In Summary
  • Mugabe's nephew said earlier Sunday that a delegation was expected to leave Zimbabwe on Monday to collect the hero-turned-despot's body from Singapore.
  • Once praised as a liberator who rid Zimbabwe of white minority rule, Mugabe soon turned to repression and fear to govern.

Harare,
Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe is expected to be buried next weekend after his body is returned from Singapore where he died two days ago, a presidential spokesman said on Sunday.

Mugabe, a guerrilla leader who swept to power after Zimbabwe's independence from Britain and went on to rule for 37 years until he was ousted in 2017, died on Friday, aged 95.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba told AFP by text message that his body should arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, with an official funeral on Saturday and the burial the following day.

But the location of the burial was unclear, with Mugabe's family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government apparently at odds over whether it would be at his homestead northwest of Harare or at a shrine for liberation heroes in the capital.

TOPPLED

Mugabe's nephew said earlier Sunday that a delegation was expected to leave Zimbabwe on Monday to collect the hero-turned-despot's body from Singapore.

His health deteriorated after he was toppled by the military in November 2017, ending his increasingly tyrannical rule. He had been travelling to Singapore for treatment since April.

"I can't give an authoritative day, all I know is people are leaving tomorrow Monday to go and pick up the body," the nephew Leo Mugabe told AFP.

"So assuming they get there on Tuesday and the body is ready, logically you would think they should land here on Wednesday," he said, adding that a list of accompanying family members was being finalised.

LIBERATOR

Once praised as a liberator who rid Zimbabwe of white minority rule, Mugabe soon turned to repression and fear to govern.

He is widely remembered for brutally crushing political dissent and ruining the economy through mismanagement, prompting mixed reactions to his passing.
At Sacred Heart Cathedral, Mugabe's parish in the capital Harare, the priest encouraged congregants to pray for their founding leader.

"I know some of us may have different feelings about it, but it's our duty to pray for one another," Father Justin Jagaja told AFP.

Mnangagwa declared a period of national mourning on Friday, without elaborating.
Mugabe's family and Mnangagwa appear to disagree on whether he will be buried in his rural homestead Zvimba, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) away, in a ceremony involving local chiefs, or at the National Heroes Acre -- a hilltop shrine in Harare commemorating guerrillas killed during the liberation struggle.

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