A traditional chief has ordered the exhumation of the late Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s remains.
Chief Stanly Wurayayi Mhondoro on Monday found Mugabe’s widow Grace Mugabe guilty of breaking traditional norms by burying her husband in his rural home in 2019.
Mugabe, who died at the age of 95, was interred in the courtyard of his home at his village of Kutama after weeks of a dispute between the government and his family over his final resting place.
Mhondoro, a traditional chief in the Zvimba district, said he had received a complaint from a Mugabe clan member over the manner of his burial.
After presiding over a village court last week, Mhondoro ordered the exhumation of Mugabe’s body and their reburial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare within 30 days or before July 1st, 2021.
“You are also ordered to gather clothes and all his belongings and surrender them on or before the 1st of July,” the ruling added.
Grace, who did not attend the hearing, was fined five cows and a goat and ordered to pay the workers who would exhume and rebury the remains of her husband.
Leo Mugabe, the late president’s nephew and spokesperson for the family, rejected the ruling.
“He (chief) has no jurisdiction over Kutama. And even if the correct chief had made that ruling we would have appealed to the court,” he told Reuters.
Mugabe’s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa wanted him to be buried at the monument for liberation war heroes, but the family rejected the plan, saying Mugabe had expressed fears that some of the people who removed him from power would seek to conduct a traditional ritual with some of his body parts.
Mugabe, who was removed from power in a bloodless military coup in November 2017, died on September 6th, 2019. He ruled the South African nation for 37 years.