The family of late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe have accused current head of state Emmerson Mnangagwa of attempting to coerce it to betray his wishes for his burial.
Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao said this during a memorial service hosted by the EFF in Orlando East, Soweto, on Thursday.
Zhuwao said Mugabe, who died in Singapore last week, had given specific instructions to his wife and children on how and where he should be buried.
He said he had spoken to Mugabe’s children, who had instructed him to issue a statement.
“We are being coerced by Mnangagwa to ignore Mugabe’s wishes on where his remains should be interred.”
The family of Mugabe and Zimbabwe’s government have been at odds over whether he would be buried at his homestead in Kutama, northwest of Harare, or at the National Heroes Acre in the capital.
“When Mugabe was deposed, some of the comrades that are now wanting to stand and pontificate over his funeral refused to acknowledge him. They tormented him, they made him suffer and the family decided that we could no longer allow him to watch the news.
“Why do they want to pontificate over him when they did not want him in Zanu-PF? He is wanted here in the EFF,” Zhuwoa said.
Mugabe, whose rule ended in a military coup in 2017, died last week at the age of 95. His body was flown back from Singapore on Wednesday.
Zhuwoa said Mugabe was deposed by his comrades because he stood for young people, adding that Mnangagwa and his allies knew that Mugabe “recognised that young people are the future of Africa”.
“They chose to take arms against Mugabe because Mugabe was committed to pass the torch on to young people to liberate Africa economically.
“He was tormented by Zanu-PF, he was tormented by the regime of Mnangagwa. President Mugabe did not die in Zimbabwe because of Mnangagwa.”
Zimbabweans have been split over the death of a leader once hailed for ending white minority rule in the former British colony of Rhodesia, but who later purged his foes in a brutal crackdown.
His leadership and economic mismanagement forced millions to escape a country crippled by hyper-inflation and shortages of food, drugs and fuel.
After his body arrived home, though, Mugabe’s final burial place became a point of contention between his family and the government.
Mnangagwa had declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating he should be buried at the national monument.
Several heads of states, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, former presidents Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki will attend his funeral.