Zimbabwe’s founding prime minister, Robert Mugabe, will be buried next to his mother Bona at Kutama Village on Monday or Tuesday, a family spokesman says.
His nephew Leo Mugabe confirmed this to TimesLIVE in a telephone interview on Thursday.
“We are very busy right now but yes he will be buried next to his mother,” he said, adding weight to an AFP report saying the family had snubbed the national Heroes Acre in Harare and opted for private burial at the family homestead.
In a strong worded statement, his other nephew, exiled Patrick Zhuwao, said the family noted with “extreme concern” that government had gone ahead with preparing a funeral programme without consulting them.
He also accused the government of trying to coerce them to give in to its demands.
According to Zhuwao, his uncle demanded that in the event that he died, his widow, Grace should not lose sight of his remains until they are laid to rest.
“One of the wishes that the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe indicated was that his wife, Dr Grace Mugabe, must never leave the casket bearing his remains for the duration of the funeral proceedings whilst in Zimbabwe up until his mortal remains have been entered,” he said in a statement.
A traditionalist, Sekuru Banda, said such customs are practiced in many African families and they help the departed spirit to rest in peace.
Mugabe’s body arrived on Wednesday afternoon from Singapore, where he died last Friday at a private hospital at the age of 95.
His body will lie in state at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Saturday for a public event to which foreign dignitaries have been invited. On Sunday, the body will leave for Kutama village in Zvimba, Mashonaland West.