By Robert Tapfumaneyi
A somber atmosphere gripped former president Robert Mugabe’s rural village of Zvimba when news of his death filtered through in the early hours Friday.
At Murombedzi Growth Point national flags at local council offices and some other business building had already been lowered to half-mast in respect of their hero even before government declared an indefinite period of mourning.
Traditionally locals wait for Zanu PF’s highest decision-making body the politburo to declare one’s hero status followed by the norm of lowering the national flag.
The debate among the villagers was whether the former strong man and ex-President and ruling party Zanu PF leader was going to be buried at the national heroes acre in Harare.
There have been reports that Mugabe in his last days told close family members that he did not want to be laid to rest at the national shrine.
Some villagers thought Mugabe would be better if buried at his family graveyard.
“He must be buried next to his late mother Bona Mugabe as per his wish,” Regis Kandemiri told NewZimbabwe.com.
“They tormented him until his death, so why now claim his body.”
Mugabe was forced out of power in November 2017 by a military coup that installed President Emmerson Mnangagwa who had been fired only two weeks earlier.
Another villager Claris said the late Mugabe remains a hero.
“He had his own weakness like anyone else, 38 years in power he could not have managed to please everyone. For us here he remains our icon and son of the soil,” she said.
“However his wishes must be respected and we must be allowed to bury our hero here in Zvimba village.”
When this publication visited Mugabe’s homestead family elders were gathered on the lash green lawn discussing funeral arrangements with the security guard manning the gate saying the burial will be announced later after the gathering.
Mugabe died Friday morning in Singapore where he has been receiving treatment since April.