The nephew of the late former president Robert Mugabe, Patrick Zhuwao, has hit out at alleged government efforts to pressure the family into agreeing to a Heroes Acre burial.
In a furious blog posted on his personal website, the former Cabinet minister accused “charlatans who are seeking to hijack President Mugabe’s legacy for their own selfish reasons” of trying to undermine Mugabe’s burial wishes.
The blog post titled “ALLOW GUSHUNGO TO REST WHERE HE SAID HE WANTED TO REST,” urged the authorities to back down from the confrontation saying Mugabe had already intimated his burial wishes to his family.
“There are people to whom President Mugabe outlined his wishes on where he would like his mortal remains to be interred. President Mugabe’s wishes on his final resting place must be respected irrespective of the desires and wishes of any politician no matter what lofty positions or office they think they occupy. Those who know President Mugabe’ wishes must NEVER be threatened or intimidated,” Zhuwao said.
He added: “Let those who think they can torment President Mugabe’s departed soul and subjugate the wishes of the Gushungo ancestors know that they are inviting the spiritual wrath of the whole clan. Be warned; you will never win that spiritual war; kuzvikokera ngozi (that is inviting a curse on oneself)”.
The comments are the first public confirmation by a Mugabe family member of an August report by the Independent newspaper claiming Mugabe had told his family that he did not want to be buried at the National Heroes Acre following his November 2017 coup humiliation in which he lost power to his long-time protégé now President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mugabe was reported to have said he did not “want to be associated with Mnangagwa and all those he now views as his betrayers and tormentors. He has said he doesn’t want them to sing and pontificate over his dead body”.
A Reuters report, citing two relatives, earlier said Leo Mugabe, Mugabe’s nephew, is leading a group of relatives who want the former president to be buried in his home village of Kutama.
Online tabloid ZimLive also reported that Mugabe’s two eldest children Bona and Robert Junior, who spent a lot of time with their father in his final months, have gained a voice in the discussions and reiterated that it was Mugabe’s wish to be buried next to his mother at a cemetery in Kutama.
Other family members, including Mike Bimha, who is from Grace’s side of the family, think it would be best to mend ties with Mnangagwa by burying Mugabe at National Heroes Acre, relatives cited in reports said.