Relatives of the late former President Robert Mugabe say they have already shared his property following his death in 2019.
In a wide-ranging interview, family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe, said it is surprising that Chief Zvimba, who wants Mugabe’s remains to be exhumed from his homestead and reburied at the National Heroes Acre, says some of the late former president’s belongings have not yet been shared.
“We have already shared (his belongings). We’ve done all that. That’s the other responsibility of a nephew, a muzukuru like me. You get my point? That’s where I come in, and we did it. It’s done. Finished. We don’t call these people, anashe (chiefs), distant people, you only call close relatives. I have some clothes that used to be his, that were shared on that particular function (homestead event after his death).”
Mugabe claims that Chief Zvimba is not aware that all cultural norms were followed in sharing Mugabe’s property, which includes some farms and clothes.
“Immovable (property) … Some of those things were left for his children. So, basically, it’s normal (for that to happen). It’s normal. Movable things, you know clothes and others, you know, they were all shared. We shared all that.”
Mugabe castigated Chief Zvimba who summoned former First Lady, Grace Mugabe, to appear before a local traditional court facing charges of illegally burying the late former president at his homestead instead of a designated place.
Chief Zvimba says he has given the government the green light to exhume Mugabe’s remains and bury them at the National Heroes Acre where a special enclosure was constructed for him.
At the weekend the Karigamombe clan, related to the Mugabes, held a meeting in which they dismissed Chief Zvimba’s order, noting that he was not supposed to summon Mrs. Mugabe to the traditional court.
The family is vowing to take the matter to the highest court in Zimbabwe in order to block the exhumation of Mugabe’s remains.
Leo Mugabe also insists that Chief Zvimba, who fined Mrs. Mugabe five cattle and a goat for allegedly violating local burial culture, failed to follow laid down traditional norms in dealing with such cases.
He said, “… What he is doing is taking somebody who was married in a family, and he is saying now, you the widow, you must pay. You see, he is suing the wrong person, and this person that he is suing, will then say, you know we are going to take the cattle from the deceased’s estate. Who are you punishing? Who are you punishing? The children … Who? People who you did not invite to any hearing, are the ones you are saying, ‘go and pick up the cattle If the cattle were given to the kids, the children, you are now saying go and get the cattle from the children. These children are above 18. They should be cited in many court papers in their own right.”
He said the case will embarrass Zimbabwe.
“I think this whole exercise is an exercise in futility. It will not yield the required results. It will just mess us up as a country, our image and the image of the government and everyone else, because it is not necessary. All this is not necessary.”
Chief Zvimba insists that Mrs. Mugabe should be punished for violating some local traditional rites related to burying people.
She is currently undergoing treatment for an undisclosed illness in Singapore.
Mugabe died of cancer in Singapore after ruling Zimbabwe for almost 40 years.