Mugabe's body being sent back to Zimbabwe after service

Zimbabwe's Vice-President Kembo Mohadi (left) leaving the Singapore Casket yesterday, accompanied by Mr Adam Molai, who is married to Ms Sandra Mugabe, the niece of the country's former president Robert Mugabe. They were among family members and poli
Zimbabwe's Vice-President Kembo Mohadi (left) leaving the Singapore Casket yesterday, accompanied by Mr Adam Molai, who is married to Ms Sandra Mugabe, the niece of the country's former president Robert Mugabe. They were among family members and politicians who attended a service at the Singapore Casket building.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The body of Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe will leave Singapore for home this morning, five days after he died in a hospital here.

Leaders of the African nation, including Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, members of the ruling Zanu-PF party and other senior officials, as well as family members attended a service at the Singapore Casket building yesterday.

Mr Adam Molai, who is married to Mr Mugabe's niece Sandra Mugabe, said: "We had a very touching ceremony... It was a very befitting mass, just to see off the body of (former) president Mugabe."

Speaking to reporters outside the building, he added that Mr Mugabe's body will be taken home by a chartered flight this morning.

Mr Mugabe, 95, a freedom fighter who became a controversial leader, particularly towards the end of his 40-year reign, will lie in state at two different locations in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.

Zimbabwean Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said his body will lie in state at Rufaro Stadium and then at the National Sports Stadium for a total of three days.

She did not say where the former president will be buried, saying only that updates will be provided "as more information on the programme trickles in".

 
 
 

Presidential spokesman George Charamba and Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi said over the weekend that the former authoritarian leader would be buried at the National Heroes Acre, a site reserved for people whom the Zanu-PF party viewed as having served the country with distinction during and after the 1970s war of independence.

But it was reported earlier that Mr Mugabe's family was pushing back against the Zimbabwean government's plans and wanted him instead to be interred in his home village of Kutama, 85km from Harare.

The burial ceremony is scheduled to take place on Sunday, a day after the state funeral at the National Sports Stadium.

Mr Mugabe was the first post-independence leader of Zimbabwe, initially lauded for liberating his country from white minority rule. But his regime later came to be remembered for crushing political dissent as well as policies that ruined the economy.

He was ousted in 2017.

Mr Molai, when asked yesterday whether Mr Mugabe was bitter about being ousted, said: "You know what, everybody's human. When you go through an experience of that sort, of course you'll feel pain."

Mr Mugabe died at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline 'Mugabe's body being sent back to Zimbabwe after service'. Print Edition | Subscribe