Having ruled the Southern African nation for 37 years, until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, Mugabe’s legacy continues to divide opinions at home and abroad.
The government and his family also reportedly involved in 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.
MDC suspends celebrations
The MDC said in a statement on Wednesday that it had postponed its 20th anniversary rally because of Mugabe’s funeral.
It said: “Notwithstanding our legendary differences with Mr. Mugabe, we have no reason to exhibit barbarity by hosting a national festivity during his funeral.”
Mugabe left behind an economy wrecked by hyperinflation and deeply entrenched corruption, and a raging political rivalry between ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC.
September 11: Mugabe’s body arrives in Zimbabwe
Former president Robert Mugabe’s body arrived at the country’s main airport on Wednesday, but his final resting place remained a source of mystery amid a dispute between some family members and the government.
The former president’s body arrived at Harare’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport shortly after 1330 GMT, a Reuters witness said.
Crowds had gathered at the airport well before the scheduled arrival time, with some people wearing T-shirts bearing Mugabe’s face and others with Mnangagwa’s image, while music blared from loudspeakers.
A convoy of 4×4 vehicles with number plates bearing the letters “RG Mugabe” and the former leader’s signature were also on the runway.
Mugabe’s wife Grace and Zimbabwean Vice President Kembo Mohadi were among those accompanying the body of the former leader on the plane, Leo Mugabe, a nephew and family spokesman, said. Mnangagwa, top officials and other Mugabe family members were at the airport to receive the body.
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.