A traditional chief in Zimbabwe has ordered the exhumation of Robert Mugabe’s remains.
Chief Zvimba instructed that Mugabe’s remains are to be reburied at the national heroes’ shrine in Harare.
The chief, however, accused the late leader’s wife Grace Mugabe of breaking local custom by interring him at his rural home, close to 100 kilometres from Harare.
Mugabe, who was overthrown in a coup, was buried at his village of Kutama following the disagreement between Mugabe’s family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government concerning his final burial location.
Mnangagwa had pushed for Mugabe to be buried at the monument for liberation war heroes, but the family declined, saying Mugabe had expressed worries to close family members before his death.
Mugabe said that some of the people who ousted him would seek to conduct a traditional ritual with some of his body parts.
A complaint was later filed from a Mugabe clan member over the way of his burial.
Chief Zvimba presided over a village court last Thursday and issued a ruling yesterday.
The ruling found Grace Mugabe guilty of violating traditional customs by burying her husband in the courtyard of his home.
The former first lady, who did not attend the hearing, was fined five cows and a goat.
“I give powers to those who are permitted by law to exhume the late Robert Mugabe’s remains from Kutama and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre in Harare,” stated a copy of the ruling in the local Shona language.
However, Leo Mugabe, spokesman for the Mugabe family, instantly overruled the decision.
“He (chief) has no jurisdiction over Kutama. And even if the correct chief had made that ruling we would have appealed to the court,” Leo Mugabe said.
In as much as Zimbabwe chiefs have authority over their local subjects, it is uncommon for them to instruct families to exhume bodies for reburial.
By Everlyne Bosibori