A Zimbabwean chief, who was spearheading the reburial of the late former President Robert Mugabe’s remains, has succumbed to COVID-19 with some of his subjects claiming that the Mugabe ancestral spirits were angered by calls for the exhumation of his body from the family homestead in Zvimba communal lands.
Chief Beperere, born Alfred Tome, was laid to rest Wednesday at Chepstow Farm in Raffingora.
Deputy Minister of Local Government Marian Chombo paid tribute to Chief Beperere describing him as a “peace loving, unifier”, who wanted people to utilize land parceled out during the land reform program in the early 2000.
Deputy Minister Chombo said Chief Beperere was admitted at a Harare hospital for only two days after developing COVID-19 complications.
"Zvimba community is in a shock after the chief passed on. He was ill for only two days ... We have lost a people's chief who wanted all his subjects to be united despite political affiliation and encouraged new farmers to utilize land allocated to them under the land reform program," said Chombo.
But Chief Beperere was hated by the the late former president’s family for backing Chief Zvimba’s judgement that Mugabe’s remains be exhumed and be reburied in Harare.
The Mugabe's have since appealed against the chiefs judgement.
Mugabe family member, Dominic Matibiri, didn't have kind words for the other remaining chiefs - Chief Zvimba, Chief Seremani and Chief Chidziva - who presided over the matter saying they will die one after the other as the avenging spirit strikes back.
“As Mugabe family we will not mourn Chief Beperere with others because we feel that he was punished by the avenging spirit for taking part in the exhumation calls. Chief Beperere was Mugabe's chief and should have presided over the matter but decided to trick us by taking the matter to Chief Zvimba .. This is a great anomaly,” said Matibiri.
The late former president 's nephew, Leo Mugabe, concurred, saying Chief Beperere played double standards as he connived with Chief Zvimba in an area he had sole jurisdiction over.
“Chief Beperere was our chief but he decided to play hard on us and rope in an outsider Chief Zvimba to announce the skewed judgement,” charged Leo Mugabe.
Former First Lady Grace Mugabe was ordered to pay some goats and cattle for burying Mugabe at his homestead instead of a family place designated by elders.