Body of Robert Mugabe Arrives in Harare Ahead of Funeral


The body of Robert Mugabe, founder and former president of Zimbabwe, has arrived in capital Harare but his final resting place remains a mystery amid dispute between some family members and the government. Thousands of people gathered to watch as the plane carrying dictator's remains landed at Harare's global airport, which bears his name, early in the afternoon.

Mugabe died on a medical trip to Singapore, where he had been travelling regularly for treatment.

On Thursday, ordinary Zimbabweans and supporters are expected to pay their last respects to Mugabe at a Harare soccer stadium, where the body will lie in state before being taken to his rural home in Kutama, 85 km (52 miles) from the capital, the family spokesman said.

Speaking during a post cabinet press briefing Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Mugabe's body will arrive in the country on Wednesday afternoon and the details of his burial will be advised in due course.

He will be buried on Sunday after a state funeral on Saturday.

President Mnangagwa on Tesday met with chiefs from Zvimba, elders and members of the Mugabe family, led by Chief Zvimba, regarding burial arrangements of former President Robert Mugabe.

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Wednesday's subdued airport gathering was a far cry from the tumultuous crowd of 100,000 that swarmed the airport in January 1980 to welcome Mugabe back after years in exile.

The group, who included Vice President Kembo Mohadi, attended a private Catholic mass for Mugabe at the funeral parlor where his body is, officiated by a Zimbabwean priest.

On Tuesday, a government minister said the burial was planned for Sunday, a day after the state funeral.

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. Family spokesperson Leo Mugabe was not picking calls yesterday.

"He died a very bitter man".

His wife, Grace, wearing a black veil, sat with President Emmerson Mnangagwa. "Even a witch or wizard is mourned by everyone who cares to grieve with the bereaved family". "Now reports that we hear that some elements are instigating that certain individuals should be barred from attending the funeral of our late former President, if they are indeed true, are a direct attack on individuals and an indirect attack on President Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF and the war veterans". Added Muoni: "We are praying that his soul rest in peace".