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Zimbabwe's Mugabe to Lie In State At 2 Different Stadiums

A coffin carrying the body of Zimbabwe's former ruler Robert Mugabe arrives from Singapore, at the RG Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Kenya. Wednesday Sept. 11, 2019. T

The body of the late former president Robert Mugabe is now in Harare at the family's mansion, the Blue Roof, where it will lie in state and then ferried Thursday to Rufaro Stadium.

Speaking at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Wednesday where he received the body, which was accompanied by former first lady Grace Mugabe, Vice President Kembo Mohadi and several other people, President Emmerson Mnangagwa did not say where and when Mugabe will be buried.

Indications are that some family members want the former president, who was toppled in a defacto military coup by Mnangagwa, to be laid to rest in Zvimba communal lands, Mashonaland West province.

Mugabe, an ex-guerrilla chief who took power in 1980 when the African country shook off white minority rule and ruled for decades, died on Friday at a hospital in Singapore. He was 95.

In a statement on Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the late Mugabe would be buried on Sunday but she did not say where he will be laid to rest, noting that updates will be provided “as more information on the program trickles in.”

Presidential spokesman George Charamba and deputy information minister Energy Mutodi at the weekend said the former authoritarian ruler would be buried at the National Heroes' Acre, a monumental burial site reserved for people viewed by the ruling ZANU-PF party as having served the country with distinction during and after the 1970s war of independence.

Mugabe's first wife, Sally, is buried at Heroes' Acre and a vacant plot reserved for the former president is next to her grave.

Family spokesman Leo Mugabe, a nephew of the former president, said burial arrangements have not yet been finalized. This has prompted speculation of a rift between the government and members of Mugabe's family, who want him to be buried at his rural home in Kutama, about 85 kilometers (52 miles) southwest of Harare.

Leo Mugabe told reporters last Saturday that Mugabe had died “a very bitter man” because he felt betrayed by the former political and military leaders who were his allies for close to four decades before they forced him to resign in November, 2017.

He dismissed reports that Mugabe had refused to be buried at the Heroes' Acre, but also refused to say where the burial will take place.