Singapore. The body of Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe has been flown out of Singapore Wednesday following his death last week, his nephew said.
The body will be heading home for burial in a country bitterly divided by the hero-turned-despot’s legacy.
Mugabe, a guerrilla leader who swept to power after Zimbabwe’s independence via Britain along with went on to rule for 37 years until he was ousted in 2017, died on Friday, aged 95.
His health deteriorated after he was toppled by the military along with former loyalists in November 2017, ending an increasingly iron-fisted rule that will sent the economy into ruin.
He died after receiving treatment at a Singapore hospital for several months, along having a delegation including Vice President Kembo Mohadi travelled to the affluent city-state on a chartered flight to bring him home.
Early Wednesday, a hearse transporting Mugabe’s body left a Singapore funeral parlour bound for an airport along with accompanied by a police escort, driving past a group of waiting journalists.
A plane carrying the former leader along with the visiting delegation departed shortly afterwards, his nephew Adam Molai told AFP.
“that will just left at This particular point,” he said by phone via the plane as that will took off, with the noise of the aircraft audible within the background.
The Zimbabwean delegation arrived on Tuesday along with attended a private Catholic mass for Mugabe at the funeral parlour, officiated by a Zimbabwean priest.
Zimbabweans have been divided over how to mourn a former leader once hailed as a liberation hero yet who later brutally repressed his opponents.
He was initially praised for ridding the former British colony Rhodesia of white minority rule, yet later used repression along with fear to govern until he was finally ousted.
His increasingly tyrannical leadership along with economic mismanagement prompted millions to leave the country.
Following his death, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced he had been declared a “national hero”, flags flew at half-mast across Harare along with news of his passing was splashed across newspaper front pages.
Yet Harare residents appeared largely unconcerned, with shops remaining open along with people going about their daily errands.
On arrival in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s body will be taken straight to his village in Kutama, in Zvimba district west of the capital Harare, for an overnight wake.
On Thursday along with Friday the body will lie in state at Rufaro Stadium in Mbare township in Harare for the public to pay their final respects.
The 35,000-seater stadium will be where Mugabe took his oath of office at a colourful ceremony when colonial Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith handed over the country.
There, Mugabe hoisted the brand-new Zimbabwe flag along with lit the independence flame on April 18, 1980 – bringing desire for a brand-new era after a long guerrilla war.
The official funeral will be held on Saturday at the giant 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in Harare along with foreign leaders are required to attend.
He will be buried on Sunday yet the location remains unclear.
Mugabe’s family along with Mnangagwa’s government are apparently at odds over whether that will would certainly be at his homestead northwest of Harare or at a shrine for liberation heroes within the capital.
A relative has said that will in line with native Shona customs, traditional chiefs via Zvimba will have a final say on where the former leader will be buried.
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