'Mnangagwa blackmailed Mugabe family with threats to takeover Blue Roof mansion'

Clay Curtis
September 17, 2019

The controversy swirling around the burial of Zimbabwe's founding leader, Robert Mugabe, centers on his widow, Grace, who has remained dramatically cloaked behind a heavy black veil as she succeeded in getting the country's president to scrap his plans for the ex-leader to be buried in a simple plot alongside other national heroes and instead build a grand new mausoleum for her husband.

"It leaves (former) president Mugabe without a house in Harare", he said in Zvimba, where villagers were left disappointed when they were told his body would only be arriving today and not on Sunday as planned.

However, this has been postponed until Monday.

Robert Mugabe's funeral service was held at Zimbabwe National Sports Stadium on Saturday, September 14.

This is a different narrative, laced with accusations of ingratitude and greed - and it has led some members of the Mugabe family to demand a private burial to protect the memory of their loved one. "There is no reason to go to his funeral". But some relatives, expressing bitterness at the way former comrades had deposed Mugabe, pushed for him to be buried in his ancestral village of Kutama.

"The obvious situation we are having here is there's only one Robert Mugabe". Mugabe had branded him a "traitor".

Mugabe died last week on an overseas medical trip nearly two years after former army loyalists forced him out in 2017, following a power struggle over what was widely perceived as his bid to position his wife Grace to succeed him.

Malawi's President Peter Mutharika bids goodbye to Mugabe Photo: AFP/Getty Images.

In 2017 he was placed under house arrest and, four days later, replaced as the leader of his party Zanu-PF by his former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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The chiefs met again on Friday night where they agreed that Mugabe's body would be taken to Zvimba for some rituals before the final burial.

Osinbajo spoke with Zimbabwean journalists who approached him on arrival at the Harare International Airport on Friday night to attend the funeral of the late African leader.

Family members told the Independent Mugabe feared there was a huge risk Mnangagwa could use his body for rituals, to consolidate and maintain power, sources said.

According to Osinbajo, the passing on of Mugabe is indeed sad, especially for those who are leaders today.

Heads of state expected to attend the funeral include China's President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta.

Cleo Mapuranga, a caterer, told Reuters: "I feel low because Mugabe fought for us".

"Now, people are suffering".

He will, however, following a week of tense discussions and a public chastising of the Zimbabwean government by his family, not laid to rest on Sunday as it had been previously communicated. "Our finance minister is trying to implement first-world policies which don't work in third-world countries".

"We don't want to hear anything about him anymore".

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