Confusion as Mugabe's family, government squabble over burial site

Mugabe died a week ago age 95 in Singapore nearly two years after he was ousted in a coup that ended nearly four decades of increasingly autocratic rule

Confusion as Mugabe's family, government squabble over burial site

Zimbabwe ex-president Robert Mugabe's family and the government squabbled over his burial on Thursday, with the place - and even its date - still unclear after relatives snubbed a plan for him to be entombed at a national monument.

"Yes I can confirm", his nephew Leo Mugabe told reporters when asked whether the family had agreed to a burial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

Mugabe died aged 95 on Friday in Singapore after battling ill health.

On Friday, foreign dignitaries were due to start arriving in Harare ahead of a state funeral planned to be held at the country's National Sports Stadium on Saturday.

Leo Mugabe said later there was no feud, claiming the burial would be private.

Mnangagwa, a one-time protege of Mugabe, called the former president a "national icon" after his death.

Soon after, Mugabe was toppled by protesters and the army in what was seen as part of a power struggle within the ruling ZANU-PF party between pro-Mnangagwa factions and Mugabe loyalists siding with his wife Grace.

Heads of state expected to attend the funeral include China's President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta.

The former leader had been travelling to Singapore regularly for medical treatment, but his health deteriorated rapidly after his ousting, which allies say left him a "broken soul".

Despite Mugabe's long history with his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe was adamant that he did not want him Mnangagwa to take over and had openly stated that he preferred Defence minister, Sydney Sekeramai.

After the bitter fallout between Mnangagwa and Mugabe, the former president further showed his disapproval of Mnangagwa's presidency when he endorsed opposition party, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa for the July 2018 elections.

Mnangagwa visited Mugabe's palatial home, known as Blue Roof, in the capital yesterday to pay his respects.

Mnangagwa himself is under pressure after promising a new post-Mugabe era of more investment and jobs after he came to power, with little success.

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