The body of Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe arrived Wednesday in the capital, Harare, where it was met by the country's president and a full military delegation. Thousands of people gathered to watch as the plane carrying dictator's remains landed at Harare's global airport, which bears his name, early in the afternoon.
On Thursday and Friday the body will lie in state at Rufaro Stadium in Mbare township in Harare for the public to pay their final respects.
But an acrimonious row over his final resting place is yet to be resolved, fuelling rumours in the Zimbabwean capital that the ceremony may be postponed.
According to Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe, who is also the family's spokesman, Mugabe was a chief and he would be given a traditional burial. She added all the issues will be resolved by Sunday the date on which the former President is set to be buried.
President Mnangagwa said this while addressing thousands of mourners today who gathered at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport to welcome the body of the late national hero, Cde Mugabe who died in Singapore last Friday.
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Wednesday's subdued airport gathering was a far cry from the tumultuous crowd of 100,000 that swarmed the airport in January 1980 to welcome Mugabe back after years in exile.
Sunday's burial will take place a day after a state funeral, but officials said the burial site would only be known after consultations with the family. "Details on the burial arrangements will be advised in due course", Mutsvangwa said. "The family members are bitter over some remarks made by some people which they claim forced Mugabe to die early because he was a bitter man", the official said.
Mugabe's casket was then taken to a nearby military barracks for prayers before going to the family's 25-bedroom home in the posh Borrowdale suburb for an evening gathering. That historic moment was even more emotional for us because our own reggae superstar Mr Robert Nesta Marley was in Harare, at the invitation of Mr Mugabe, to perform, because Mr Marley's songs served as motivation for the freedom fighters. "They have dented his legacy, it was not an easy thing", a family spokesperson said.
Vice-president Constantino Chiwenga, the former general who led the coup that overthrew Mr. Mugabe, was notably absent at the airport. "He led the liberation struggle to its very end and we are indebted to him for the freedom and democracy we enjoy today".