The family of the late former Zimababwe president Robert Mugabe said they will challenge the ruling by a Zvimba traditional chief to have his remains exhumed and reburied.
A chief in Zimbabwe had ordered the exhumation and reburial of Robert Mugabe’s remains at the national heroes’ shrine in Harare accusing the late leader’s wife of breaking local custom. The chief said he had received a complaint from a Mugabe clan member over the manner of his burial.
After presiding over a village court last Thursday, Chief Zvimba issued a ruling that found Grace Mugabe guilty of breaking traditional norms by burying her husband in the courtyard of his home.
The chief’s court also gave an ultimatum until 1 July 2021 by which date both exhumation and reburial should have taken place.
On Monday, just after the ruling was delivered, Mugabe’s nephew Leo Mugabe said the traditional court’s decision was a legal nullity which they will challenge in court.
Leo says Chief Zvimba wants to take the opportunity to charm President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government which had wanted Mugabe’s remains interred at the national shrine.
“Why the hullabaloo? He is looking for relevance with the government. He’s wanting to say ‘look government you wanted him buried at the Heroes Acre now here is the opportunity to put his remains there.’
“Who is he? He’s not an immediate Mugabe family member, he’s actually very far. I hear others calling him brother (to late ex-president Mugabe) but he is far from being his brother,” said Leo.
Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup that brought Emmerson Mnangagwa to power in November 2017, was buried in 2019 at his village of Kutama rural home after weeks of dispute with Mnangagwa’s government over his final resting place.
The former first lady, who did not attend the hearing, was also fined five cows and a goat.
Chiefs in Zimbabwe have jurisdiction over their local subjects but it is rare for them to order families to exhume bodies for reburial.