President Peter Mutharika will be expected to be among 30 world leaders to attend the state funeral of Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe on Saturday, according to Zimbabwe government officials. Thousands of people gathered to watch as the plane carrying dictator's remains landed at Harare's worldwide airport, which bears his name, early in the afternoon.
On Thursday and Friday, Mugabe's body will lie in state at Rufaro Stadium in Harare so the public can pay their respects.
Mugabe's wife, Grace, and the Zimbabwean vice-president Kembo Mohadi were among those accompanying the body on the plane, according to Leo Mugabe, a nephew and family spokesman. "They (witches/ wizards) are also allowed to mourn a fellow neighbour and console the bereaved family", Muoni said.
The Malawi leader is one of several heads of state and former presidents expected to land in Zimbabwe for the funeral on Saturday.
Mugabe's family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government are apparently at odds over whether it would be at his homestead northwest of Harare or at a shrine for liberation heroes in the capital. Quizzed on where Mugabe will be buried, Mutsvangwa said: "We will be giving you more updates".
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Mugabe's resting place has been a topic of discussion since the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported last month that Mugabe would snub the offer of a burial at National Heroes Acre - a site reserved for the country's heroes - because he felt bitter about the way he was removed from power. Addressing journalists and his association's district representatives in Chinhoyi yesterday, ZNLWVA provincial chairperson Cornelius Muoni said it was uncultured to preclude mourners from attending Mugabe's funeral, describing it as an indirect affront to Mnangagwa. This has prompted speculation of a rift between the government and members of Mugabe's family, who want him to be buried at his rural home in Kutama, about 85 kilometers (52 miles) southwest of Harare.
"(Cde) Mugabe is a national person and as such, I will attend and if they don't want me to view the body then I don't mind but I will be there as a war veteran and a Government minister".
This while members of ruling Zanu-PF sang songs in honour of the late statesman.
Chief Secretary in the Office of the President Misheck Sibanda yesterday said Mugabe will be missed by the generality of Zimbabweans, describing him as a true son of the soil.
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's first leader who ruled the nation for 37 years until he was ousted by the military in November 2017, died in a Singapore hospital on September 6 at the age of 95. He led Zimbabwe for nearly four decades until he was toppled in November 2017.