The Mugabe family has pulled a fast one on Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF, going ahead with plans to bury the late former head of state Robert Mugabe in his rural home area of Zvimba on Saturday.
The development comes at a time when Mnangagwa was in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly.
Government had already begun work on a mausoleum at the national shrine, Heroes Acre, in Harare.
It was provisionally agreed the mausoleum would be Mugabe’s final resting place after weeks of antagonism between government and his family.
Family spokesman Leo Mugabe told TimesLIVE that there was a sudden change of plans.
“He will be laid to rest on Saturday at Kutama Mission. There was a sudden change of plans by the elders so we are now moving ahead with the new arrangement,” he said.
This week during a closed door meeting with EFF leader Julius Malema in Harare, the Mugabes told the South African opposition leader that government was interfering with their plans.
It was also reported that Mugabe’s wife, Grace, chased the Zvimba chiefs from her “Blue Roof” home because they had sided with the government’s plan to take charge of the burial arrangements.
Late on Thursday afternoon Mugabe’s body left for Kutama village in Zvimba. Sources said there was a brief impasse as government officials tried to stop the travelling party.
During his time, Mugabe buried former colleagues from the liberation struggle at Heroes Acre. Those that crossed his path were regarded as sell-outs and when they died were not buried there.
At the national shrine, vintage Mugabe also took time to chide political rivals and for years, the opposition spoke out against the manner in which national heroes were selected.
After being ousted in a military coup, time and again war veterans and the emerging Zanu PF leadership called Mugabe a sell-out who didn’t deserve to be buried at the national heroes’ acre.
They even attempted to rename the Robert Mugabe International Airport because they felt he was no longer one of theirs.
But signs of Mugabe’s own snub showed when he didn’t attend national events at the shrine after the coup, particularly on Heroes’ Day when he would traditionally lay flowers at his late first wife Sarah’s grave and that of his sister Sabina.
Little did they know that in death they would stampede to honour him while he was bent on giving them their wish – a no-show at the Heroes’ Acre.