Chinhoyi Magistrate Throws Out Mugabe Exhumation Appeal

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

A PROVINCIAL magistrate has thrown out an appeal by the late former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s children to stop the exhumation and reburial of the deceased strongman.

In her brief ruling at the new Chinhoyi Court Complex Friday, provincial magistrate Ruth Moyo said the late ex-president’s offspring, who include Bona, had no locus standi to contest the ruling by the traditional court that sat at Murombedzi, Zvimba last May, which decreed the removal of Mugabe’s remains for reburial at the National Heroes Acre.

In the judgment, Moyo outlined it was former First Lady Grace Mugabe, who should have approached the magistrate’s court to seek recourse if she felt unsatisfied by the chiefs’ ruling.

A group of traditional leaders from the Zvimba area had ordered the exhumation and reburial of the former president at the National Heroes Acre.

Mugabe’s widow, Grace boycotted a hearing convened by Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Urayayi Mhondoro, who was accusing the former First Lady of burying her husband in a courtyard against custom in his area.

The hearing went proceeded and a ruling was passed in Grace’s absence.

“I give powers to those who are permitted by law to exhume the late Robert Mugabe’s remains from Kutama and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre in Harare,” read the Shona ruling by Chief Zvimba.

The chief ordered Grace to compensate all those who will carry out the duty of exhuming and reburying Mugabe at the national shrine should the ex-First Lady fail to carry out the task herself.

Zimbabwe’s fierce ruler for 37 years until his ouster in a coup in 2017, Mugabe was buried at his homestead in Mashonaland West province’s Zvimba district in 2019.

His widow and extended family defied spirited attempts by the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government that dethroned him, to have the founding leader buried at the national shrine where a mausoleum was being built in his honour.

Mugabe’s children have made spirited attempts to stop the exhumation and subsequent reburial of their father’s remains.