Zimbabweans, world leaders bid farewell to Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe conducted a state funeral for its founding father Robert Mugabe on Saturday. The state funeral followed after a week of dispute between the Mugabe family and the government over where the former president will be laid to rest.

Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was forced to resign in the wake of a military coup in November 2017, died last week in a Singapore hospital at the age of 95.

The ruling ZANU-PF party and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former deputy who helped remove him from power, wanted him to be buried at a national monument to heroes of the liberation war against white minority rule.

However, relatives of the departed leader expressed bitterness at the way former comrades had deposed Mugabe, pushed for him to be buried in his ancestral village of Kutama.

The two parties on Friday finally agreed he should lie at National Heroes Acre in Harare but the final ceremony would take place in about 30 days, once the new mausoleum was built for him there.

Zimbabwean politicians, international dignitaries and thousands of citizens have gathered at a stadium in Harare to pay their final respects to Mugabe.

Mugabe’s coffin draped in the green, black, gold and red Zimbabwe flag was marched slowly into the stadium, accompanied by a military band and an escort of officers. His wife, Grace, in a black veil, and family followed behind.

South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta arrived at the stadium. The South African president Cyril Ramaphosa was booed from the crowd, as a result of the recent attacks in Johannesburg on foreigners, including Zimbabweans. An official pleaded with the crowd to let him speak. Ramaphosa apologised for the attacks.

Source : Various