Robert Mugabe’s states funeral date announced.
Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry wrote to foreign embassies attached to Harare on Saturday with the burial arrangements, but the communication tellingly left out information on the burial site amid reports of ongoing haggling between authorities and Mugabe’s family.
A state funeral service for the late former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe will be held at a sports stadium in Harare on September 14 and burial will be a day later, but there is still no decision on where he will be interred.
Bizarrely, the foreign ministry also said foreign leaders will be expected to immediately leave Zimbabwe at the end of the service and not attend the burial.
Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital aged 95 last Friday. Reports indicate that he left instructions that he wished to be buried in Kutama, his rural village, and not at the National Heroes Acre in Harare where Zimbabwe buries its “national heroes”.
“The state funeral service will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019, in the morning at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. The times will be advised,” the foreign ministry said in a note to all diplomatic missions.
It added: “Heads of State/government wishing to attend the ceremony are advised to arrive in Harare on Friday, September 13, 2019… and depart immediately after the ceremony taking into consideration that government authorities will be fully occupied with preparations for the burial service/ceremony reserved for Sunday, September 15, 2019.
“The full programme for the funeral service will be made available in due course.”
Mugabe’s family is at loggerheads with the Zimbabwean government over where he should be buried. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who seized power from Mugabe in a military coup in November 2017, wants to bury his predecessor next at the National Heroes Acre, a hilltop shrine in Harare.
But Mugabe is believed to have told his family that he wanted to be buried quietly with his mother, denying the politicians and generals who toppled him in 2017 the chance to “pontificate” over his dead body.
Zimbabwe government protocol says that Mnangagwa does not attend national heroes’ burials held away from the Heroes Acre. The policy was explained recently when the Zanu-PF leader skipped Dumiso Dabengwa’s burial.
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