The ruling Zanu PF party has described as “unfortunate”, the burial of former President Robert Mugabe in his rural Kutama village, Mashonaland West province, saying it is surprised that the family abandoned a mausoleum, which was being constructed for him at the National Heroes Acre.
In a statement signed by party information secretary, Simon Khaya Moyo, Zanu PF said the burial on Saturday was done when the government and Mugabes had reached an agreement to lay him to rest at the national shrine.
“… This comes after intensive negotiations between the government led by H.E Cde E.D Mnangagwa and the Mugabe family including chiefs from Zvimba and all concerned whereupon it was agreed that his remains be interred at the National Heroes Acre. The state was building a special mausoleum at the site which was approved by his family.
“All will remember that the Zanu PF Politburo declared the former president a national hero soon after his death. With the construction of the mausoleum progressing within the defined timeframe, all patriotic Zimbabweans were shocked to learn that the remains of the former president had been surreptiously taken yesterday to Zvimba for a private burial on Saturday 28 September 2019.”
Zanu PF said it respected the wishes of families of deceased heroes “hence get saddened when maneuvers that border on political gimmicks begin to unfold on an issue concerning an illustrious liberation icon.”
The party said the Mugabe family belittled the former president by allegedly toying around with the border of the man who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years.
“The former late president was the founding father of this nation and trivializing his remains by scandalously throwing it from pillar to post, particularly after an amicable agreement has been reached with the family that his remains will be interred at the national shrine is belittling the late revolutionary icon.”
The party noted that President Mnangagwa tried to give the late Mugabe a decent burial.
“He invited presidents, former presidents in the region and beyond to come to bid farewell to their late colleague at a decent funeral ceremony conducted at the National Sports Stadium. They came in their numbers. It must be remembered that ordinary Zimbabweans who adored him so much had the opportunity to bid their late gallant leader at Rufaro Stadium with aplomb.”
Indications are that Mugabe wanted to be laid to rest at the family gravesite where his mother, Bona Mugabe, was laid to rest, almost 20 years ago.
Family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe, was unavailable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.