PICS | Robert Mugabe buried at rural village in low-key ceremony with no senior govt officials
London, Sep 28, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The body of Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe was buried on Saturday in his rural village of Kutama, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
The family of Mugabe gathered in his rural homestead, three weeks after his death, to attend a much-awaited burial ceremony.
Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital on September 6, aged 95, almost two years after a military coup ended his despotic 37-year rule.
His remains will be laid to rest in the courtyard of his home in the district of Zvimba, about 90 kilometres west of the capital Harare.
Hundreds of mourners assembled for the low-key event, which was initially intended to be a private family ceremony.
Many wore white Mugabe-emblazoned T-shirts with the slogans “founding father”, “liberator” and “torch bearer”.
Some were singing and dancing. Others sat quietly under two white tents set up for the occasion.
Mugabe’s widow Grace and his children accompanied the casket – drapped in Zimbabwe’s green, yellow, red and black flag.
The coffin of former president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe arrives for his burial at his home village in Kutama, on 28 September 2019. (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)
Former first lady Grace Mugabe looks on as she walks behind Robert Mugabe coffin during the burial of the former Zimbabwe leader. (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)
Clad in black, they took place in an elevated VIP tent ahead of the service.
White flower installations spelt out the words “DAD” and “BABA”, meaning “father” in the local Shona language.
“Our hearts are bleeding because we have lost our father,” said the priest, standing next to a portrait of Mugabe framed by white carnations.
“This is a man who made use of the gifts he was given by God. This man was an asset, he was not a liability.”
A priest walks past a portrait of Robert Mugabe during the burial of the former Zimbabwe leader at his home village in Kutama, on September 28, 2019. (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)
No senior government officials were among the audience.
The Mugabe family opted to bury Zimbabwe’s founding father in Kutama after weeks of wrangling with the government, who wanted the body to rest at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
A mausoleum was being constructed at the site, which is reserved for heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
“What we have done is his wish,” said Grace’s older sister Shuvai Gumbochuma, addressing mourners in Shona.
… he didn’t want to be buried at the heroes acre
“He (Mugabe) said with his own mouth that he didn’t want to be buried at the heroes acre.”
Ruling ZANU-PF party described the family’s decision as “most unfortunate”.
“All patriotic Zimbabweans were shocked to learn that the remains of the former president had been surreptitiously taken yesterday to Zvimba for a private burial,” said spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo in a statement on Friday.