BY MOSES MATENGA
THE government is pressing ahead with the construction of a mausoleum for the late former president Robert Mugabe, an indication that his remains could still be exhumed.
Close Mugabe family members said the construction of the mausoleum was being done without their involvement.
Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler died in September 2019, two years after he was toppled in a military coup.
Mugabe’s family blocked the government from burying him at the Heroes’ Acre, saying the former Zanu PF leader made it clear on his deathbed that he did not want his erstwhile colleagues to preside over his funeral.
He was buried at his rural home in Zvimba in a heavily fortified grave.
In May, Chief Zvimba’s court ruled that Mugabe’s remains had to be exhumed after charging former first lady Grace Mugabe with violating traditional norms by burying her husband at their homestead.
Mugabe’s family says revelations that the construction of the mausoleum had resumed showed the government’s hand in the bizarre ruling by the traditional leader.
“The construction is on-going without the family’s knowledge and this has raised suspicion that the government is up to something,” said one of Mugabe’s relatives, who requested to remain anonymous.
“It confirms they are behind the chief’s actions to call for the exhumation of the body.”
Mugabe’s nephew, Leo, who is authorised to speak on behalf of the family, said he was not aware of the continued construction of the mausoleum.
“We have nothing to do with that,” Leo said.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage minister Kazembe Kazembe said the construction of the mausoleum was being handled by the ministry of Local Government and Public Works.
Kazembe refused to comment on why it was being constructed when Mugabe was long buried.
“That is being done by the Ministry of Local Government, they are the ones constructing that, you can talk to minister July Moyo,” he said.
Moyo’s mobile number was not available while his deputy Marian Chombo was not picking calls. Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa also referred questions to Moyo.
Chief Zvimba accused Grace of neglecting Mugabe’s property at Zimbabwe House, the State Houses in Harare, Bulawayo and Chinhoyi.
Mugabe’s children, Bona, Bellarmine Chatunga and Tinotenda Robert (Jnr) in June appealed against Chief Zvimba’s ruling, saying he acted outside his jurisdiction.
The case is yet to be heard at the Chinhoyi magistrates’ court.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has consistently denied accusations that it is behind attempts to exhume Mugabe’s remains.