The family of the former Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe successfully smuggled his body out of government custody before holding a low-key burial this weekend in his home town of Zvimba.
Until last Thursday, Mugabe’s body was being held at the former dictator’s Blue Roof mansion in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb awaiting the completion of the mausoleum.
In a statement on Friday, his ZANU-PF party announced that they were “shocked” that Mugabe’s family bypassed both government and the party to organize a private burial for the late dictator, who was expected to be interred at a national shrine in the capital of Harare:
All will remember that the Zanu PF Politburo declared the former President a National Hero soon after his death.
With the construction of the mausoleum progressing within the defined timeframe, all patriotic Zimbabweans were shocked to learn that the remains of the former President had been surreptitiously taken yesterday (Thursday) to Zvimba for a private burial on Saturday 28 September 2019.
Around 200 people attended the funeral service, while only family members were present for his private burial. No senior ZANU-PF officials nor Zimbabwe’s current president and Mugabe’s former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, were present at the service after they successfully ousted him from office in late 2017.
Various family members spoke at the service, including Mugabe’s sister in law Shuvai Gumbochuma, who revealed it was his dying wish to be buried in his hometown.
“I spoke to him personally as to why he would not want to be buried at the national hero’s acre, he said to me ‘I was humiliated’. I immediately stopped the discussion thereafter,” Grace’s sister Shuvai Gumbochuma said. “I know they will say this was a decision of the wife, but what I know is that this was his wish.”
Mugabe’s nephew Walter Chidhakwa also said they had honored his uncle’s wishes. “What has happened here was [Mugabe’s] wishes,” he said. “When we had discussions the burial issue was non-negotiable. We want to say thank you to president Emmerson Mnangagwa for respecting his wishes.”
Mugabe, who died this month aged 95, led Zimbabwe as a far-left dictator for 40-year’s following its liberation from the British Empire. His tenure was marked with bloodshed, persecution of political opponents, and widespread rigging of elections. He also plunged the country, once known as one of the wealthiest in Africa, into an unprecedented economic disaster so severe that the government introduced a trillion-dollar note before eventually reverting to the U.S. dollar.