The state funeral of Zimbabwe's founder and longtime ruler Robert Mugabe at the national sports stadium in Harare on September 14 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
The state funeral of Zimbabwe's founder and longtime ruler Robert Mugabe at the national sports stadium in Harare on September 14 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

The Zimbabwean government has finally succumbed to former president Robert Mugabe's wished and he will now be buried at his rural home instead of the national monument it was already building.

In a statement on Thursday, government spokesman Nick Mangwana said the state had succumbed to the family will.

It is understood that Mugabe’s widow, Grace Mugabe stood her ground to bury Mugabe according to his last wishes, despite pressure from government.

“The family of the late former president R.G Mugabe has expressed its desire to proceed with his burial in Zvimba. In line with government policy to respect the wishes of families or deceased heroes, government is cooperating with the Mugabe family in their new position,” Mangwana said.

Indications are that the burial is likely to be private and will be  held at the weekend.

The state had already started constructing a mausoleum for Mugabe to be interred at the national heroes’ acre, a hilltop monument in Harare for heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation war.

Mugabe died in Singapore on September 6 but there has been a constant shift in positions pertaining to where he would be buried with the family constantly clashing with government.

The family claims that in his final days, Mugabe expressly stated his wish to be buried at his rural home.

But then his burial at his rural home was seen as a rebuke to president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration which sought to protect Mugabe’s legacy as a liberation icon by laying him to rest with other independence war heroes at the shrine.

Mnangagwa, who was Mugabe’s deputy conspired to topple his predecessor in a military coup in November 2017 and the two had fallen out until the former strongman’s death.