A fresh war has erupted over the burial of the late president Robert Mugabe with a Zvimba villager dragging the erstwhile strongman’s widow Grace to a traditional court over the matter.
Mugabe, who died in September 2019 aged 95, was buried at his Kutama homestead in Zvimba after Grace and her children rejected government’s offer to have his remains interred at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
The Mugabe family said the long-serving ruler made it clear while on his deathbed that he did not want to be buried at the national shrine following a spectacular fallout with his ruling Zanu PF after a military coup that ousted in him in 2017.
Tinos Manovengere is said to have approached Chief Zvimba seeking to have Grace censured amid revelations that some still want his remains reburied in Harare.
According to leaked WhatsApp messages, one of Mugabe’s prominent nephews consulted a Harare-based lawyer on the legal implications of the case now before Chief Zvimba.
The messages said if Grace was found guilty by the traditional court, “corrective measures would be taken to rebury Mugabe”.
Others said Mugabe was an international figure and exhuming his remains would be an embarrassment for the country.
They said the late Zanu PF leader’s children had the right to decide, warning Chief Zvimba to be cautious.
“If he failed to handle the situation before Mugabe was buried, will he manage that now?” one of them asked.
The lawyer said the court would likely ask the rationale behind challenging Mugabe’s burial two years after he was laid to rest.
“The modern courts and judges would ask as to why you waited for so long to take action against that burial,” the lawyer advised.
“The world would want to know what Chief Zvimba and the complainant would lose or suffer if Mugabe remains buried in Kutama Village.
“The issue of Mugabe’s burial was debated and covered by newspapers until it was finally said he was going to be buried in Kutama. The judges will ask why you didn’t apply for an injunction without delay.”
Mugabe family spokesperson Leo Mugabe said he was not aware of the WhatsApp messages and the case against Grace.
He said the Manovengeres were his uncles but said they had nothing to do with Mugabe’s Karigamombe family.
“I don’t know anything about that. I am learning it from you. If there is something like that, Chief Zvimba should have told me,” he said.
“Social media can mislead. I have never been in any WhatsApp group.”
A Mugabe family member said the chief was yet to set a date for a hearing. He said they suspected a powerful hand was behind the case.
Grace was not available for comment as she is said to be in Singapore.
Chief Zvimba was also not reachable on his mobile phone yesterday.
Meanwhile, spokesperson of the National Patriotic Front (NPF) Jealousy Mawarire, who was a close ally of the late former President Robert Mugabe has claimed a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operation has been put in motion to exhume the former’s president’s remains and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre for occultic purposes.
In a Twitter thread, Mawarire said the operation also involves a ZANU PF Central Committee member, local traditional leaders including Chief Zvimba, a Cabinet minister from Mashonaland West Province and a local lawyer. Wrote Mawarire:
The Junta-PF coup govt has run out of ideas on turning around the economy & bizarrely, Idhii now believes exhuming Pres Mugabe’s remains will turn around the fortunes of his beleaguered govt. Consequently, a CIO operation to exhume RGM’s remains has been set in motion.
The CIO operation includes mobilising Zvimba chiefs, led by Chief Zvimba, to force Mugabe’s family to agree to RGM’s exhumation & subsequent reburial at Heroes Acre.
A villager, Tinos Manongovere has been identified & has since made a complaint to Chief Zvimba that RGM was “improperly” interred in a courtyard at his rural home, therefore his widow, Grace, should appear before Chief Zvimba’s court in a bid to arm-twist her into acceding to the Junta-PF demands to have RGM’s remains exhumed & reburied at the Heroes Acre.
A Zanu-PF central committee member who identifies himself as a Gushungo clan member, a Minister from Mashonaland West & a local lawyer have been roped in to look at ways how the exhumation can be done. However, the lawyer has raised several questions over the envisaged exhumation.
In communication between the Zanu-PF Central Committee member, the Mash West Cabinet Minister & the lawyer, the Harare lawyer questions the CIO operation to exhume RGM’s remains that the Central Committee & Cabinet Minister are fronting.
The lawyer questions how feasible it is for RGM’s remains to be exhumed even if “Mai Mugabe is found to be culturally wrong” in burying RGM at his rural home. He asks “So let’s assume the traditional custom finds Mai Mugabe was on the wrong side culturally what will they do?
“Charge her so that vanongo ripa nyaya yopera yakadaro?” The Zanu-PF Central Committee member replies: “If found guilty, then corrective measures will be taken to properly bury RG”
The lawyer reminded the Zanu-PF member that “the issue of who decided his final resting place was & is a preserve for his wife & children alone. Chief Zvimba must exercise extra caution on this matter, if he failed to claim his rights b4 burial how can they recognised only now?”
The lawyer argues that “Because the issues of burial yava Mugabe was debated & covered in newspapers until it was finally said he was going to be buried in Kutama, the Judges will say why didn’t you apply for an injunction without delay.”
The lawyer further observes that ” The world may want to see justice applied to enable permanent protection of his (RGM) legacy” & warns that “the above questions will definitely arise because the late R.G.Mugabe was an international star.”
It’s interesting that at a time the world is grappling with a devastating Covid-19 pandemic, Idhii’s coup govt prioritises exhuming Mugabe’s remains for occultic reasons. What has happened to Vision 2030? Is exhuming RGM’s remains a prerequisite for the success of vision 2030?
— The Standard/Jealousy Mawarire