By Anna Chibamu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa will Sunday preside over a mock burial of late former State leader Robert Mugabe who, according to the family, will now be buried in a month’s time.
Mugabe died aged 95 in Singapore where he had been receiving medical treatment.
His burial place and date have been the subject of an intense dispute between his family and former allies who humiliated him when they forced him out of office November 2017.
Addressing journalists during the second public send-off ceremony held at Rufaro Stadium in Harare Friday, family spokesperson and nephew, Leo Mugabe said the family was not opposed to Mugabe’s burial at the national shrine but favoured a private ceremony.
“What in actual fact will happen on Sunday is that we will have a normal government burial function which normally happens at the Heroes Acre with the 21 Gun Salute and everything that goes with that but we will not do the actual burial,” Mugabe said.
“After that function, we will take his body away.
”Burial will not be done on Sunday. The traditional chiefs and family have asked for some work to be done at the Heroes Acre after which a private burial will follow.
“The private burial will be done as soon as the works to be done at the national shrine are complete. I do not think it will take a bit of time but to play it safe, it might take a week for the private burial.”
Reached much later to clarify what he meant by “works”, for former President’s nephew said Mugabe will in fact, now be buried in a month’s time.
“It’s now actually after a month because the shrine is going to take longer. I can’t give you the details,” he told our news reporter.
President Mnangagwa is keen to appease the spirits of his one-time mentor, whom he overthrew in a bloodless military coup in 2017.
Since his shock ouster, Mugabe did not hide his bitterness for the betrayal.
Mnangagwa has gone to great lengths to try and make amends, taking care of the former leader’s Singapore stay and hospital expenses, even flying Mugabe’s wife on a hired private jet from the Asian country to attend her mother’s funeral sometime this year.
The Zimbabwean leader is also keen to show the world that his coup was, in abstract terms, a well-meaning violation of the national constitution.