Robert Mugabe - OkayAfrica

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (L) addresses party members and supporters gathered at his party headquarters to show support to Grace Mugabe (R) becoming the party's next Vice President after the dismissal of Emerson Mnangagwa November 8 2017.

Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP via Getty Images.

Zimbabwean Chief Demands Exhumation of Former President Robert Mugabe

Chief Zvimba has officially ordered former Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe, to have the body of the late Robert Mugabe exhumed and reburied in accordance with the traditions of his culture.

According to several local media reports, a Zimbabwean chief has ordered Zimbabwe's former First Lady, Grace Mugabe , to have the late President Robert Mugab e exhumed. Chief Zvimba , of Zvimba District in the Mashonaland West province, has officially summoned G. Mugabe to appear at the village court at Gonzo Guzha Hall, Murombedzi Growth Point, on charges of wrongful burial next week Thursday. The call for exhumation comes after R. Mugabe's death in September of 2019 following his resignation amid the "coup-not-coup" of 2017. At the time of his death, there was already much debate about where he would be finally laid to rest.

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R. Mugabe is currently buried at his homestead in Kutama, Mashonaland West province. Chief Zvimba wants him to be buried instead alongside his mother, Bona Mugabe , in Zvimba. Part of the summons to G. Mugabe reads as follows , according to VOA Zimbabwe :

"You are facing charges of burying the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe at his homestead. This is unheard of in Chief Zvimba's area. At the same, time you are accused of abandoning Robert Gabriel Mugabe's property which is scattered nationwide. All properties of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe are supposed to be kept at his homestead and handled in line with our traditions. I want you to rebury the late president in accordance with our traditions and in Zvimba at a place designated by the family and his late mother. These charges you are facing attract a fine of five cattle and a goat."

Chief Zvimba has also expressed that should G. Mugabe fail to appear in front of the court , the case will continue without her and "an appropriate" ruling made. The summons itself is legal under Zimbabwe's new constitution which was adopted in 2013. Among other things, the constitution recognises the role of traditional leaders such as chiefs, headmen and village heads alongside existing state structures, so long as they remain apolitical.

The former First Lady has not as yet responded to the summons publicly.