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Mugabe’s remains expected back on African soil on Wednesday

Zanu-PF spokesperson Nick Mangwana quoted Robert Mugabe's nephew saying that plane the will transport him is expected to leave on Monday.

FILE: Robert Mugabe. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – The remains of the late former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe are expected back on Wednesday.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Nick Mangwana quoted Mugabe's nephew saying that plane the will transport him is expected to leave on Monday.

The 95-year-old former president died in a Singapore hospital on Friday.

It is still unclear when the funeral will take place. Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa granted Mugabe the status of national hero in a televised address on Friday, while tributes poured in from leaders from across the continent.

Mnangagwa said the country would be in mourning until Mugabe was buried, but he did not say how many days of mourning there would be or when the burial would take place.

Zimbabwe’s president cut short his attendance at the World Economic Forum meeting in Cape Town, following news of the elderly statesman’s death.

The Zanu-PF’s highest decision-making body also met on Friday to discuss Mugabe’s funeral.

MUGABE’S RULE: AN ERA TO BE REMEMBERED OR FORGOTTEN?

There have been mixed reactions to news of Mugabe’s death.

His party, the Zanu-PF says, while Robert Mugabe has made some mistakes, he played a critical role in instilling black pride in Zimbabweans.

He led the for nearly four decades before being removed from office in a military coup in 2017.

Zimbabwe’s ruling party’s spokesperson Kennedy Mandaza said, “Today we see the majority of Zimbabweans are proud to be identified as blacks because it is one of the things that we learned from Robert Mugabe.”

At the same time, a rights group in that country has said Mugabe’s death should not be used to rewrite history.

Research and Advocacy Unit says Robert Mugabe's record is dismal when it comes to human rights, media freedom and those who challenged him politically.

The unit's director Shastry Njeru said while death is not something to celebrate, people shouldn't use it to rewrite history.

“Whereas there are other parts of Zimbabweans that had the brunt of Mugabe’s brutality in the early 1980s, such people would not portray him in a generous manner.”

Njeru says Mugabe's complicated legacy must serve as a warning to African leaders who refuse to leave office while they still have the respect of the people.

Additional reporting by Clement Manyathela