Plane carrying Robert Mugabe's body lands in Zimbabwe

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 11, 2019

Early Wednesday, a hearse transporting Mugabe's body left a Singapore funeral parlour bound for an airport and accompanied by a police escort, driving past a group of waiting journalists.

Final voyage ... The late president Robert Mugabe's coffin rolling out of a charter plane which flew him from SingaporeFinal goodbye ...

Worldwide journalists have been camped at the Zvimba homestead of Robert Mugabe and more are expected in the country on Wednesday afternoon to witness the arrival of the remains of the late leader who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years.

Mugabe, who died at 95 in a Singapore hospital on Friday, was a guerrilla leader who led the fight to end white-minority rule in what was then Rhodesia, and ruled Zimbabwe from its independence in 1980 until he was deposed in 2017.

"It just left now", he said by phone from the plane as it took off, with the noise of the aircraft audible in the background.

The delegation from Zimbabwe arrived on Tuesday and attended a private Catholic mass for Mugabe at the funeral parlour, which was officiated by a Zimbabwean priest.

While a burial is expected to be held on Sunday, the site where Mugabe will be buried is still unknown. During his 37-year authoritarian leadership Zimbabwe descended from prosperity to economic crisis marked by hyperinflation, unemployment and a drastic drop in living conditions for its 16 million people.

Mugabe's body will be received by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

On Thursday, Zimbabweans would pay their respects to Mugabe at a Harare football stadium, where the body would lie in state before being taken to his rural home in Kutama, 50 miles (85km) from the capital, the family spokesman added.

The 35 000-seat stadium is where Mugabe took his oath of office at a colourful ceremony when colonial Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith handed over the reins of the country. The chiefs have not told us where he will be buried, so it is not clear yet.

Where and when the former strongman will be buried has not been announced, as a result of a disagreement between the government and Mugabe's wife and other family members.

He had dominated Zimbabwean politics for nearly four decades from independence in 1980 until he was removed by his own army in a November 2017 coup.

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