It was former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s wish to be buried next to his mother, instead of the National Heroes Acre in Harare with other war veterans, his nephew and family spokesperson Leo Mugabe has said.
In an interview with Zimpapers Television Network on Friday, Leo revealed that not only did Mugabe want to be buried in the village, but he also warned his wife Grace Mugabe to keep an eye on his remains as there were people who were apparently after his body parts.
As a precaution, Mugabe’s remains spent the night with the family in a tamper-proof casket.
Leo told the station: “Originally why we changed [the casket] was because we wanted a tamper-proof casket because you know with rituals and things like that, people really are after his body or his body parts, so we wanted something that is tamper-proof. That is why the casket was changed in the first place.
“The idea came from him because he said to his wife aunty Joyce: ‘When I’m gone, don’t leave my body, be careful because people want to use my body.’ It was him who said to the former first lady. We knew that spiritually he knows something.”
Mugabe was buried on Saturday in Kutama village in Zvimba district where he was born 95 years ago. Though he had specifically asked to be buried next to his mother, Leo said the family could not find space next to his mother’s grave, and decided to bury him in the same village as his mother.
“What we’re doing is the closest to what the departed wanted because if he chose to be buried next to his mother when he knew that there was National Heroes Acre, it means he did not want to be buried there.”
The funeral was attended only by those who were invited.
Mugabe died earlier this month after battling cancer, according to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Read more: Mnangagwa reveals cause of Mugabe’s death