Mugabe's family agree to burial in 'heroes' monument

President Cyril Ramaphosa

The family of former Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe have agreed to bury him at a monument for national heroes in Harare, a family spokesman said on Friday though the date for the ceremony was still unclear.

Mugabe died in Singapore last week aged 95, leaving Zimbabweans torn over the legacy of a leader once lauded as a colonial-era liberation hero, but whose autocratic 37-year rule ended in a coup in 2017.

The casket of former president Robert Mugabe is carried by the presidential guard to an air force helicopter for transport to a stadium where it will lie in state, at his official residence in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe.

But in his twilight years, he became vulnerable and helpless, according to relatives, allies and analysts.

Some family members are still bitter over Mugabe's ouster and the role his former ally Mnangagwa played.

In a statement, the family accused Mnangagwa's government of trying to strong-arm them against Mugabe's final wishes.

"The family and the tradional leaders have pronounced that he will be buried at the National Heroes Acre...as to when he will be buried there are things that the chiefs want done at the national heroes acre and those will take time".

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Morgan Kaseke, 28, told Al Jazeera he felt the family's objection was unnecessary and Mugabe ought to be buried at the North Korean-designed site.

Mugabe's legacy is also marked by a crackdown known as Gukurahundi, which killed an estimated 20,000 alleged "dissidents", and his violent seizure of white-owned farms that made him an global pariah. "That's the decision of the whole family", his nephew Leo Mugabe said. Mugabe was overthrown by the military following massive protests.

Mnangagwa, a one-time protege of Mugabe, called the former president a "national icon" after his death.

As thousands gather at Rufaro, the road carpet will be rolled at the RG Mugabe International Airport, for the anticipated arrivals of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo Addo, Saharawi leader Brahim Ghali and Namibia's Hage Geingob. Heads of state expected to attend the funeral include the presidents of Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Kenya.

A State Funeral Service is set for the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.

A government spokesman did not immediately respond.

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