Mugabe exhumation: saga deepens
By Everson Mushava and Moses Matenga | NewsDay |
Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Mhondoro, yesterday distanced himself from the plot to summon former First Lady Grace Mugabe to a traditional court to force the exhumation of the late former President Robert Mugabe’s remains, adding an intriguing twist to the bizarre development.
The summons was delivered to Mugabe’s posh Borrowdale residence in Harare on April 29 by top police officers in the company of an aide from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office. The summons was inviting Grace to Chief Zvimba’s traditional court to answer to charges of “improperly” burying Mugabe at his Kutama homestead in September 2019.
The State had wanted him to be interred at the National Heroes’ Acre, but the family stood its ground and buried him as per “his wish”.
“I know nothing about this issue (summons),” Chief Zvimba told NewsDay yesterday.
“I am hearing it only from inquiries coming from here and there. I know absolutely nothing about that.”
He added: “I have not seen anything and I have nothing to say on that because I am in the dark. I am not aware of anything.”
The summons was issued by the officer-in-charge Borrowdale Police Station, a chief inspector, an inspector, an assistant inspector, a messenger from Chief Zvimba’s court identified as Elvis Hundere and Jeremiah Moyo, from the President’s Office.
Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao accused Mnangagwa’s administration of sponsoring the attempt to have his uncle’s remains exhumed.
He cited the involvement of Moyo in delivering the summons at Mugabe’s Blue Roof mansion as a clear indication of Mnangagwa’s involvement in the matter.
Zhuwao told South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that the alleged attempt by government to exhume Mugabe’s remains was motivated by a belief that the veteran leader was buried with a sceptre that has spiritual powers which enhances a leader’s ability to govern.
“We took a position as a family and that position was informed by President Mugabe’s wishes to be buried at his rural home and that is what we did,” Zhuwao told SABC on Wednesday.
He added: “The reason that he wants to exhume the mortal remains of President Mugabe is because he has been looking for a sceptre that he believes has the authority to be leader of Zimbabwe.
“Mnangagwa, in my presence and in the presence of two of my colleagues, has indicated that he believes they are 16 traditional leaders who will effectively anoint the person that will be able to effectively govern and rule Zimbabwe and he believes that President Mugabe had that sceptre.
“He believed the sceptre was buried with him.
“Why would an officer from his office deliver summons from a traditional leader? It is unheard of,” he said.
But Zanu PF and government officials took to Twitter to dismiss Zhuwao’s assertions as “childish” and “belittling to Mugabe”.
“The desperation to spread fake news reaches shocking milestones, inviting Zhuwao to lie that Mugabe was buried with something that President Mnangagwa wants in order to win elections in 2023,” Zanu PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba also tweeted: “Hanzi sceptre pana VaMugabe! (We are told Mugabe has a sceptre!) Turning such an anti-feudal revolutionary into an anachronistic monarch! A bit of enlightenment helps, dear Zimbabweans! Kufananidza vaMugabe naEmperor Bokassa shuwa here? (likeneing Mugabe to Emperor Bokassa … really?). You think you are defending asekuru (your uncle)?
Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana also joined the fray, mocking Mugabe “for being buried” with a sceptre, which failed to resuscitate the economy.
“Saka kachikule kakaita zvetsvimbo, tsvimbo yaiva useless paeconomy (so this old man was using a sceptre which failed to solve the country’s economic woes),” Mangwana tweeted yesterday.