Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe is expected to be buried next weekend after his body is returned from Singapore where he died two days ago, a presidential spokesman said on Sunday. Mugabe, a guerrilla leader who swept to power after Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain and went on to rule for 37 years until he was ousted in 2017, died on Friday, aged 95.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba told AFP by text message that his body should arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, with an official funeral on Saturday and the burial the following day.
But the location of the burial was unclear, with Mugabe’s family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government apparently at odds over whether it would be at his homestead northwest of Harare or at a shrine for liberation heroes in the capital.
Mugabe’s nephew said earlier Sunday that a delegation was expected to leave Zimbabwe on Monday to collect the hero-turned-despot’s body from Singapore.
His health deteriorated after he was toppled by the military in November 2017, ending his increasingly tyrannical rule. He had been travelling to Singapore for treatment since April.
“I can’t give an authoritative day, all I know is people are leaving tomorrow Monday to go and pick up the body,” the nephew Leo Mugabe told AFP.
“So assuming they get there on Tuesday and the body is ready, logically you would think they should land here on Wednesday,” he said, adding that a list of accompanying family members was being finalised.
Once praised as a liberator who rid Zimbabwe of white minority rule, Mugabe soon turned to repression and fear to govern.
He is widely remembered for brutally crushing political dissent and ruining the economy through mismanagement, prompting mixed reactions to his passing.