The announcement of constructing the Robert Mugabe’s Monument was a U-turn of a dramatic tussle between his family and the country’s current leader, a once-trusted deputy who helped oust Mugabe from power.
The decision to build a new resting place for the ex-leader, who died at age 95 in Singapore last week, came after consultations with influential traditional chiefs, Mugabe’s nephew, Leo Mugabe, told reporters. The announcement followed days of controversy over where he should be laid to rest, with Mugabe’s widow, Grace, insisting on a private burial rather than the elaborate state funeral planned by the government.
“The construction will take about 30 days to complete,” Leo Mugabe said. “The burial will not take place until it is finished.” He said Mugabe’s body would be preserved until then.
Robert Mugabe’s family says the reason the former Zimbabwean President will be buried in 30 days, is that government is building a monument at the heroes’ acre in his honour.
The family announced funeral plans on Friday night. This is despite saying earlier in the week that Mugabe’s burial would be private and not at the national monument as previously announced by government.
Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital last week and his body has been lying in state at a local stadium since Thursday.
On Saturday heads of state will bid him farewell at an official funeral service at the National Sports grounds in the capital Harare.
Mugabe’s confirmed there is still the construction of a monument, in his honour, at the shrine.
Family spokesperson Leo Mugabe explains.
“The construction is for his legacy. The government are serious. The family asked them ‘how do we [uphold] his legacy so they said they are designing something.”
Mugabe further explains what will happen to the body of the former statesman after Saturday’s service.
“He will go to Zvimba, for the people of Zvimba to pay their last respect. Then he will be brought back and be kept somewhere up until when the burial place is complete.”
He said he accepts the u-turn on burial arrangements have caused confusion and says he agrees things could have been done better.