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Thursday, 12 September 2019

10 African leaders due at Mugabe funeral as row over burial continues

10 African leaders due at Mugabe funeral as row over burial continues

Ten African leaders are expected to attend the funeral of former Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe, a government spokesman said on Thursday, as a row continued over where the former strongman should be buried.

Mugabe’s body was returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday from Singapore, where he died at the age of 95.

He had been seeking treatment there for an undisclosed illness since April.

His funeral is due to be held on Saturday.

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South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi are among the African presidents, who have confirmed their attendance, presidential spokesman, George Charamba, said in a statement.

Seven former presidents are also expected to attend.

They are South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda and Namibia’s Sam Nujoma.

The Zimbabwe government had said that Mugabe would then be buried on Sunday at the National Heroes Acre, a hilltop shrine reserved for the country’s ruling elite.

But family members want to honour Mugabe’s wish of being buried next to his mother in his rural home in Kutama, about 85 kilometres from the capital Harare.

There is also disagreement over the burial date.

A meeting between Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s widow on Friday failed to break the impasse.

“We are in consultation with the government,’’ a spokesman for the Mugabe family, Leo Mugabe, said.

“No burial arrangements yet.’’

Mugabe was deposed in a 2017 coup after nearly four decades in power.

Still revered by some for his fight against white domination as a former liberation fighter, he is widely despised by others who see him as responsible for destroying Zimbabwe’s economy and violently oppressing any opposition.


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