The Zimbabwean government has announced the final resting date for Robert Mugabe who died last week in Singapore at the age of 95.
The family of the deceased reportedly fixed September 15 for the funeral.
Also, the government and said family had discussions over the location of his final resting place. While the government wants to bury him in the National Heroes’ Acre, the family is reportedly opposed to the idea, arguing that Mugabe had since fallen out with the current regime.
Below are notable activities preceding the funeral:
September 9: Bringing Mugabe’s body home
A family spokesperson confirmed on Monday that a plane left Zimbabwe for Singapore carrying government officials and relatives to bring home the body of Robert Mugabe.
Leo Mugabe, the late president’s nephew and family spokesman, said a charter plane left Harare for Singapore just after 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday.
Mugabe’s body was expected to arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), Leo Mugabe told Reuters.
September 8: Burial program announced
Zimbabwe’s presidency announced on Sunday that the country’s former president, Robert Mugabe is scheduled to be buried on Sunday, September 15, in a location yet to be determined.
“His remains are expected on Wednesday afternoon (in Zimbabwe). The official funeral is scheduled for Saturday, his funeral will take place on Sunday (next),” President George Charamba told AFP, adding that the place of his funeral would be determined by his family.
Since his death, discussions between his family and the government about how to organize his funeral have been taking place.
Mugabe’s family is pushing back against the government’s plan to bury him at the National Heroes Acre monument in Harare and wants him to be interred in his home village, relatives have told Reuters.
When pressed on where Mugabe would be buried, Leo Mugabe was non-committal.
“Mugabe was a chief and he will be buried in accordance with tradition. The chiefs have not told us where he will be buried, so it is not clear yet. I also don’t know,” he said.
In some parts of Zimbabwe, burials of chiefs are a secret affair and people are only told the resting place afterwards.
Mugabe’s resting place has been a topic of discussion since the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported last month that Mugabe would snub the offer of a burial at National Heroes Acre – a site reserved for the country’s heroes – because he felt bitter about the way he was removed from power.
The Zimbabwean government said in a memo sent to embassies that it planned to hold a state funeral for Mugabe in the National Sports Stadium on Saturday, with a burial ceremony on Sunday, but it did not say where the burial would be.
If Mugabe is buried in Kutama village, 85 km (50 miles) from Harare, it would be a major rebuke for his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and the ruling ZANU-PF party that Mugabe helped to found.
September 6: National hero
Zimbabwe declared Robert Mugabe a national hero on Friday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, and the country would be in national mourning until the former leader was buried.
Tributes and reactions
Revered by many as a liberator who freed his people from white minority rule, Mugabe was vilified by others for wrecking one of Africa’s most promising economies and ruthlessly crushing his opponents.
Most residents in downtown Harare said on Saturday that they were saddened by Mugabe’s death since he was their liberator and had broadened access to education.
“Even now we have livestock we keep in the rural areas because of him, so it’s painful to lose our father, our grandfather who helped us to learn and go to school,” said Tongai Huni, a fruit vendor.
Others expressed anger that Mugabe had left the economy in a sorry state, with hyperinflation and mass unemployment.
“We are just trying to deal with … the harm that he did,” said Margaret Shumba, another Harare resident.