The body of Zimbabwe’s founding father and national hero, Cde Robert Mugabe, who died last Friday, is expected in the country on Wednesday.
Deputy Chief Secretary – Presidential Communications, Mr George Charamba, confirmed the development to the Sunday Mail, pouring cold water on claims of differences between government and the family on where the former President would be buried.
“It is the time line that we are working with, but subject to confirmation with the leadership. The major decisions will be taken this Sunday (today) in the context of the proposed programme,” said Mr Charamba, adding that there is no animosity between the two parties.
Mugabe family spokesperson Mr Leo Mugabe told the media on Saturday that family members will be part of a team that includes government officials that will leave the country either today or Monday to help repatriate the body of the late national hero.
Emerging from a meeting with traditional leaders from the Gushungo clan in Zvimba this Saturday, Leo said chiefs are fully involved in the preparations for Cde Mugabe’s burial, since he was a chief in the Gushungo clan.
“Overall, the people who will make decisions will be the Zvimba chiefs who are gathered now (Saturday),” he said.
He quashed media reports that the former President had refused to be buried at the National Heroes Acre.
“I saw the WhatsApp message to that effect, but we don’t know where the information originated from. I know there are people who create these stories so that they make comments for themselves, but that is not the official position of the family,” former President Mugabe’s nephew said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Mugabe and Marufu family members and chiefs from Zvimba are expected to receive the body at the Robert Mugabe International Airport before it is taken to Cde Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba.
A proper funeral programme is yet to be announced, but there are indications that the former President’s body would be placed in the giant National Sports Stadium, where mourners from all the country’s provinces would have an opportunity to pay their last respects.