A burial for Zimbabwe’s former president, Robert Mugabe, will be held at the National Heroes Acre sometime in October, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
It was previously agreed that there would be a symbolic burial on Sunday in the hilltop shrine in Harare, reserved for the country’s ruling elite, but family spokesman, Leo Mugabe, told reporters this plan had now been cancelled.
The body will now go to Mugabe’s hometown of Zvimba on Sunday for traditional funeral rituals to be carried out before the burial.
Mugabe will be buried in October after a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre has been completed, Mnangagwa said.
The confirmation comes after disagreements between the family and the government about where the former leader should be buried.
The family initially said they would prefer to honour Mugabe’s wishes and have him buried next to his mother in his rural home in Kutama, about 85 kilometres from Harare.
They then agreed to the symbolic funeral on Sunday in the hope that the real burial would take place at a later date, giving them time to carry out the traditional rituals.
An official memorial ceremony is planned for Saturday at the 60,000-seater National Sports Stadium with a number of African leaders and former leaders expected to attend.
Mugabe’s body was returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday from Singapore, where he died at the age of 95. He had been seeking treatment there for an undisclosed illness since April.
He was deposed in a 2017 coup after nearly four decades in power.
Still revered by some for his fight against white domination as a former liberation fighter, he is widely despised by others who see him as responsible for destroying Zimbabwe’s economy and violently oppressing any opposition.