A Zimbabwean magistrate court on Friday ruled that the body of former President, Robert Mugabe be exhumed from his family homestead and reburied at the National Heroes’ Shrine in the capital city of Harare, reawakening the tussle over the late former leader’s resting place.
This development is coming few months after the saga surrounding the final resting place for the man who ruled the Southern African country for over 30 years erupted.
In May, a traditional Chief from Mugabe’s rural Zvimba area ordered Mugabe’s widow to exhume the remains of her husband and rebury at the Heroes Shrine in Harare, where the ruling elite and former fighters in Zimbabwe’s 1970s Independence war are buried and also fined her five cows and one goat for burying her late husband in a manner deemed inappropriate of a former President.
Mugabe’s three children appealed the decision at the Magistrate Court arguing that the Chief acted outside of his jurisdiction
Their lawyer Fungai Chimwamurombe said magistrate Ruth Moyo dismissed the case, ruling that Mugabe’s children were not party to the proceedings by the Zvimba chief and so had no right to launch an appeal.
Mugabe’s relatives oppose his reburial at National Heroes Shrine, saying the man who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was ousted in an army coup had expressed fears before his death that some of those who overthrew him would seek to conduct a traditional ritual with some of his body parts.
Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup that brought Emmerson Mnangagwa to power in November 2017, died in a hospital in Singapore at the age of 95 and was buried at his village of Kutama after weeks of dispute with Mnangagwa’s government over his final resting place.
No dates have been set for the exhumation following Friday’s ruling.