Robert Mugabe family’s fury at funeral plans

Pall bearers carry the casket of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as it arrives at his former Blue Roof residence in Harare

Pall bearers carry the casket of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as it arrives at his former Blue Roof residence in Harare

Grace Mugabe wept by her husband's coffin today after the body of Zimbabwe's former dictator was returned to his home in Harare - with his family apparently gaining the upper hand in a row about his funeral.

"One of the wishes that the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe indicated was that his wife, Dr Grace Mugabe, MUST NEVER leave the casket bearing his remains for the duration of the funeral proceedings whilst in Zimbabwe up until his mortal remains have been interred". His body was flown back from Singapore on Wednesday.

While consultations between Government and the Mugabe Family on the burial arrangements continue, the Media are advised to be particularly wary of false material circulating in the social media on the same, and as far as possible to rely on authentic communication from Government, its designated officials, and from authorized spokesperson (s) of the Mugabe Family.

Leo Mugabe, the late president's nephew, told Reuters the burial ceremony would be private, without saying where it would be.

The body was later taken to Mugabe's Harare villa, known as the Blue Roof for its blue pagoda-style structure, where family and supporters gathered to mourn.

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Mugabe, whose rule ended in a military coup in 2017, died last week aged 95.

His relatives and Emmerson Mnangagwa's government are apparently at odds over whether it would be at his family home in Zvimba, northwest of Harare, or at a shrine for liberation heroes in the capital.

Mugabe's body will lie in state today at Rufaro Stadium where members of the public will have a chance to pay their last respects.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, they said that the late former statesman had communicated his wishes.

Ibbo Mandaza, a political analyst who is writing a biography of Mugabe, said Mnangagwa was trying to avoid the possibility of a situation where heads of state and opposition rival Nelson Chamisa would attend a burial service in Mugabe's home district to which he was not invited.

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