A relative of the late former President Robert Mugabe says a traditional leader, who wants his remains to be exhumed and reburied at the National Heroes Acre, boycotted the funeral in Zvimba communal lands in 2019 as he was pushing for the burial to be conducted at a mausoleum set up at the shrine.
In an exclusive interview, Mugabe’s nephew, Leo Mugabe, said Chief Zvimba was among several people who wanted the late Zimbabwean leader to be laid to rest at the heroes’ acre.
“They (Zvimba and others) were the ones who were pushing for the Heroes Acre. You see! They are the ones that were pushing for the Heroes Acre, and the immediate family was saying ‘no we must follow the late president’s wish’. You can not bury him at the Heroes Acre against his wish. So that is where it originates from. At the actual funeral, Chief Zvimba did not attend. He did not attend. So he wants to be relevant, to be seen to be attending the one that he had wanted to happen.”
Mugabe claimed that Zvimba clashed with former First Lady, who he recently fined five cattle and a goat, before the late Zimbabwean ruler was buried at his homestead in Kutama.
He said, “They (Mrs. Mugabe and Chief Zvimba) did not see eye to eye during the funeral.”
The first lady is currently in Singapore where she is receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
“She is not in the country. She's out of the country and I understand she is not well also ... This case should have gone to the kraal head first, you know ... It’s like, you send a case to the Supreme Court at the first instance, and after the Supreme Court you don’t go anywhere. Let’s follow the hierarchy of the courts. They should have gone to a kraal head, then to a headman, then to Chief Peperere. That would have been the right thing to do.
“They didn’t do that. The chief is, even if he was the right chief to handle this matter, his judgment was not going to be final. There’s still the magistrate’s court, the High Court, and the Supreme Court. If it’s a constitutional matter, which I think it is, because he has got no jurisdiction over it, we will go to the Constitutional Court.”
Chief Zvimba was unavailable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.
In his village judgment, he said, Mrs. Mugabe had no right to lay to rest the late president at his homestead. He gave the government permission to exhume his body and rebury it at the National Heroes Acre.
Government gave in to the family’s demands to bury him at the homestead instead of the national shrine.
Mugabe said they are ready to block any moves by the government to exhume his remains.
“We are ready to take him on. I think this whole exercise is an exercise in futility. It will not yield the required results. It will just mess us up us as a country, our image and the image of the government and everyone else, because it is not necessary. All this is not necessary.”