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Robert Mugabe’s body arrives in Harare

Robert Mugabe died at a Singapore hospital last week. He led Zimbabwe for almost four decades until he was toppled in November 2017.

The coffin of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare on 11 September 2019. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

HARARE - The body of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived in the capital Harare, where it was received by a large government delegation on Wednesday afternoon.

Mugabe died at a Singapore hospital last week; he was 95. He led Zimbabwe for almost four decades until he was toppled in November 2017.

Dozens of state officials converged at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport to receive his body.

The Zimbabwean military band did dry runs and government officials put final touches in place setting up a small tent and rolling the red carpet on the tarmac. This while members of ruling Zanu-PF sang songs in honour of the late statesman.

The government wanted Mugabe to be buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, while his family insisted that he wanted to be laid in his home village of Zvimba.

ZIMBABWEANS COME OUT IN NUMBERS

Thousands of people have lined the streets of Harare where Mugabe's body arrived.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said while the country's former longtime leader was no more, his works and ideologies would continue to guide the nation.

He's called on Zimbabweans to celebrate Mugabe's life: “May I take this great opportunity to you great people of Zimbabwe, that on the day we shall lay him to rest, on Sunday, I appeal to you in your hundreds, in your thousands and millions, to show your love of our great leader.”

Mnangagwa has given the former stateman national hero status.

Mugabe's supporters have also hailed him as a freedom fighter, while his detractors said he clung onto power and oversaw years of economic decay in the once flourishing nation.

Zimbabweans gathered on the tarmac and bowed their heads while others sang in Mugabe’s honour as his remains were carried out of the plane.

Mnangagwa sat close to Mugabe’s wife Grace who was dressed in black and her face covered by a veil.

The president took to the podium and appealed to Zimbabweans to be peaceful, patient and show love to the former president.

But he didn’t announce Mugabe’s final resting place, except to say the government would make further announcements as time goes on.

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