African leaders arrive at Zim national sports grounds for Mugabe service
The former Zimbabwean president died in a Singapore hospital a week ago and lay in state at a local stadium over the last two days for members of the public to pay tribute to him.
HARARE – The state funeral service of Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has begun at the national sports stadium in Harare, where members of the public and heads of state from the African Continent are gathered to pay their last respects.
Several current and former heads of state, including President Cyril Ramaphosa and former President Thabo Mbeki, are here to pay tribute to Mugabe.
International relations minister Naledi Pandor says this is a sad moment for the African continent.
“We remember Mr Mugabe for the role that he played both with respect to the liberation of Zimbabwe from the chains Rhodesia and the role he played in supporting our own liberation movement. Remember that our cadres were hosted here.”
Zimbabweans are gathered at the stadium, singing songs in honour of Mugabe ahead of the official start of the service.
Several heads of state including Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and President Ramaphosa are expected to address mourners.
The heads of state and former presidents began arriving in Zimbabwe on Friday, at a memorial service in the capital Harare.
MUGABE TO BE BURIED IN 30 DAYS
Mugabe's family announced last night after Saturday's service-his body will be taken to his home village in Zvimba where it will lie in state and then taken elsewhere to be preserved for 30 days until the burial.
The family said the delay in burying Mugabe is because government is still constructing a monument, in honour of his legacy, where he will be laid to rest at the hero's acre.
The former President’s family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe, explains Saturday's program.
“There will be speeches by heads of state and the government and also from the family. The President will also give a speech. The process should finish by 2pm.”
He says the mock burial that was planned for Sunday won't take place any more, as the monument where Mugabe will be buried is still being constructed.