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Mugabe body being flown to Zimbabwe, burial place undecided

12 September 2019

A vehicle believed to be carrying the body of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has left a Singapore funeral parlour, with the remains to be returned to his homeland for a state funeral.

Mugabe's family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government are apparently at odds over whether it would be at his homestead northwest of Harare or at a shrine for liberation heroes in the capital. File picture: AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi.

"I don't yet know whether he will be buried at home, at the village or what", Leo Mugabe, the former president's eldest nephew, told the Telegraph on Wednesday.

The book of condolences will be available at the Zimbabwe embassy in Pretoria and the country's two consulates in Johannesburg and in Cape Town.

Mugabe's body being taken to the airport in Singapore, where he died last week. The outspoken former president ruled the southern African nation for 37 years until he was ousted in November 2017.

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"No one in the Mugabe family has the right to decide who attends; they are too small for that, not at this juncture".

Responding to questions from the media, Mutsvangwa said government officials have been attending committees on the issue of Mugabe's burial.

Since his death, discussions between his family and the government about how to organize his funeral have been taking place.

Mugabe, who died at 95 in a Singapore hospital on Friday, was a guerrilla leader who led the fight to end white-minority rule in what was then Rhodesia, and ruled Zimbabwe from its independence in 1980 until he was deposed in 2017.

When pressed on where Mugabe would be buried, Leo Mugabe was non-committal.

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His burial at Heroe's Acre is still being contested.

The official funeral is scheduled to be held on Saturday at the 60,000-seater National Sports Stadium in Harare and foreign leaders are expected to attend. The chiefs have not told us where he will be buried, so it is not clear yet.

"I will always remember the huge, enormous contribution he made not only to the people of Zimbabwe but to the people of Africa", he said.

This while members of ruling Zanu-PF sang songs in honour of the late statesman. "When you go through an experience of that sort, of course you feel pain", Molai said. He had dominated Zimbabwean politics for nearly four decades from independence in 1980 until he was removed by his own army in a November 2017 coup.

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Mugabe body being flown to Zimbabwe, burial place undecided