Harare – Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe may have died back in 2019, but it is doubtful if his body is resting in peace, as traditional leaders and the family of the late former president haggle over where he was buried.
In 2019, the Zimbabwe Government conferred national hero status on Mugabe. But the family declined to have him buried at the National Heroes Acre and instead interred him at his rural home in Zvimba District.
Now Chief Zvimba, presiding over his traditional court, has found former first lady Grace Mugabe guilty of improperly burying the long-time ruler of Zimbabwe, as per what he called his people’s culture and traditions, and ordered that Mugabe be exhumed and reburied at the National Heroes Acre.
He has also fined Mugabe’s widow five cows and goat.
But Mugabe’s nephew, Leo Mugabe, insists no exhumation or reburial will take place.
“We have not seen the judgment but I have had a number of people calling me and telling me that there is a ruling that we must exhume the body, by the 1st of July… The widow has got nothing to do with the burying of her husband. It was the Mugabe immediate family … who are responsible… So this judgment, it’s irrelevant, if you ask me.
“In any case, Chief Zvimba is not the chief who presides over (our home area). Chief Peperere is the one who presides … with Chief Shorai as his headman, Kutama as his associate. So, to jump all these people as if he is the paramount chief – and there’s nothing that is called a paramount chief, according to the Traditional Leaders Act. Therefore, you know, if that is their belief, while they are talking between themselves as chiefs that is their talk. But the law does not provide for the paramount chief. No. We are saying no. (to exhuming Mugabe’s remains)” Leo Mugabe said.
There have been rumours that Zanu-PF is behind the attempt to exhume Mugabe and rebury him at the National Heroes Acre, something the ruling party’s information director, Tafadzwa Mugwadi, has laughed off.
“The party has no stake in Chief Zvimba’s local traditional court processes. Only those at family level and Chief Zvimba are aware of what is going on. The party is too busy and engaged with implementing its 2018 People’s Manifesto which President Mnangagwa is seized with. It is therefore absolutely shameless, mischievous and malicious for anyone to try to drag the party into whatever is going on there.
“President Mnangagwa and his government played their part in ensuring that the late Founding Father of our nation and his longtime colleague, Cde RG Mugabe receives an honorable and befitting send off. He went a mile further in building a mausoleum to ensure that the late former president join other National Heroes and rest in peace but those making noise today threw spanners in the process.”