The traditional leader says the former first lady broke local customs by burying Mugabe in her home.
A traditional Zimbabwean chief has ordered the exhumation of the remains of Robert Mugabe and his burial in the shrine of national heroes in Harare after accusing the late leader’s wife of breaking local customs by burying him in his country house on 2019.
Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup that brought Emmerson Mnangagwa to power in November 2017, was buried in the courtyard of his home in his village of Kutama after weeks of dispute with President Mnangagwa’s government over his final resting place.
A traditional chief of Zvimba district, which includes Kutama, said he had received a complaint from a member of the Mugabe clan about the form of his burial.
After presiding over the village court last week, Chief Stanly Wurayayi Mhondoro on Monday handed down a sentence finding Grace Mugabe guilty of breaching traditional rules by burying her husband in her home.
In his ruling, the chief said the late Mugabe “will be exhumed and reburied in the Acre of National Heroes in Harare within 30 days or before June 1, 2021.”
“You also have the order to collect the clothes and all their belongings and deliver them on or before July 1,” the sentence added.
Grace Mugabe, who did not attend the hearing, was fined five cows and a goat. The former first lady was also ordered to compensate the workers who would be in charge of exhuming and reimbursing her husband’s remains.
Leo Mugabe, nephew of the late president and spokesman for the family, immediately overturned the sentence.
“He (none) has no jurisdiction over Kutama. And even if the right boss had handed down that sentence, we would have gone to court, “Leo Mugabe told Reuters news agency.
Zimbabwean chiefs have jurisdiction over their local subjects, but it is rare for them to order families to exhume bodies to be buried.
The head order will likely revive a row over Mugabe’s final resting place.
Mnangagwa had pressured Mugabe to be buried at the monument to the liberation war heroes, but the family refused, saying Mugabe had expressed his fear to close family members before his death that some of the people who they removed him trying to perform a traditional ritual with some of his body parts.
Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years, died on September 6, 2019 at the age of 95.