African leaders are expected to pay tribute to former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe on September 14 at his state funeral. Mugabe, known as the hero of the colonial era liberation, took his last breath on September 6 in Singapore at the age of 95. His death came almost two years after army loyalists forced him out in 2017, following a power struggle over what was widely perceived as his bid to have his wife Grace succeed him. Now, the country is torn over the legacy of his 37-year rule marked by brutal repression and economic crisis.
Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo told to global media that despite of his flawed rule the Government will honour him. He was an icon, he added.
Many current and former African leaders including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will attend his official funeral at a Harare sports stadium. The final burial will happen only after a new mausoleum is built, his family said. The "heroes" monument, where Mugabe will rest is a burial for 130 national figures who lie under the black marble tombs on a hilltop overlooking Harare. Sally, Mugabe's first wife also rests here.
There was initially a dispute over deciding the burial place of the former revolutionary between the current President and former President's family. Later, the two settled for National Heroes Acre. Yet Mugabe's family is still unhappy about Mnangagwa's earlier plan for sending his mortal remains to the homestead of Zvimba, northwest of Harare. Mnangagwa was branded a traitor by Mugabe and fired from his position as Vice President in 2017. Following this, protesters and military officers pressured Mugabe to step down in what was widely seen as a struggle between Mnangagwa's faction and loyalists to Grace inside the ruling ZANU-PF party.
Hailed as a hero for ending the white-minority rule and giving more access to education and public health to the poor black majority, Mugabe had another side to his rule. And this flip side was that of economic mismanagement and increasingly tyrannical rule that followed the initial hope of liberation. During decades of crisis, hyperinflation and a brutal crackdown on dissidents at home, millions fled from the country. Until now the struggle continues as many are trying to stick to current President Emmerson Mnangagwa's vows of more investment and jobs.