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Mugabe’s Body Travels to Rural Home for Weekend Burial

Pallbearers carry the coffin of former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for a mass at the family homestead in Kutama village, 80km northwest of Harare, Sept. 17, 2019. Mugabe is to be entombed this weekend at his home village.

The remains of Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe, who died early this month, have been moved from his Harare house to his rural village ahead of burial expected this weekend, his family said Friday.

After weeks of wrangling between government and his family over the final resting place for the country’s founding leader, the Mugabes have opted to entomb him at his birth place and rural home, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) west of the capital Harare.

The body was moved Thursday evening under police and military vehicles escort, according to a video clip shared on Twitter.

It was the second time Mugabe’s body made its way back to Kutama village in Zvimba district where he was born 95 years ago.

When the body was first taken home last week for the public to pay their last respects, it was airlifted by a military helicopter.

“The body arrived (at the village) around 1900 hours, yesterday,” family spokesman and Mugabe’s nephew Leo Mugabe told AFP Friday.

The decision to bury Mugabe in the village is seen as a snub of the government offer to bury him at what was to be a specially built mausoleum at a national heroes shrine in Harare where dozens of other prominent independence war veterans are interred.

The family had greed to have his body entombed at the shrine where preparations for a special mausoleum were in progress.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, said the family had earlier consented that they were “happy with burial at Heroes Acre,” but suddenly Thursday “they indicated that they want to go to Zvimba and (the) government agreed.”

The family gave no reason for the change of plans.