A Chinhoyi magistrate on Friday dismissed an appeal by the Mugabe family against a traditional court ruling ordering the exhumation of the former president Robert Mugabe’s remains.
Chief Zvimba early this year ruled that Mugabe’s remains must be exhumed from his rural homestead where he was buried for reburial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
The traditional leader accused Mugabe’s widow, Grace, of breaking local customs by burying her husband in a manner deemed inappropriate in the courtyard of their rural home in Kutama, Zvimba district.
The tribunal court later ordered Grace to give away five cows and two goats for having buried her husband in such a manner. The late strongman’s family is resisting the order.
Mugabe’s three children, Tinotenda Robert Jr, Bellarmine Chatunga and Bona appealed with the magistrate court in Chinhoyi stating that the chief had no judicial jurisdiction to interpret legal act from a superior authority.
However, the appeal has been thrown out and it remains to be seen what course of action Mugabe’s children will take following the latest setback.
According to Jealousy Mawarire, the spokesperson of the National Patriotic Front, a party that was closely linked to Mugabe, no exhumation can be done without the consent of Mugabe’s children. He tweeted:
There is no exhumation that can be done without the consent of the family unless it’s a desecration of the deceased’s grave, another coup that [President Emmerson Mnangagwa] and his Junta-PF are after.
Mugabe, who died in 2019, had refused to be buried at the National Heroes Acres in Harare over fears that some individuals especially his political opponents might steal his remains and use them in traditional rituals.
Some members of Mugabe’s family accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa of orchestrating the exhumation.
But Chief Zvimba said he had received numerous complaints from the clan members about the manner in which Mugabe was buried.
The government has since 2019 been building a mausoleum for Mugabe’s remains at the National Heroes Acre.