By Own Correspondent
BULAWAYO – The family of the late Robert Mugabe vowed on Monday to defy a ruling by a village court ordering his widow Grace to exhume the former president’s remains for reburial at the National Heroes’ Acre.
The controversial trial by Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Mhondoro, found the former first lady guilty of violating tradition by burying Mugabe in the courtyard of his rural homestead and fined her five cows and two goats.
She was tried and convicted in absentia last Thursday as she was said to be in Singapore seeking medical treatment for an unknown ailment.
“I give powers to those empowered at law to exhume the body of the late Robert Mugabe from Kutama and rebury him at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare at a place shown by his father Chief Chidziva as per our culture,” Chief Zvimba ruled.
“The father of the deceased, who is Chief Chidziva, and the mother of the deceased, who is Chief Gutu, have all agreed that he be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre.”
Mugabe’s nephew Leo Mugabe vowed the exhumation is “not going to happen”, adding the family will take up the matter with the superior courts.
“They [the chief and the government] are the ones who were pushing for the Heroes’ Acre and the immediate family was saying ‘No’, we must follow the late president’s wish. They won’t bury him at the Heroes’ Acre,” Leo told VOA Studio 7.
He said Chief Zvimba did not attend the funeral, and as such, “he wants to be relevant by being seen to be attending to what he has always wanted. It’s not going to happen.”
“This case should have gone to the kraal head first. It’s like taking a case to the Supreme Court at the first instance and after the Supreme Court it won’t go anywhere. You have to follow the hierarchy of the courts,” Leo said.
“They should have gone to a kraal head and then to a headman and then Chief Peperere. That could have been the right thing to do.”
He added: “They didn’t do that. Even if it was the chief to go to, his judgment is not final because there is the Magistrates Court, High Court and the Supreme Court. If it is a constitutional matter, which we think it is because he has no jurisdiction to handle the case, we would go to the Constitutional Court. This is far from over. We are ready to take him on.”
Another Mugabe nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo last week accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of pushing the exhumation in the futile belief that Mugabe was buried with a mystic scepter that would give him commanding authority as a leader, claims vehemently denied by information secretary Nick Mangwana.
Zhuwao said Mnangagwa was an occultist (someone who believes in the supernatural and the power of magic), adding he is going after Mugabe’s “non-existent” scepter because “he is very uncomfortable about the prospects of the 2023 elections, and he believes that he will need to secure those elections through violence.”
Leo added that his uncle was a man of faith who would never keep such a thing.
“That’s all rumors, there is nothing like that. These are people that are just speculating that he had a tsvimbo. Who would have given it to him?” he questioned.
“If he had been given a tsvimbo and they know who gave him, they must go to get another tsvimbo from the same person. This man was Roman Catholic, was a Christian, and did not believe in all these tsvimbos.”