Zimbabwe court orders exhumation of Robert Mugabe’s remains for reburial

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Members of the Presidential Guard transfer the coffin of late former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to a hearse after it arrived by helicopter at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA via CFP)
FILE PHOTO: Members of the Presidential Guard transfer the coffin of late former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to a hearse after it arrived by helicopter at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA via CFP)

A magistrate court in Zimbabwe on Friday ordered that the body of former President Robert Mugabe be exhumed for reburial at the National Heroes’ Shrine in Harare.

This is the latest development in a months-long saga surrounding the final resting place for the man who ruled the Southern African country for close to 30 years.

Mugabe, who died in 2019, was reported to have refused to be buried at the National Heroes Shrine over fears that his political enemies might use his remains for rituals.

Despite heated wrangling between his family and the government over the burial site, Mugabe’s remains were laid to rest in his rural village of Kutama.

In May 2021, his widow Grace Mugabe was fined by a traditional court five cows and two goats for burying her late husband in a manner deemed inappropriate.

A traditional chief at the time ordered for the remains of former president to be exhumed and relocated the national cemetery.

Three of Mugabe’s children challenged the this order in court arguing that the traditional chief acted outside his jurisdiction.

No dates have been set for the exhumation following Friday’s ruling, but Mugabe’s family may still appeal the order in the High Court.

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