- "This man lives forever," intoned the priest who conducted the private funeral ceremony.
- Notably, some of Mugabe's former longtime allies, like the nation's current president, Emerson Mnangagwa, did not attend.
- "In line with the Government's policy of respecting the wishes of the families of national heroes, the Government is cooperating with the Mugabe family," said the statement issued by the country's Ministry of Information.
The body of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s former president, was finally buried yesterday in Zvimba, his rural home village. This came after weeks of wrangling between the former leader’s family and the government over his burial place. The government wanted Mugabe buried at the monument reserved for the nation’s heroes, but his family preferred a private ceremony in the former president’s rural home, arguing that was his will.
“This man lives forever,” intoned the priest who conducted the private funeral ceremony. The burial ceremony was performed without the presence of the masses, contrary to the custom of African funerals, which are traditionally open to all who wish to honor the dead. “This is a man who made use of the gifts he was given by God,” said the priest. “This man was an asset. He was not a liability,” he added.
Mugabe’s coffin was wrapped in a Zimbabwean flag and was carried by the military from a tent. Also on display was a picture of the former leader with a raised fist, the traditional gesture of resistance, and floral wordings that read “Baba,” meaning father in the local dialect. Notably, some of Mugabe’s former longtime allies, like the nation’s current president, Emerson Mnangagwa, did not attend. According to an AP news report, several of Mugabe’s party leaders were not present at the burial ceremony either. Only previously approved guests were allowed to witness the private ceremony.
“This gathering is a paradox,” the priest told the gathering. “We are mourning at the same time we are celebrating because this man lived his life in a manner that many of us would want to emulate.” Moments later, while standing besides the coffin, he prayed, “God, take pity on him. Don’t judge him harshly.”
Days ago, the Zimbabwean government had announced that the former leader, who died on September 6, would be buried at the national monument. Apparently, they gave up, however, and chose to respect the family’s wish that he be laid to rest at his rural home.
“The family of the late former President RG [Robert Gabriel] Mugabe expressed his wish to move forward with his burial in Zvimba [Western Mashonaland Province]. In line with the Government’s policy of respecting the wishes of the families of national heroes, the Government is cooperating with the Mugabe family,” said the statement issued by the country’s Ministry of Information.
“The Government will mobilize all the support needed to give the late former President an appropriate family-led burial,” the statement added. Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years, is considered by many to be a national hero, despite decades of his bad governance that plunged the country into severe economic hardships, and reports of abuses of power and human rights violations.