Mutharika leaves for Mugabe funeral on Saturday: Family say only close relatives to attend burial

President Peter Mutharika is this Saturday expected to leave the country for Zimbabwe to attend the state funeral service of that country’s former president Robert Mugabe as his family says he will be buried at his village  Zvimba district, about 60 miles (95km) north-west of the capital, Harare,  against authorities’ wishes.

Late former president Mugabe (left) and President Mutharika 
Zimbabwe’s former first lady Grace Mugabe at the Mugabe residency in Harare
Mugabe’s coffin at his Blue Roof residency in Harare

The ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation says Mutharika will leave through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.

However, the statement does not say what time the President leaves the country and when he is expected back.

Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani said in an interview the Office of the President and Cabinet will release a detailed itinery of the President’s trip in due course.

This ends days of speculation that Mutharika might not attend the funeral ceremony because of the prevailing political impasse in the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa is sending his minister of Foreign Affairs to the funeral, saying he wanted to deal with domestic problems.

The ruling Zanu-PF party announced that Mugabe’s remains would be interred at a hilltop monument outside Harare on Sunday, after a ceremony at the nearby national stadium on Saturday, where dozens of prominent African leaders would be present.

However, friends and allies of Mugabe’s wife, Grace, have said he made clear he would prefer to be buried in Zvimba with only close relatives in attendance. They said Mugabe did not want his death to be exploited by his successors for political gain.

A meeting on Thursday between Mugabe’s family and officials at his home in Harare ended without agreement.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe as president, said he had appealed to the family to set aside any bitterness. They are reportedly unhappy about his treatment of the former leader.

“Let bygones be bygones. The family is going to lead the programme, that’s why we haven’t released anything. We haven’t agreed how he will be buried,” Mnangagwa said.

He said: “We will have to sit down first with Grace. As government there’s nothing we will do to go against your wishes. Let’s unite, he was our father.”

Mugabe died in a clinic in Singapore last week, aged 95. His body arrived on Wednesday, on a government-chartered private jet, at Zimbabwe’s main airport, where thousands of supporters had gathered.

On Thursday his casket was taken to Rufaro football stadium in Harare, where thousands packed the stands to see him lie in state. Several people were injured in a crush as they surged forward to try to view the casket, with some carried away on stretchers.

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Winston Msowoya
Winston Msowoya
2 years ago

MATHANYULA,you are told that only relatives of the tyrant and corrupt Mugabe,are welcome to the funeral why can ‘t you listen?In fact,you are isolated from many of the so-called leaders because you are a guff. And some do fear the way how you lifts hands and that you do not speak well what a President in fact he is isolated by many leaders of Africa and across Africa.Why can’t you go back to the US where you belong? You thief and a big tribalistic moron.

Winston Msowoya
Winston Msowoya
2 years ago

Now Mathanyula goes to Zimbabwe for Mugabe’s funeral as if he new him personally.Yes,Mugabe was a brutal tyrant and notorious tribalistic that led to the wanton deaths of thousands of Ndebele from the Matebeland who fought the white forces with unwavering determination despite the fact that they were in minority.Mugabe’s own forces from the Shona clan did not fight courageously as ZIPLA of Nkomo did,but to day,Ndebeles are victimized by the Shona corrupt and tribalistic ZANU PF no diffirence from the MCP and DPP of the Mathanyula clan.Yes,Mugabe was a deadly killer of the Ndebele minority as Malawi’s Central and… Read more »

Ngwazi
2 years ago

Its normal for the family of Mugabe to be bitter considering the ill treatment they got during the shifting of power. It is normal for a bitter persons to act the way Grace and his confidants are refusing burial at the Heroes acre. What is not normal and a great weakness is for the current President Mnangagwa not to be decisive and declare Mugabe’s burial at the Heroes acre since up till his death Mugabe was a public figure deserving a state burial. Mnangagwa should have taken control regardless!

Kalekeni Kanene
Kalekeni Kanene
2 years ago

We buried our Kamuzu in Lilongwe City. Accessible to all people who wish to visit the grave. If Mugabe chose to be buried at his home village let them (family) do so. Few people will miss him as he has destroyed the country to pieces.

Gonam
Gonam
2 years ago

You burried kamuzu there, Bingu paid him respect by constructing the Musoleum, Chakwera, Mtambo, Chilima then going there kukaononganso mandawo. Power of unholly nyau spirits

King's-son@265
2 years ago

Our president should also go to Singapore after Zimbabwe visit.

Sahara
Sahara
2 years ago

And come back six months later in ‘cargo without value.’

Keen Observer
Keen Observer
2 years ago

Let him be buried wherever he wishes the matter of the fact is that Mugabe was useless cos its him who established National Heroes Acre now because his wishes of being a Life President didn’t succeed then National Heroes Acre is not important what about those that Mugabe himself buried there?

Mwangalamwene
Mwangalamwene
2 years ago

Go well Strongman Mugabe Robert African freedom fighter.

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