His body left Singapore on Wednesday morning (Sept 11) after a service at Singapore Casket attended by family and top Zimbabwean officials.
The African country’s former president, Robert Mugabe, 95, died in Gleneagles Hospital on Friday (Sept 6) while seeking treatment for an undisclosed ailment, The Straits Times (ST) reported.
Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace (2/2)
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) September 6, 2019
ST quoted Mugabe’s nephew-in-law Adam Molai as saying that the nonagenarian had been in hospital “only this week” for an age-related illness. Mugabe first left Africa for Singapore in April.
Due to Zimbabwe’s crumbling healthcare system, he had sought medical treatment in the city-state throughout his time in power, AFP reported.
Since November last year, the former guerrilla leader was unable to walk due to ill health and old age, but by August was “responding well to treatement”, AFP quoted current President Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying.
In July, netizens were shocked after Mugabe’s son, Robert Jr, posted an Instagram picture on his private account of his father in a wheelchair, looking alarmingly frail.
Mugabe – who ruled for 37 years – was initially lauded for liberating Zimbabwe from colonialism, but his regime quickly turned sour after he installed policies that ruined the economy and severely punished dissenters.
The ex-leader was eventually ousted from Government after a coup by his formerly loyal allies in 2017.
Following his body’s return to Africa, a state funeral will be held in Rufaro Stadium and the National Sports Stadium for three days in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, ST said.
The final resting place of the controversial President is now being hotly debated, with the Government announcing its wishes to bury him at the National Heroes’ Acre, while his family insists he should be buried in his home village, Kutama, Reuters reported.
The report added that Mugabe’s family shared his bitterness at being betrayed by individuals including current President Mnangagwa, who named Mugabe as a national hero hours after his death, and sent a delegation to Singapore to negotiate the former leader’s burial spot.
The outcome of the negotiation remains unknown.