By John Cassim
Harare, Zimbabwe (AA) – Following weeks of squabbles between the government and his family, former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was finally laid to rest in his homestead on Saturday, reportedly in line with his wishes.
Nearly 200 close relatives, Catholic Church members, and traditional leaders from Zvimba, 80 kilometers west of the capital Harare, attended the private burial ceremony.
“We are happy the burial has finally been conducted here at the Mugabe homestead, as this was the late Robert Mugabe’s last wish,” said Shuvai Gumbochuma, the elder sister of former first lady Grace Mugabe.
“Our brother in-law told us before he died that he was ridiculed by his successor and as such he longer wanted to be associated with the current government.”
She added that despite the row with the government, “we thought we would see thousands of people, trucks and busloads, coming for the burial.
“We thought the government was going to bury him like a hero but that was not to be.”
The former strongman leader, who died on Sept. 6 in a Singapore hospital, was supposed to be buried in a mausoleum in Harare at the National Heroes Acre, after the government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared him a liberation hero.
The mausoleum is under construction but on Thursday, the Mugabe family made a decision to bury him in Zvimba, a move that surprised many Zimbabweans.
“I was very surprised when the idea came that he would be separated from the rest of other liberation war heroes,” Professor Lovemore Madhuku, a renowned law lecturer, told Channel Africa at the burial ceremony.
Even laid to rest, the controversial leader of three decades casts a long shadow, with an economically struggling Zimbabwe still reeling from Mugabe's legacy.