Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Grace's insecurities & scheming derailed plans to bury Mugabe at the Heroes Acre

30 Sep 2019 at 06:35hrs | Views
THE founding father of Zimbabwe and former President Robert Mugabe, who died in Singapore three weeks ago, was laid to rest at his Zvimba rural homestead on Saturday, putting to an end squabbles among members of his immediate family and his clansmen over his interment. May His Soul Rest in Peace.  

We find it regrettable that for a person of former President Mugabe's stature, his burial was fraught with unnecessary bickering, gamesmanship and outright deception as various parties sought to milk maximum capital out of his body.  

From the outset, the family of the elder statesman has been playing a game of smoke and mirrors with the State and in their single-minded pursuit of humiliating Mugabe's former comrades in the struggle and those that he governed the country with since independence in 1980, they reduced his body to a bargaining chip with which to extract certain concessions from the Government for their selfish ends.  

Bizarrely, Zimbabweans were subjected to a rare spectacle of a corpse being kept in a house for an inordinate number of days with the former First Family keen to keep Mugabe's body "safe" at their Blue Roof residence in Borrowdale.

This was after they had acceded to a declaration of Mugabe as a national hero and his burial at the National Heroes' Acre. Perhaps to buy time and put their grand designs into place, the family demanded the building of a special mausoleum at the national shrine and this they were told, would take at least 30 days to build.

As the engineers and workmen began working on the grand structure, which was on a hilltop at the Heroes' Acre, reports of a rift between the former First Lady, Grace, and chiefs from Zvimba emerged.

What further sold the game out was the visit by the leader of the South African opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters, Mr Julius Malema, who emerged from the Blue Roof after commiserating with the family to tell reporters that the "wishes of Mugabe should be respected" with regards to his burial.  

It should be remembered that this is the same Malema who hosted members of the G40 cabal during a memorial service for Mugabe in Soweto, Johannesburg, where the likes of Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao took turns to bash the current leadership of the country.

Reports yesterday indicated that the former First Lady's insecurities, political ambitions and scheming derailed plans to bury the national icon at the Heroes Acre.  

There were heated arguments within the family, especially between Mugabe's clansmen and Mrs Mugabe as she held out for a burial at the Blue Roof but this came unstuck as the title of the land and the bylaws that govern the residential property did not allow for it.

"Blue Roof is a homestead and not a cemetery, so changing the land use could have been encumbered by the associated legal processes.  

"There was also the issue of the title: Blue Roof is part of properties that were purchased through Zanu-PF's M&S Syndicate (a holding company for the party's private and public investments) at the time President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the party's Secretary of Finance," said a source who took part in the heated discussions.

After failing to get her way, Mrs Mugabe then pushed for a burial in Zvimba, but those who opposed the suggestion were unyielding. In order to sway the chiefs and elders, she reportedly played them a recording of Mugabe purportedly pronouncing his final wishes.

"Chiefs argued that the recording by Grace lacked integrity: it sounded like a guided conversation. They also questioned Mugabe's state of mind at the time the purported recording was made â€" and by an interested party.

"The elders also argued that at the few occasions they met Mugabe, he had made it known that he wanted to be buried at the National Heroes' Acre." They further chronicled how then-President Mugabe overruled the wishes of Edgar Tekere and Cephas Msipa.

On Tekere, he famously noted that "the dead do not decide where they are buried". As fate would have it, the elders from Zvimba were defeated and Mrs Mugabe and her G40 advisers carried the day. What is unfortunate about this whole charade is that the former President's legacy has been sullied by the ambitions of his wife and her G40 cabal whose voracious appetite for power knows no bounds.

It is mind boggling that Mugabe, who buried virtually all of his war time comrades at the National Heroes' Acre and would sometimes dictate who gets buried at the monument, is himself lying in a family grave in Zvimba.  

Rightfully his party Zanu-PF expressed disquiet over the manner his body was surreptitiously spirited from his residence to Zvimba against the wishes of the majority of Zimbabweans.

To his credit, President Mnangagwa has maintained a dignified silence and acquiesced to the demands of the family notwithstanding the unreasonableness of the move.  

Time will tell.

Source - chronicle
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.