- Former Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe will be exhumed from Kutama and reburied in Harare, a court has ruled
- According to the ruling, it is the country's norm for heads of states to be buried at the National Heroes Acre cemetery
- The late Mugabe's family, however, remain adamant that the patriarch had expressed a wish to be buried next to the grave of his mother, Bona Mugabe
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A Zimbabwean court has ordered the exhumation of former president Robert Mugabe's body for reburial at the National Heroes’ Acre cemetery in Harare.
Mugabe died in September 2019 and was laid to rest in the courtyard at his rural home in Kutama, 90 kilometres away from Zimbabwe's capital Harare.
After the death of the 95-year-old, his family objected to having his body buried at the national shrine arguing that the former president had expressed a wish to be buried next to the grave of his mother, Bona Mugabe.
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Three of Mugabe's children Bona, Bellarmine and Tinotenda challenged the traditional chief Zvimba's order that their dad's remains should be interred in the capital city.
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Grace Mugabe fined
In May 2021, a traditional court faulted Mugabe's wife, Grace, for disregarding the country's norms and burying the former president in the village.
“You are facing charges of burying the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe at his homestead,” read part of the summon from the chief dated April 21, 2021.
The court ordered the exhumation of the body and fined Mugabe's wife five cattle and a goat.
However, the family filed an appeal seeking to have the orders of the traditional court quashed.
“It’s a ruling against a widow and the widow has nothing to do with the burying of her husband. This judgment is irrelevant if you were to ask me," argued Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe, during an interview on Voice of America.
Decision to exhume him reaffirmed
In a ruling delivered on Friday, September 10, the higher court reaffirmed the ruling of the traditional court and directed that Mugabe's body be exhumed.
The Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa-led government had started building a mausoleum where the country’s first black leader would have been buried before the dramatic fallout.