The family of the late former president Robert Mugabe said it will challenge the ruling by a Zvimba traditional chief to have the late strongman’s remains exhumed and reburied at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Urayayi Mhondoro, gave Mugabe’s widow, Grace, an ultimatum until 1 July 2021 by which date both exhumation and reburial should have taken place.
But in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com on Monday just after the ruling was delivered at Grace’s residence in Harare, Leo Mugabe, the late former president’s nephew said the traditional court’s decision was a legal nullity which they will challenge in court.
Are you in Zimbabwe?
Read Pindula News without data on your phone on freedata.pindula.co.zw
Only Applicable to Econet lines
Leo argued that Chief Zvimba wants to take the opportunity to charm President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government which had wanted Mugabe’s remains interred at the national shrine. He said:
Why the hullabaloo? He is looking for relevance with the government. He’s wanting to say ‘look government you wanted him buried at the Heroes Acre now here is the opportunity to put his remains there.’
Who is he? He’s not an immediate Mugabe family member, he’s actually very far. I hear others calling him brother (to late ex-president Mugabe) but he is far from being his brother.
Leo added that burying the deceased in the family courtyard is not an unprecedented occurrence in the Zvimba area. He said:
His predecessor, Chief Zvimba Matibiri (Titus)’s grave is in the courtyard of his homestead. He was buried right in front of the kitchen hut, therefore this is not new.
Leo also accused Chief Zvimba of overstepping the bounds of his area of jurisdiction by his involvement in Mugabe’s proposed exhumation and reburial. He said:
To us it’s a ruling by the wrong chief because the chief who is supposed to preside over our Kutama area is Chief Beperere and not Chief Zvimba, he’s got his own area.
We don’t know where he’s getting the powers to over-rule going into another chief’s area and take the case.
We don’t have a paramount chief in terms of the Traditional Leaders’ Act and, therefore, his ruling, as far as we are concerned, does not apply. Even if he tries to implement it, we will fight him in court.
Leo said two grave sites were identified, one at the National Heroes Acre and another at the family’s rural home at Kutama village, with relatives preferring the latter.