Mugabe's body leaves Singapore funeral parlour

Mugabe a'broken soul in final years after Zimbabwe ouster

Mugabe a'broken soul in final years after Zimbabwe ouster

The fight over where he will be buried is threatening to embarrass his successor as president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and deepen divisions in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

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.

His body arrived at Harare's Robert Gabriel Mugabe global airport shortly after 1330 GMT.

On Thursday and Friday the body will lie in state at Rufaro Stadium in Mbare township in Harare - where Mugabe took his oath of office - for the public to pay their final respects. The chiefs have not told us where he will be buried, so it is not clear yet.

Mugabe's wife, Grace, and the Zimbabwean vice-president Kembo Mohadi were among those accompanying the body on the plane, according to Leo Mugabe, a nephew and family spokesman.

A vehicle believed to be carrying the body of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has left a Singapore funeral parlour, with the remains to be returned to his homeland for a state funeral.

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Musicians sang songs and beat drums as family members and associates filed into the ornate pagoda-style main building.

Mnangagwa "has been looking after the president, paying all the bills, sending the charter flight, inviting all the foreign dignitaries - I think he has been extra good", Leo Mugabe said.

The coffin was accompanied by Grace Mugabe, the president's widow, who had been living in Singapore with her husband since April. Within months Mugabe was elected president and sworn in as the leader of the new nation of Zimbabwe. These include former Cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwao and others who fled persecution. She added all the issues will be resolved by Sunday the date on which the former President is set to be buried. "The Delegation pledged full support to government arrangements and programmes which are being drawn up and executed in close consultation with the family of the late departed", he said.

Mnangagwa said the body will be taken to nearby military barracks for prayers before going Wednesday evening to the family's home in the posh Borrowdale suburb. Robert Mugabe was called everything from a liberator to a tyrant.

But some of Mugabe's relatives - who share his bitterness at the way former allies, including Mnangagwa, conspired to topple him - want him buried in his home village in Kutama, 85 kilometres from the capital.

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