Grace Mugabe humiliates Mnangagwa

 Grace Mugabe humiliates Mnangagwa
Published: 27 September 2019
IN YET another dramatic turn of events to hit the funeral arrangements of former president Robert Mugabe, his family has changed its mind and will now bury him in Zvimba this weekend - and not in a special grave at the National Heroes Acre in Harare next month as planned, the Daily News reported.

After reports of tension and haggling between authorities and some members of the Mugabe family emerged earlier in the day, the late nonagenarian's remains eventually left his swanky Harare mansion yesterday afternoon for burial in Mashonaland West.

Quite revealingly for political watchers, Mugabe's erratic widow Grace took this latest decision in the absence from the country of President Emmerson Mnangagwa - who is in New York where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly yesterday.

After the initial confusion surrounding Mugabe's burial arrangements, Mnangagwa had agreed with Grace and her late husband's relatives that the liberation stalwart would be interred at the National Heroes Acre.

To add salt to the government's wounds, the State was also building a controversial and exceedingly expensive mausoleum - an elaborate structure which was intended to house Mugabe's tomb - at the national shrine.

However, Grace and Mugabe's relatives changed their minds yesterday and decided to take his body to Kutama Village in Zvimba - prompting police to briefly stop them from leaving the former Zanu-PF leader's palatial Borrowdale mansion known as the Blue Roof.

Contacted by the Daily News last night, police said they had been concerned that Grace wanted to take Mugabe's body in violation of standing State protocols regarding the funeral arrangements of national heroes.

"There was no scuffle with the former first lady. Police were concerned with the issues of escort. There was nothing bad or untoward which happened at the residence as is being alleged in some quarters.

"As we are talking right now, we are told the body has arrived in Zvimba," police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said last night.
On its part, the government also confirmed yesterday that Mugabe's family had changed his burial plans.

"The family of the late … Mugabe has expressed its desire to proceed with his burial in Zvimba.

"In line with government policy to respect the wishes of families of deceased heroes, government is co-operating with the Mugabe family in their new position.

"Government will render all the necessary support to give the late former president a fitting burial as led by the family," it said in a statement.

The decision to have Mugabe buried in Zvimba - after decades in which he forced other liberation stalwarts to be interred at Heroes Acre - came days after the family maintained that it was sticking to an agreement with Mnangagwa that he would be buried in a mausoleum there.

Family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe - who is the son of Mugabe's late sister Sabina - confirmed to the Daily News on Monday that "nothing had changed" regarding where the late nonagenarian would be buried.

"We are counting down to the 30 days we previously alluded to ... The body was preserved, and my understanding is that the preservation was for a month," he said in reference to the progress of construction of the mausoleum.

Leo was giving an update following a discovery that Grace had apparently continued to keep Mugabe's remains at the Blue Roof -instead of a mortuary - all this despite his relatives and elders having determined that the body should be stored in a private mortuary until his interment.

Mugabe, 95, died on September 6 at the top notch Gleneagles Medical Centre in Singapore. His body was repatriated to Zimbabwe on September 11, and since then Grace has been in charge of the body.

The reality of Mugabe's body being kept at the Blue Roof came to the fore when firebrand South African opposition leader, Julius Malema, visited the residence to pay his condolences.
Last night one of Mugabe's relatives told the Daily News that police had been alerted to his family moving his hearse from the residence after Grace insisted on having a convoy.

According to family members, Grace was incensed when she discovered that her children Bona, Robert Jnr and Chatunga were co-opted into a team that went and marked the place where the former president would be buried at the National Heroes Acre, in accordance with Shona culture.

Incidentally, the late Mugabe's wife Sally is also buried at the National Heroes Acre, and a special grave had all along been reserved next to her for the late president.

"She (Grace) has now made it clear that he will not be buried at the National Heroes Acre, and the family is pursuing options on how they can bury the body.

"There were three options ... one was to bury him at his Zvimba rural home. The other was to bury the body in a cave, while the third one was that he be buried at the Blue Roof - which would then have been turned into a museum, but the Harare City

Council turned us down," the source said.
Some Mugabe family members had apparently travelled to Zvimba in advance, to prepare for the late president's burial - amid claims that he will buried next to his mother in accordance with his death wish.

When Mugabe died, massive confusion followed regarding where he would be buried - as both his family and the government kept giving conflicting statements on the issue, amid indications that some of his relatives were pushing for his burial away from the national shrine.

As the confusion continued to swirl, the chaotic funeral arrangements were further blighted by a seemingly excessive adherence to traditional beliefs - with his family refusing to let his casket out of their sight, amid apparent fears that it could be used for ritual purposes by some of his former Zanu-PF rivals.
Seemingly giving grist to these fears was Mugabe's exiled other nephew, Patrick Zhuwao - who released a formal statement to the effect that the family was concerned about how the government was conducting his uncle's funeral.

Before this, and as Mugabe's body was about to be flown to Zimbabwe from Singapore, Zhuwao had also warned the government that it risked the wrath of Mugabe's avenging spirit and those of his clan, if it stampeded his family into burying him where it wanted, and without their agreement.

Well-placed sources told the Daily News, that some of Mugabe's relatives were "very superstitious", and believed that when strong winds brought down a giant tent at the family's plush Borrowdale home, this was a sign that the deceased former president was unhappy with the funeral proceedings.

Mugabe's family has also confirmed that he died a bitter man over the way he had been removed from power by his former colleagues in Zanu-PF.

Mugabe, at his death, left behind not just a nation mired in poverty and rising divisions, but also a polarising legacy.
- dailynews
Tags: Grace,


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