Buried with a royal scepter? Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe looks on during a press conference at his private residence nicknamed "Blue Roof" in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 29, 2018. Reuters Photo

Shock as traditional chief orders that Mugabe be exhumed and reburied

A traditional court in Zimbabwe has ordered that the remains of former president Robert Mugabe should be exhumed and reburied at the national shrine, nearly 18 months after his death.

Chief Zvimba’s traditional court sat on Thursday in Kutama village, where Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader was born and was buried, and ruled that his burial was not according to local tradition and that he should be reburied National Heroes Acre in Harare by July 1 this year.

The judgement by the traditional chief, was made on Thursday last week but was delivered to the residence of Mugabe’s widow Grace at 10.30 this morning. 

Grace is out of the country and is reportedly admitted at a hospital in Singapore, the same country where her husband died a bitter man in 2019, with an undisclosed illness.

“I give powers to those empowered at law to exhume the body of the late Robert Mugabe from Kutama and rebury him at the national heroes’ acre in Harare at a place shown by his father Chief Chidziva as per our culture,” reads the chief’s controversial verdict.

“The father of the deceased who is Chief Chidziva and the mother of the deceased who is Chief Gutu have all agreed that he be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre.”

Grace was fined five cattle and a goat.

“It was proven that you led the process until the burial, and if it was not you, it was not going to be allowed to have Mugabe buried at home.”

Mugabe’s family has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of being behind the bid to exhume his remains for juju purposes to strengthen his grip on the southern African country.

His self-exiled nephew Patrick Zhuwao sensationally claimed on South African broadcaster, Sabc that the former strongman’s ex-right-hand man believed that Mugabe was buried with a mystical sceptre that would give him commanding authority as a leader.

Zhuwawo alleged that President Mnangagwa told him in person that he believes that there were 16 traditional leaders who would effectively anoint the person that would be able to effectively govern Zimbabwe and he believed that Mugabe had a royal sceptre.

In September last year, Mnangagwa reportedly chaired a meeting at State House attended by senior government officials and representatives of the Zvimba clan.