Zimbabwe’s founding president Roberty Mugabe will be buried on on Sunday, September 15, having passed on last week in Singapore, at the age of 95.
Having ruled the Southern African nation for 37 years, until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, Mugabe’s legacy continues to divide opinions at home and abroad.
The government and his family also reportedly involved in discussions over the location of his final resting place. While the government wants to bury him in the National Heroes’ Acre, the family is reportedly opposed to the idea, arguing that Mugabe had since fallen out with the current regime.
Zimbabwe’s state newspaper, The Hearld on Monday said the country’s former president, Robert Mugabe, died of cancer after chemotherapy treatment was stopped because it was no longer effective.
The revelation, attributed to president Emmerson Mnangagwa, mark the first time the government is sharing the cause of Mugabe’s death.
Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe to independence and crushed his foes during nearly four decades of rule that impoverished his country, died on Sept 6. aged 95 in Singapore.
Mnangagwa told ruling party supporters in New York where he is attending this week’s United Nations General Assembly that Mugabe had cancer, but he did not disclose the type.
“Treatment had stopped, doctors had stopped treatment, chemotherapy, one, because of age and also because the cancer had spread and it was not helping anymore,” Mnangagwa said in comments carried by The Herald newspaper on Monday.
Mugabe is yet to be buried because the government is building a mausoleum at Zimbabwe’s national shrine reserved for liberation war fighters in the capital. His body is being kept at his Blue Roof residence in Harare.
In 2011, WikiLeaks released U.S. diplomatic cable that said Mugabe had prostate cancer that had spread to other organs, which government officials denied.
During his time in power, and before he was forced to resign after a coup in November 2017, Mugabe frequently travelled to Singapore to seek treatment.
Low-key farewell in Mugabe’s village
The remains of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, who died on September 6, arrived in his home village on Monday for a subdued farewell at a dusty sports field after a weekend state funeral with African leaders in the capital.
Mugabe was given a state funeral on Saturday, but the return of his body’s return to his place of birth northwest of the capital was a low-key event.
The brown coffin with silver trimmings was placed under a small white tent surrounded by marquees sheltering about 1,000 people. Another 1,000 had gathered in the midday sun at a business area about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Mugabe’s homestead.
Led by Mugabe’s two sons, Robert Jr and Bellarmine, hundreds of villagers filed past the casket surrounded by wreaths of white flowers.
“He has left a void, a big void. It’s a gap that no one can fill,” Mhedziso Chibatamoto, 44, wearing a red and grey tailored shirt with a portrait of Mugabe.