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Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa: Call me Mr Ground-Breaking



Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Mr Mnangagwa deposed Zimbabwe’s long-time dictator Robert Mugabe in a coup d’etat last November to claim the country’s presidency.

He is the man with the vibrant, multi-coloured scarf and he is promising the people of Zimbabwe nothing short of a miraculous transformation.

Emmerson Mnangagwa is a 75-year-old revolutionary-turned-politician and we watched him move and groove as he took the stage at a husting near the dusty town of KweKwe.

Mr Mnangagwa deposed Zimbabwe’s long-time dictator Robert Mugabe in a coup d’etat last November to claim the country’s presidency and he wants the public’s approval in national elections scheduled for Monday.

He is up against Nelson Chamisa, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition coalition.

A record of more than 20 presidential candidates and 128 political parties will participate in the election.

Addressing a crowd of several thousand who gathered to see him at a new chromium mine, he told them they were going to get democracy and a serious rise in their standard of living.

“We are saying that Zimbabwe will never be the same again,” said Mr Mnangagwa.

“We have a vision (of) becoming a middle-income economy by 2030 and we are breaking ground on new (infrastructure). I am Mr Ground-Breaking.”

That got a hearty cheer from the people who had been bussed in for the speech by Mr Mnangagwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party, and in an exclusive interview for Sky News, Mr Mnangagwa said he was committed to holding open and peaceful elections.

“The new (approach) does not tolerate any violence.

Things have changed. No more violence.

We have told the entire international community that our elections are going to be free, fair, transparent and credible.”

When it comes to credibility, Mr Mnangagwa does have something of a problem.

The 75-year-old held various posts in Robert Mugabe’s regime and was considered one of his closest aides.

He led the security services in the early 1980s when at least 10,000 people from Ndebele tribe were killed by the Zimbabwe Army in the Gukurahundi massacre.

He ran Mr Mugabe’s bloody election campaign in 2008 when the dictator lost the first round of voting to the opposition MDC.

After a wave of deadly violence and intimidation, the MDC decided to pull out of the contest.

I put it to Mr Mnangagwa that some voters would be loath to trust him.

“You have promised the people of Zimbabwe a new dawn, new freedoms and prosperity.

But you are closely associated with the old regime – so why should the voters trust you?”

He responded: “You are saying the old regime. I can assure that the old regime brought independence to this country and (the people) were very grateful. We walked through difficult conditions.”

But the Zimbabwean president did not want to focus on the past.

“Now, those who want to live in the past, we cannot persuade them to live the future.

But we are saying that we are going to the future, we do not live in the past.”

Despite the president’s guarantee of free and fair elections, civil rights organisations such as We The People – formed by 7,000 volunteers around the country – have recorded hundreds of incidents of political violence and intimidation.

But that is something Mr Mnangagwa disputes.

In fact, he says he has not received information about a single incident.

“On social media people can sit in (their) houses drinking his whiskey and say anything they want.

“That is not what we are worried about. We are worried about the reality on the ground, (whether) anyone has been aggrieved and the courts are open (for them).”

Certainly, the atmosphere is more relaxed than elections held under Mr Mugabe’s control and the man who ousted him six months ago is absolutely confident of victory.

“I am extremely happy with the response I receive from east to west – (from) south to north. Monday is the deciding factor.

You will see wonders when Zanu-PF again, will romp to victory thunderously.
Sky News

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Mugabe buried in a tamper-proof casket



Robert Mugabe Burial

Robert Mugabe was buried in a tamper-proof casket because he feared that people would “use my body”, according to his family.

He was buried at Kutama village, his rural home village, on Saturday, near his mother, instead of the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

Mugabe’s nephew and family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe, told Zimpapers Television Network that “he wanted to be buried next to his mother but there is no space there” so the family elected to bury him, at a private ceremony, in the same village as his mother.

Asked about the speculation around the family changing his casket, Leo said: “Originally, why we changed is because we wanted a tamper-proof casket because you know, with rituals and things like that, people are really after his body, body parts, so we wanted something that was tamper-proof. That is why the casket was changed in the first place.”

He said it was Mugabe’s idea in the first place.

He explained that Mugabe had previously expressed concern about what would happen to his body after death.

“He said to his wife … ‘If and when I’m gone, don’t leave my body. Be careful, people want to use my body.’ It was him who said it to the former first lady.

“We knew that spiritually he probably knows something,” said Leo.

The family kept the body at home the night before he was buried in keeping with his wishes.

AFP reported that family members threw white roses into the grave as the coffin, draped in navy blue velvet, was lowered to its final resting place in the courtyard of his rural home, about 90 kilometres from Harare.

A boys choir from Mugabe’s old high school sang in the background.TimesLive

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Robert Mugabe’s family rejects government burial plans




The family of Robert Mugabe has said he will be buried in his home town in private, in an apparent snub to the government, which wants to inter him at a national monument.

Leo Mugabe, a nephew of Zimbabwe’s late ruler, said the ceremony would probably be held early next week in Zvimba district, about 60 miles (95km) north-west of the capital, Harare. “That is the decision of the family since last night unless something changes,” he told the Guardian.

Many of Mugabe’s relatives oppose government plans for the funeral and burial of the man who ruled the country for nearly 40 years before he was ousted in a military takeover in 2017.

The ruling Zanu-PF party announced that Mugabe’s remains would be interred at a hilltop monument outside Harare on Sunday, after a ceremony at the nearby national stadium on Saturday, where dozens of prominent African leaders would be present.

However, friends and allies of Mugabe’s wife, Grace, have said he made clear he would prefer to be buried in Zvimba with only close relatives in attendance. They said Mugabe did not want his death to be exploited by his successors for political gain.

A meeting on Thursday between Mugabe’s family and officials at his home in Harare ended without agreement. Walter Chidhakwa, a spokesman for the family, said the funeral would go ahead but not the planned burial.

Earlier, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe as president, said he had appealed to the family to set aside any bitterness. They are reportedly unhappy about his treatment of the former leader.

“Let bygones be bygones. The family is going to lead the programme, that’s why we haven’t released anything. We haven’t agreed how he will be buried,” Mnangagwa said.

The president, a veteran of the ruling Zanu-PF party and a decades-long close associate of Mugabe, said: “We will have to sit down first with Grace. As the government, there’s nothing we will do to go against your wishes. Let’s unite, he was our father.”

Mugabe died in a clinic in Singapore last week, aged 95. His body arrived on Wednesday, on a government-chartered private jet, at Zimbabwe’s main airport, where thousands of supporters had gathered.

On Thursday his casket was taken to a sports stadium in Harare, where thousands of onlookers packed the stands to see Mugabe lie in state for public viewing.

Several people were injured in a crush as they surged forward to try to view the casket. Some people were carried away on stretchers. The severity of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear.

Riot police later restored order, at times using batons to strike those waiting in a line.

Grace Mugabe sat on the podium to the side of the sports field while Mugabe’s casket was under a tent at the centre of the field. A military helicopter later landed on the field and took off after the coffin was placed inside.

Though much of his 37 years in power were marked by violence, economic mismanagement and corruption, the former guerrilla fighter is still revered as a liberation leader. Many in Zimbabwe see him as a national hero, remembering his role in the war against white rule. The Guardian

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Stampede at Mugabe’s memorial at Rufaro Stadium



Stampede at Robert Mugabe’s memorial

Several people have reportedly been injured in a stampede at the viewing event for founding Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, as those in attendance jostled in an attempt to see the late leader’s body.

Prior to this, it was reported that Mugabe’s body had arrived at Rufaro Stadium in Harare where the ceremony is taking place on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, the body was taken to Mugabe’s Harare villa, known as the Blue Roof for its blue pagoda-style structure, where family and supporters gathered to mourn.

His body has since been laid out for the public at the stadium and will later be transported to his homestead Zvimba for a wake.

Thousands are in attendance to pay tribute to the former leader.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating he should be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre monument.
These plans were rejected by the late former president’s family, who say the body will be displayed in his home village of Kutama on Sunday night, adding that he will then be buried in a private ceremony.

“His body will lie in state at Kutama on Sunday night followed by a private burial – either Monday or Tuesday – no National Heroes’ Acre. That’s the decision of the whole family,” Mugabe’s nephew Leo told the AFP news agency.

In a statement, the family said: “We note with extreme concern the manner with which the government of Zimbabwe has developed the programme for the funeral of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe without consulting his immediate family, who were tasked with communicating his last wishes in regard to his funeral and burial.

“As his immediate family, we have also observed with a shock that the government of Zimbabwe is attempting to coerce us to accept a programme for the funeral and burial of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe, which is contrary to his wishes on how he wished to have his mortal remains interred.

“As the immediate family of the late Mugabe, we are ready and willing to work with the government of Zimbabwe to develop a programme for the funeral and burial of the late Mugabe which is in conformance to his wishes on how his mortal remains will be interred.

“One of the wishes that Mugabe indicated was that his wife, Dr Grace Mugabe, must never leave the casket bearing his remains for the duration of the funeral proceedings while in Zimbabwe up until his mortal remains have been interred.

“To that end, we confirm that honourable Walter Chidakwa may communicate our position with relevant authorities to ensure that we develop a programme that conforms to the wishes of the late Mugabe. We have also tasked honourable Patrick Zhuwao to disseminate this statement.”

Mugabe died on a medical trip to Singapore, where he had been travelling regularly for treatment. A delegation including a vice president flew to Singapore to bring him home.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, former Cuban leader Raul Castro, and a dozen African presidents, including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, are among those expected to attend Mugabe’s state funeral on Saturday in Harare, said Zimbabwe’s presidency.The Citizen

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