THE controversy surrounding the death and burial — which is officially yet to take place — of the late former president Robert Mugabe has provided perhaps one of the most bizarre and weird stories of death in living memory.
Mugabe — who no doubt deserved national hero status and, of course, a place at the National Heroes Acre — had ruled the country with an iron fist for 37 uninterrupted years before he was removed through a soft coup in November 2017.
However, his death on September 6 in a Singapore hospital marked the beginning of yet another saga over his burial as people haggled over where the former strongman would be buried.
In a unique development — the first of its kind in the country — the former president will have a mausoleum built for him at the national shrine, raising questions as to why other stalwarts of the liberation struggle did not get the special honour. Names that quickly come to mind are Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Tongogara, Solomon Mujuru and Herbert Chitepo, among others, whose contribution to the liberation war was invaluable.
Also, while no one may want to argue over whether Mugabe deserves that kind of honour, there are a lot of issues that already seem unusual.
After being flown from Singapore, Mugabe’s body has been shuttled between his Blue Roof mansion in the leafy suburb of Borrowdale and Kutama — his rural home, marking the confusion around his funeral.
There was body viewing at Rufaro Stadium over two days, at Blue Roof, the National Sports Stadium and in Zvimba then again at Blue Roof when Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema travelled to Zimbabwe yesterday.
Mugabe’s body should have remained in a funeral parlour awaiting completion of the mausoleum in 30 days as announced.
What is happening is strange, macabre and unheard of culturally.
Spending such a long period with a dead body in the house is very queer. Clinging on to a dead body at home is surprising, to say the least.
What is more disturbing is that some members of the Mugabe family have been pushing to have him buried away from the national shrine.