Home / AFRICA / African leaders converge on Harare for Robert Mugabe’s funeral
Thousands will gather on Saturday to honour former President Mugabe, whom many Zimbabweans are choosing to remember for his achievements, rather than the political violence and economic chaos that marked the last years of his long presidency /Photo: Zimbabwe Presidency/Facebook

African leaders converge on Harare for Robert Mugabe’s funeral

Nigeria’s vice president, professor Yemi Osinbajo, will represent Nigeria at the funeral of Robert Mugabe, the late former president of Zimbabwe.

More than a dozen current and former leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, are expected to attend the event, holding on Saturday, 14 September at the National Stadium in Harare .

On September 15, there will also be a public ceremony at the hero’s acre in the capital, followed by a ceremony at Mugabe’s home village, Leo Mugabe, the family’s spokesman and nephew of Mugabe told BBC News.

Former President Robert Mugabe, pictured here in December 2016, addressing delegates at the ruling Zanu PF conference in Masvingo, Zimbabwe died at after a long brief period of illness on 6 September/ Photo: Believe Nyakudjara

 

He also said that after the public ceremony, Robert Mugabe’s body would be returned to his home village of Kutama.

Before now, Mugabe’s family and the government of Zimbabwe have disagreed over the deceased final resting site.

Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa had declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating that he should be buried at the national monument.

But the family of the deceased expressed shock at not being consulted by the government about the funeral arrangements. The government had planned to bury Mugabe at hilltop monument where the country’s national heroes are laid to rest.

The family is alleged to still nurse grudges over the toppling of Mugabe by Mnangagwa, his former ally, two years ago.

“One thing you cannot remove is the scar that was within him before he died. But let bygones be bygones because the living must continue,” BBC News quoted Leo Mugabe to have said.

Mugabe died last week at 95 years of age, while undergoing treatment in Singapore.

His body is currently in a football stadium in Harare for a public open casket viewing as the country observes four days of mourning.

One of the legacies of the deceased during his early years, was broadening access to health and education for the black majority.

His later years were marked by violent repression of his political opponents and Zimbabwe’s economic ruin. An increasing number of critics labelled him a dictator.

Mugabe was Zimbabwe’s first leader after the country became independent in 1980. He ruled the country for almost four decades before being toppled in the 2017 coup.

Mugabe was placed under house arrest and four days later, replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, his former ally.

 Raphael Adenaike

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