Zimbabwe’s founding president and longtime ruler Robert Mugabe is expected to be buried today Saturday, a family spokesman has said.
The announcement came on Friday following three weeks of drama over the former leader’s final resting place.
Security has been tight around Mr. Mugabe’s rural home, which now will be the burial site after an abrupt change of plans left the authorities with an incomplete mausoleum on a hilltop in the capital, Harare.
Family spokesman Leo Mugabe confirmed the new plan, a day after the ZANU-PF government said it would comply with the family’s latest wishes. There had been mounting tensions between the family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, aformer ally of Mr. Mugabe’s, who helped remove him from power in late 2017.
The family has always wanted the rural site for their kinsman’s final resting place, but agreed on a burial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare — only after the construction of a mausoleum that would set the former president apart from the rest. The National Heroes Acre is reserved mainly for independence war and ruling party elite, and the government had wanted the remains of the country’s longtime leader to be buried there among former comrades.
Mr. Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for thirty-seven years, died this month in Singapore at age ninety-five.
After leading a bitter guerrilla war to end white-minority rule in the former Rhodesia, Mr. Mugabe became the first leader of the Southern African country in April, 1980, and remained in power until he was ousted by the military and the ruling party two years ago.
His critics accuse him of taking Zimbabwe from years of prosperity to economic ruin and repression.