government of trying to strong-arm them into a public funeral against Mugabe’s final wishes.