Mugabe family at odds with Zimbabwe government over late leader’s funeral, burial

Mugabe burial in Zimbabwe 'sometime next week' - family spokesman

Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe will be buried next week at a private ceremony at an as-yet-undisclosed location, his family said on Thursday, rejecting plans by the rulers that overthrew him to inter him at a state monument.

The body of Zimbabwe's ex-president, Robert Mugabe, arrived home on Wednesday for burial in a country divided over the legacy of a former liberation hero whose 37-year rule was marked by repression and economic ruin.

In a statement, the family said: "We note with extreme concern the manner with which the government of Zimbabwe has developed the programme for the funeral of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe without consulting his immediate family, who were tasked with communicating his last wishes in regard to his funeral and burial".

Today his family insisted he would be buried in a private ceremony in his home village early next week - not, as Mnangagwa wanted, at the Heroes Acre shrine in Harare where a grave is waiting for him.

His family and the government disagree over Mr Mugabe's final resting place.

He will be laid to rest with a number of leaders in attendance including President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The U.S. embassy to Zimbabwe "extends its condolences" to the Mugabe family and the people of Zimbabwe following the former dictator's death.

"His body will lie in state at Kutama on Sunday night. followed by a private burial - either Monday or Tuesday - no National Heroes Acre".

At the airport Wednesday night, Mnangagwa paid tribute to his former ally, calling him an "icon of pan-Africanism" and "the man who created our nation", Sky News reported.

Around two thousand supporters, family members and government officials were on the tarmac at Harare airport to welcome Mugabe's remains as they arrived by charter flight from Singapore.

Zimbabweans have been split over the death of a leader once hailed for ending white-minority rule in what was then called Rhodesia but who later purged his foes in a brutal crackdown.

The 35,000-seat Rufaro stadium, where the public will be allowed to see the body, is where Mugabe took his oath of office when colonial Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith handed over the reins of the country.

Mugabe's first wife, Sally, is buried there next to a gravesite long reserved for the ex-leader.

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