After accusing the late leader’s wife of breaking local custom by interring him at his rural home in 2019, a Zimbabwean chief has ordered the exhumation and reburial of Robert Mugabe‘s remains at the national heroes’ shrine in Harare.
Mugabe, who was deposed in a November 2017 coup that brought Emmerson Mnangagwa to power, was buried in his village of Kutama after weeks of wrangling with Mnangagwa’s government over his final resting place.
A traditional chief in the Zvimba district, which includes Kutama, said a Mugabe clan member had complained about the manner in which he was buried.
Chief Zvimba, who presided over a village court last Thursday, issued a ruling on Monday finding Grace Mugabe guilty of breaking traditional norms by burying her husband in his home’s courtyard.
The former first lady was fined five cows and a goat for failing to appear at the hearing.
“I give powers to those who are permitted by law to exhume the late Robert Mugabe’s remains from Kutama and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre in Harare,” the ruling said in Shona.
The ruling was immediately rejected by Leo Mugabe, the Mugabe family’s spokesman.
“He (the chief) has no power over Kutama. We would have gone to court even if the correct chief had made that decision “According to Reuters, Leo Mugabe is the president of Zimbabwe.
In Zimbabwe, chiefs have authority over their subjects, but they rarely order families to exhume bodies for reburial.
The chief’s directive is likely to reignite a debate over Mugabe’s final resting place.
Mnangagwa pushed for Mugabe to be buried at the Liberation War Heroes Monument, but Mugabe’s family refused, claiming that Mugabe had expressed concerns to close family members before his death that some of the people who ousted him would try to perform a traditional ritual with some of his body parts.