The Zimbabwean government has made provisional plans to bury longtime ruler Robert Mugabe at a national monument in the capital next Sunday, a presidential aide was quoted as saying, despite Mugabe reportedly not wanting to be buried there.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who worked closely with Mugabe for decades before helping to oust him, granted Mugabe the status of national hero on Friday but did not give details about when or where the burial would happen.
Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba said in comments to The Sunday Mail newspaper that current plans were for Mugabe to be buried at the National Heroes Acre monument in Harare next Sunday but that those arrangements were subject to change.
“It is the timeline that we are working with,” Charamba said, denying there was a difference of opinion between government and Mugabe’s family over the burial.
Local newspaper the Zimbabwe Independent reported last month that Mugabe didn’t want to be buried at National Heroes Acre – a site reserved for the country’s heroes – because he felt humiliated at the way he was removed from power.
The Sunday Mail said Mugabe’s body was expected back from Singapore on Wednesday afternoon and that Mnangagwa, members of Mugabe’s family and traditional chiefs from Mugabe’s Zvimba district would receive the body at Harare’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
The body would then be taken to Zvimba before being moved to the National Sports Stadium, the newspaper added.
Leo Mugabe, Mugabe’s nephew, told Reuters that Mugabe’s family and traditional chiefs had finalised their preferred program for Mugabe’s burial but that it was yet to be approved by the government.