Mugabe Memorial: Heads of state expected to pay tribute to Zimbabwe's former president

2019-09-14 10:31
The Zimbabwe national sports stadium where a memorial service in honour of former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe is taking place. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

The Zimbabwe national sports stadium where a memorial service in honour of former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe is taking place. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

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Different heads of state are expected to pay tribute to Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe on Saturday.

A memorial service in his honour is set to take place at the national stadium in Harare, this after the 95-year-old died in a Singaporean hospital last week.

He will, however, following a week of tense discussions and a public chastising of the Zimbabwean government by his family, not laid to rest on Sunday as it had been previously communicated.

LIVE: Mnangagwa, Ramaphosa at Harare stadium to pay tribute to Mugabe

The Mugabe family expressed "shock" and "concern" over how government planned for the former statesman's funeral without consulting them.

They had argued Mugabe wanted his home village of Kutama in Zvimba to be his final resting place. This is where his mother was buried, instead of Heroes' Acre where most of the country's liberation heroes have been laid to rest.

Village chiefs had also expressed dissatisfaction at this idea, arguing Mugabe was a Chief who should be buried as one.

However, the former leader's nephew Leo Mugabe told journalists on Friday evening at Mugabe's blue roof mansion that an agreement had been reached between the village chiefs, the family and government. Mugabe junior said the remains of Mugabe will be buried after 30 days.

This latest development some have claimed has left Zimababwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was once Mugabe's ally now turned foe, with egg on his face. Others, however, believe it has nothing to do with tensions between the Mugabe family, more so his widow Grace, who was at some point being groomed to take over from the 95-year-old until a coup, which saw Mnangagwa rise to presidency.

Several leaders and former liberation heroes have already made their way to Harare, including South Africa's former president Thabo Mbeki, Namibia's Sam Nujoma, Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Mbasogo and former Botswana President Festus Mogae.

While there has been no clarity regarding the programme, the memorial service is expected to get under way at 10:00.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa
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