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Mnangagwa calls for cool heads in dispute over Robert Mugabe’s burial

President Emmerson Mnangagwa asked the Mugabes to set aside their bitterness after the family rejected plans to bury the late statesman at the National Heroes Acre on Sunday.

Robert Mugabe’s family including his wife, Grace (veiled,) sits and watches on as members of the public view the body of the former president. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

HARARE - With the dispute between Robert Mugabe’s family and the government over his burial already overshadowing the mourning period, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa appealed for cool heads.

Mnangagwa asked the Mugabes to set aside their bitterness after the family rejected plans to bury the late statesman at the National Heroes Acre on Sunday.

They want him laid to rest in his home village of Zvimba in a private ceremony only attended by close friends and family.

The government was arguing that Mugabe should be buried in Harare in line with his status as a national hero. However, Mugabe’s family flatly rejected government plans for the burial of the former president.

But this was not surprising. Mugabe was not happy with how he was removed from power in a military coup in 2017 and this feud between his family and government confirmed he harboured that grudge until his last breath.

But family spokesperson Leon Mugabe said it was not a personal grudge, but the family fulfilling Mugabe’s wishes.

“The family is the one that makes decisions and tells the government what it wants, so there is no feud between us and the government,” he said.

Mnangagwa tried to appease the family when he visited Mugabe’s mansion on Thursday.

“You have the full support of the government of Zimbabwe under me,” Mnangagwa said.

Meanwhile, Mugabe’s family said the 11 heads of state and former presidents who confirmed attendance for the funeral could pay their respects at the national stadium on Saturday.

WATCH: Stampede at Mugabe memorial

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