By Leopold Munhende
INFORMATION ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana has distanced government from ongoing manoeuvres to have late President Robert Mugabe’s remains exhumed from the former ruler’s rural home in Zvimba for reburial at the National Heroes Acre.
In fact, Mangwana said, government was annoyed by attempts by family representatives and critics’ continued dragging of the Zanu PF led administration into the matter.
Mugabe’s burial drama was renewed recently when a Zvimba traditional chief summoned the one-time long serving leader’s widow, Grace for trial over the latter’s alleged violations of custom to bury her husband in a family courtyard.
The chief fined Grace five beasts and two goats after finding her guilty – in absentia – for the offence.
Mugabe’s nephews and former allies have accused incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa of being behind the plot to exhume his remains for reburial at the national shrine as per government’s original wishes.
Former cabinet ministers Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwao and Jonathan Moyo, all in exile, have chorused their claims Mnangagwa was keen to secure a traditional, mysterious but powerful “sceptre” believed to have been buried with Mugabe.
Mnangagwa is said to believe the said sceptre has supernatural powers to help him turn around the country’s worsening economic challenges and further boost his ambitions to remain the country’s number one citizen.
But commenting on the developments, Mangwana said government had no interest in Mugabe’s skeleton.
“It is a very local matter, I am not sure the chief has jurisdiction on who should be buried at the Heroes Acre or not which is a piece of land outside his dominion.
“But what I can tell you (please take it as official) is that the government of Zimbabwe has no interest in this matter at all and we are just observing this local matter with annoyance,” he said.
When Mugabe died September 2019, government put under a spirited but vain effort to have the country’s founding leader interred at the national shrine where a mausoleum was being built in his honour.