Mugabe’s body to lie in State from Thursday

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Pall bearers carry the casket of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as it arrives at his former Blue Roof residence in Harare on September 11, 2019. - The body of Zimbabwe's ex-president, Robert Mugabe, arrived home on September 11, 2019 for burial in a country divided over the legacy of a former liberation hero whose 37-year rule was marked by repression and economic ruin. (Photo by Zinyange Auntony / AFP) (Photo credit should read ZINYANGE AUNTONY/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Presidential Guard perform a drill at late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Blue Roof residence in Harare on September 11, 2019, prior to his funeral wake.  (Photo by Zinyange Auntony / AFP) 

The body of Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe will soon be taken to lie in state at a stadium in the capital, Harare.

Members of the public will be able to pay their respects for the next two days at Rufaro Stadium, where almost 40 years ago Mr Mugabe raised Zimbabwe’s flag of independence ending years of white-minority rule.

Whether Mr Mugabe was a hero or oppressor is still the subject of debate – but Zimbabweans from all over the country are expected to flock to Harare to mourn him.

The body will then be transported to Zvimba – Mr Mugabe’s rural home – to allow members of his family to make their farewells before Saturday’s funeral service.

On Wednesday, Zimbabweans lined the streets of the capital to catch a glimpse of the hearse as it travelled from the airport to the late president’s mansion.

The 95-year-old, who ruled for 37 years until he was ousted in November 2017, died last week in Singapore where he had been receiving medical treatment.

A guard of honour greeted the specially chartered plane that carried his remains.

His widow Grace, who accompanied the flag-draped coffin home, had her head bowed under a black veil . She was met at the airport by President Emmerson Mnangagwa – a former loyalist who replaced her husband after the coup.

With just days to go before his burial on Sunday, there is still no word on whether the government and family have come to an agreement on where Zimbabwe’s founding father will be buried.

His family want him to rest in his rural home, but the government has declared him a “national hero” and reserved a grave for him at the Heroes’ Acre shrine just outside Harare.

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