Grace Mugabe challenges fine of five cows and two goats for burial of dictator husband Robert

Widow also hopes to overturn court order to dig up notorious dictator’s remains and rebury them at national heroes’ shrine

Chiara Giordano
Thursday 07 October 2021 15:55
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<p>Grace Mugabe has appealed a fine of five cows and two goats over the burial of her dictator husband Robert</p>

Grace Mugabe has appealed a fine of five cows and two goats over the burial of her dictator husband Robert

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The widow of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has challenged a fine of five cows and two goats over the alleged improper burial of her husband.

Grace Mugabe also hopes to reverse a court order from a traditional chief in the Zvimba district to dig up the notorious dictator’s remains and rebury them at a national heroes’ shrine in the capital Harare.

Mugabe was ousted in a coup in 2017 and died two years later at the age of 95, prompting weeks of dispute over his final resting place.

His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa - once his trusted deputy - became embroiled in a weeks-long dispute with Ms Mugabe over his final resting place.

President Mnangagwa had wanted Mugabe to be interred at the National Heroes Acre burial ground.

But his family refused, claiming the former leader had expressed fears before his death that some of the people who ousted him would seek to conduct a traditional ritual with some of his body parts.

He was instead eventually buried in the courtyard of his home in the village of Kutama, 55 miles west of Harare.

Chief Zvimba issued a ruling in May this year that found the late leader’s wife guilty of breaking local custom with the burial.

He fined the former first lady five cows and two goats during a hearing held in her absence and ordered the exhumation of Mugabe’s body.

Mugabe’s children lodged an appeal against the decision earlier this year, but it was upheld by a magistrate last month, prompting Ms Mugabe to make a fresh appeal to the High Court.

Former president Mugabe’s death in November 2019 was met with mixed reaction as he was remembered as both a “liberation icon” and “dictator” following his 37-year leadership.

Born in 1924 in what was then Rhodesia, Mugabe went on to co-found a resistance movement against British colonial rule, and was jailed for 10 years between 1964 and 1974.

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