Harare - The fallout between the now-deceased longtime leader Robert Mugabe and his protégé Emmerson Mnangagwa could spill into the funeral amid reports that Mugabe’s family was opposed to the presence of Mnangagwa at his funeral.
Mugabe and the current President fell out ahead of the former’s overthrow by the military, which later installed Mnangagwa as the head of state.
But on Wednesday, Mnangagwa welcomed Mugabe's body from Singapore, which came with his deputy, Kembo Mohadi. The veteran leader had days prior to that sacked Mnangagwa as his co-deputy over allegations of seeking to overthrow him from office.
Mnangagwa's sacking followed a jostle for power with the then-First Lady, Grace Mugabe, who had the backing of a faction of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) known as the G40 (commonly known as 'Generation 40').
Mugabe, who died aged 95 in Singapore last week, would later be fired as head of the Zanu-PF alongside his divisive wife for allegedly inciting division.
Following his ouster, Mugabe, whose health deteriorated after the coup, had never hidden his displeasure at Mnangagwa and the military.
Ahead of general elections last year, he publicly endorsed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Nelson Chamisa, declaring he would not vote for his “tormentors.”
“I must say very clearly, I can't vote for those who have tormented me,” Mugabe said at a press briefing days before the July 30, 2018 poll.
Weeks before his death, a local publication claimed Mugabe had informed his relatives he did not want to be buried at the National Heroes Acre outside Harare.
This week, the MDC-Alliance led by Chamisa said Zanu-PF could not “claim” Mugabe. “He had endorsed the MDC and particularly my candidature as a viable alternative,” Chamisa said.
Mnangagwa was at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in the capital Harare on Wednesday when the corpse arrived from Singapore. The burial place still remained a mystery amid differences between the Mugabe family and government.
Some in the family want his wish to be buried at his home area of Kutama village in Zvimba, Mashonaland West province, 80 kilometres outside Harare. Mugabe will be buried on Sunday.
Mnangagwa did not confirm the burial while addressing Zimbabweans at the airport. He announced the Ministry of Home Affairs would confirm the burial program after the body of the deceased would pass through the One Commando military base and his Harare home. Mnangagwa appealed for peace, love and unity.
FIVE THINGS MUGABE GOT RIGHT
1. He promoted racial reconciliation
2. Zimbabwe’s high literacy rate in the continent is credited to Mugabe
3. Ensured a viable basic health system
4. He was influential in the formation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc
5. Mugabe played a leading role in the Frontline States’ opposition to apartheid to liberate South Africa and Namibia.
FIVE THINGS MUGABE GOT WRONG
1. Dismantling the opposition Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) after atrocities south of the country, which left an estimated 20 000 people dead
2. A series of alleged electoral fraud
3. Human right violations
4. Disorderly land reform exercise
5. Corruption, unemployment a spectacular economic meltdown