The body of the Zimbabwean liberation hero became dictator Robert Mugabe and returned to his homeland on Wednesday, almost a week after he died in a hospital in Singapore at the age of 95.
Enclosed in a wooden coffin and draped with a Zimbabwean flag, his remains were driven over a red carpet, accompanied by some of the best generals in the country, and left to rest in the middle of a flower display.
The ceremony was watched by Mugabe & # 39; s wife Grace, who he thought was standing in line as his successor until he was deposed in a coup in 2017, which stood next to Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who deposed him.
Grace lived with Mugabe in Singapore while receiving medical treatment and agreed to fly back to Zimbabwe for burial only after Mnangagwa had assured that she would not be arrested for corruption.
However, it is still thought that the two are locked up in a bitter dispute over the final resting place of the former president, which remains to be decided. A state funeral takes place on Saturday before the funeral Sunday.
Robert Mugabe's body landed in Harare on Wednesday after flying back to his home country from Singapore, where he died in hospital last week at the age of 95
The procession was watched by Mugabe & # 39; s wife Grace, whom he thought he stood in line as his successor until he was deposed in a coup in 2017 (pictured right under a shroud), and Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who dropped him off (left)
The remains of Mugabe, encased in a coffin draped under the flag of Zimbabwe, were driven over a red carpet while accompanied by some of the country's best generals for around 2,000 supporters
The body is displayed at Harare airport until Wednesday evening when it is brought to its private residence in Harare for the night, known as the Blue Roof.
Thousands of Mugabe supporters – some draped in a cloth with his photo and name and others dressed in shirts and hits from his Zanu PF party – went to see how his body arrived in Harare
Various formations of soldiers dressed in their best clothing uniforms stood as a guard of honor, while Mugabe's coffin was released in the font of his supporters
Benevolent people hold their phones up as they try to get a picture of Mugabe's coffin arriving at Harare Airport – officially the Robert Mugabe Airport – in the capital of Zimbabwe
Mourners gather at RG Mugabe Airport after the return of the remains of the old ruler Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe in Harare
Zimbabweans watch as the body of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is transported to his home after he has returned to the country from Singapore
Mugabe celebrates his 90th birthday in 2014 when he was still president of Zimbabwe
Grace is thought to bury him in his private home – bitter about how he was treated in later life – while Mnangagwa is thought to prefer a sanctuary for former liberation heroes in the capital.
& # 39; Gucci Grace & # 39; – a derogatory nickname she earned thanks to her generous spending habits – was hidden under a heavy black veil and flanked by her family when her husband's body arrived at the airport.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, former Cuban leader Raul Castro and a dozen African presidents, including South African Cyril Ramaphosa, are expected to attend the funeral.
Prior to the ceremony, the body of Mugabe will be publicly displayed at various locations in the country. His coffin was first shown at the airport for 2,000 benefactors waiting to see him coming.
The body is then brought to Mugabe & # 39; s private home in Harare for the night, known as the Blue Roof. It will be laid out for the public to pay their respects at the Rufaro stadium on Thursday, before going to his home in Zvimba.
His remains remain there until the funeral.
Mugabe died during a medical trip to Singapore, where he was treated for cancer, among other things.
A delegation including vice-president Kembo Mohadi left with a chartered flight to the prosperous city-state to take him home.
At home, the Zimbabweans are divided on how to grieve for a man who was once praised for liberating the former British colony of Rhodesia from the white minority, but who later purified his enemies in a campaign of massacres and executions known as the Gukurahundi .
Mugabe's body will be on display at Rufaro Stadium with 35,000 seats in Harare on Thursday and Friday, where Mugabe took his oath, raised the new Zimbabwe flag and lit the independence flame on April 18, 1980 (in the photo, a man in Harare airport for the arrival of his body)
Thousands of benefactors are expected to pay their respect to Mugabe before his state funeral, although the commemorations are considerably smaller than those of other African independence leaders – a reflection of his troubled legacy
A baby is sleeping on the back of a woman wearing a skirt with the face of former President Robert Mugabe, while she and others are singing political songs from his ZANU-PF party, in his home in his native village of Kutama
Zimbabweans await the arrival of the body of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe to the country after he died after a long illness in Singapore
Zimbabweans sing and sing slogans as they await the arrival from Singapore of the body of the old ruler of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, at the RG Mugabe International Airport in Harare
His increasingly tyrannical leadership and economic mismanagement led millions to flee a country paralyzed by hyperinflation and food, drug and fuel shortages.
After his death, Mnangagwa announced that Mugabe would be & # 39; national hero & # 39; was proclaimed, flags flew over Harare on half mast and the news of his death splashed on the front pages of the newspaper.
Grace was the second wife of Mugabe and they married in 1996, with two sons and a daughter. He married his first wife Sally Mugabe in 1961 but she died in 1992.
Mugabe & # 39; s sons Robert Jr. and Chatunga gained a reputation for their playboy lifestyle and were expelled from a flat in South Africa in 2017 after being damaged during a party.
That same year, Chatunga was portrayed on social media and seemed to be pouring a £ 200 bottle of champagne over a watch that he claimed was worth £ 45,000.
Robert Jr dreamed of a basketball career, but American sanctions meant he couldn't play in America and in December 2017 he launched a clothing label called xGx.
Mugabe met Grace in the early 1990s, when she was one of his shy young typists, but she became an ambitious politician who also wanted to become president.
The reports of her abundant editions and explosive mood earned her the title & # 39; Dis-Grace & # 39; raised and raised eyebrows in 2014 when she gained her PhD in three months.
Her spending was an uncomfortable contrast with an economic crisis that left most of the 16 million inhabitants in poverty and unemployment.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose anti-corruption tools have targeted several former Mugabe assistants, is believed to be enthusiastic about establishing Mugabe's widow during her husband's three decades of power.
But one source said: "She has been guaranteed that she will not be attached.
"Her husband has been declared a national hero and it would not be appropriate to intervene if she has suffered such a loss."
& # 39; He eventually became a child & # 39 ;: Robert Mugabe lost his speech before he died in Singapore at the age of 95 when the Zimbabweans accused him of bringing their country to his knees
Robert Mugabe & # 39; turned into a child & # 39; in his final months and lost the power of speech as his health deteriorated, as Zimbabweans expressed dozens of years of anger over their former dictator after he died today at the age of 95.
Mugabe, who died in Singapore this morning, caused indignation even when angry Zimbabweans said he had gone abroad for treatment because medical care was lacking in his own country after his 37 brutal years of power.
The former president was admitted to hospital in early April, apparently unable to walk, and looked extremely weak alongside his son in what the last photos of him seemed to be.
These pictures of the Robert Mugabe, taken in Singapore, make him look weak and weak alongside his favorite son Robert Junior and may be the last ever made of him
Robert Junior (left) spent much of his time with his former president (right) in his final months, which he thought was documenting his memoirs
Mugabe ruled in Zimbabwe for 40 years, during which time there was widespread bloodshed, political opponents were persecuted and large-scale votes were cast
A source close to the family said that by the end he & # 39; had almost become a child & # 39; and before losing the speaking ability, he said he wanted to be buried next to his mother instead of a & # 39; hero funeral & # 39; in Harare.
A grave is waiting for him at the National Heroes Acre monument on the outskirts of the capital, built in North Korea, but Mugabe will apparently leave it empty.
His first wife Sally is already buried there and there is another conspiracy for his highly despised second wife Grace, who had hoped to succeed him as president and was reportedly on his side when he died.
Mugabe & # 39; s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed the death of the former president this morning, greets him as an & # 39; icon of liberation and says his & # 39; contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten & # 39 ;.
But Mugabe, who was overthrown in 2017, will not be grieved by many of his countrymen for his anger, without fear of repression.
& # 39; The fact that he died in a hospital in Singapore speaks volumes about the health care that our people must endure because he has destroyed everything, & # 39; someone said.
& # 39; So Mugabe died in Singapore? He never saw the need to build a good hospital when he was in power, another asked.
Others described a feeling of & # 39; emptiness & # 39; in Harare today, where Mugabe & # 39; s resignation was raised in 2017.
According to diplomatic sources, Mugabe died on Friday at 10.40 a.m. local time.
He came to power in 1980 as the founder of Zimbabwe, initially praised as a liberator after the country became completely independent of British rule.
But his own rule was marked by murder, bloodshed, torture, persecution of political opponents, intimidation and large-scale voting and there was jubilation in the streets of Zimbabwe when it was overthrown in 2017.
Under Mugabe's leadership, making him a pariah in the West, the economy of a mineral-rich country fell into chaos, with thousands of people falling into poverty after land reforms that promoted Mugabe's personal wealth.
& # 39; With the greatest sadness, I announce the death of the founder of Zimbabwe and former President … Robert Mugabe, & # 39; said Emmerson Mnangagwa today.
& # 39; Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-African who devoted his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our country and continent will never be forgotten. & # 39;
Mnangagwa was later seen at an airport named after Mugabe in Harare.
Mugabe with the then South African president Nelson Mandela in 1998
Diana, Princess of Wales, speaks with Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, when she visited Harare in 1993
Mugabe with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in front of a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in May 1994
Zimbabwean officials were seen falling back to Gleneagles Hospital Hospital with funeral directors from Singapore Casket, one of the country's most important funeral directors.
The remains of Mugabe turned out to be destined for a funeral home in Lavender Street, where a Mercedes Benz with diplomatic license plates was parked.
Singapore's Foreign Ministry says it is working with the Zimbabwean Embassy to fly the Mugabe body home to Zimbabwe for burial.
In what seems to be the last pictures of Mugabe, the former dictator looked brittle and weak next to his favorite son in June.
Robert Jr., who spent much of his time with his father in his final months, shared photos of Mugabe who looked slumped and shriveled in a training suit, baseball cap and white beard.
The visible ailments of Mugabe were often shrouded in mystery. Officials often said he was being treated for a cataract and frequently denied private reports that he had prostate cancer.
The British government made a destructive statement today and said: “Under his rule, the people of Zimbabwe suffered greatly when he impoverished their country and punished the use of force against them.
& # 39; His resignation in 2017 marked a turning point and we hope that today marks a new point that will allow Zimbabwe to move further from the legacy of its past and become a democratic, prosperous nation that respects the human rights of its citizens. & # 39 39;
The US embassy in Harare responded more cautiously and said: "We are joining the world to reflect on his legacy in securing Zimbabwe's independence."
However, Mugabe did not want Mnangagwa and his allies to stand and pontify about his dead body, said Zimbabwean media.
Mnangagwa had close ties with the army and powerful independence veterans, but was fired shortly before the fall of the dictator in 2017 by Mugabe as vice president.
A source close to the family said Mugabe had flown to Singapore five months ago, where his health was rapidly deteriorating and lost his speech by July.
& # 39; He had written a memoir since he was deposed with the help of a ghost writer. But I don't think he succeeded, & they said.
& # 39; Before he lost the ability to talk, he gave us a short speech about how he wanted to be buried. & # 39;
A spokesperson for the hospital in Singapore said: & We are saddened by the news of the death of Mr. Robert Mugabe, former president of Zimbabwe.
& # 39; Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones. We cannot share, out of respect for the privacy of Mr. Mugabe and his family. & # 39;
Despite Zimbabwe's decline during his rule, Mugabe remained challenging and scolded by the West for his neo-colonialist attitude.
He enjoyed some support from colleagues in Africa who chose not to judge him in the same way as Britain, the United States, and other Western opponents.
Today, the South African government greeted him as a & # 39; fearless pan-African liberation warrior & # 39; and he & # 39; the people of Zimbabwe & # 39 ;.
Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta called him an & # 39; older statesman, a freedom fighter and a pan-African who played an important role in shaping the interests of the African continent & # 39 ;.
Kenyatta also ordered flags lowered to half-staff after the death of the old ruler of Zimbabwe.
The Chinese government, an avid Mugabe supporter and positioning itself as a powerful ally of Africa in recent years, today called him an & # 39; excellent leader of the national liberation movement and Zimbabwe politician & # 39 ;.
Mugabe & # 39; s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed the death of the former president this morning. He is seen today at an airport named after Mugabe in Harare
The Russian Vladimir Putin also greeted him for his & # 39; great personal contribution to the independence of your country & # 39 ;.
Even Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Zimbabwe Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), stated that & # 39; a giant has fallen & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Although me and our party, the MDC, and the Zimbabwean people had major political differences with the former former president during his tenure and did not agree for decades, we recognize his contribution that he made during his lifetime as the founder of the nation has delivered, & # 39; he said.
British politician Peter Hain, who grew up in South Africa and was a prominent anti-apartheid activist in the 1970s, said Mugabe & # 39; was a tragic case study of a liberation hero who then betrayed all the values of the freedom struggle & # 39; .
Mugabe & # 39; has betrayed all the values of the struggle for freedom and became corrupt, repressive, dictatorial, self-serving and relentless in eliminating opposition and increasingly interested in enriching himself and impoverishing his own people & # 39 ;, said Lord Hain.
Former British diplomat George Walden, who dealt with Mugabe in the talks that led to his dominance in 1979, called him a & # 39; real monster & # 39 ;.
& # 39; The first thing to say is that the dead should not be ill except when they have killed as many people as Mugabe & # 39 ;, he told the BBC & # 39; s Today program.
The later years of Mugabe were partially overshadowed by the ambitions of his wife Grace, whom he married in 1996 and who himself wanted to become president.
His first wife, Sally, who was seen by many as the only person who could stop him, died in 1992.
The subject of his succession was virtually taboo during the decades-long rule of Mugabe, but became inevitable when he clung to power in his 90s and weakened his health.
The army intervened at the end of 2017 to ensure that Grace's presidential ambitions were ended in favor of their own preferred candidate. Mugabe was placed under house arrest and resigned.
The coup led to wild parties on the streets of Zimbabwe. These days, people gathered in small groups when the news came out in Harare.
& # 39; I will not shed a tear, not for that cruel man, & # 39; said Tariro Makena, a street vendor. & # 39; All these problems, he started them and people now want us to pretend it never happened. & # 39;
However, some were more generous. & # 39; He was iconic, he was an African legend. His only mistake was that he remained in power for too long, & # 39; said Harare resident Onwell Samukanya.
A bitter Mugabe turned up last year to say that he supported the opposition candidate in the 2018 elections and refused to support Mnangagwa and his own former ZANU-PF party.
Mnangagwa won the election, but the army spilled the streets of Harare, killing six people, while defeating an opposition challenge to the election results.
Mugabe was born in southern Rhodesia, as the British colony was then called, in 1924 and his emergence began when he joined a resistance movement against British rule in the 1960s.
The Gleneagles Hospital, where the former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe died, can be seen today
Mugabe (left) with his eventual successor Emmerson Mnangagwa (right) in younger days
The later years of Mugabe were partially overshadowed by the ambitions of his wife Grace, whom he married in 1996 (photo) and who himself wanted to become president
He was imprisoned for his nationalist activities in 1964 and spent the next 10 years in prisons and prison camps.
When his son died of malaria in Ghana in 1966, Mugabe was not given a conditional release to attend the funeral, a decision by the government of white minority leader Ian Smith who, according to some experts, played a role in explaining the subsequent bitterness of Mugabe .
After his release, he rose to the top of the powerful Zimbabwean African National Liberation Army, known as the & # 39; thinking man guerrilla & # 39; because of its seven degrees.
He became Prime Minister of the new Republic of Zimbabwe in 1980 and took over the role of President seven years later.
In the 1980s, Mugabe unleashed the North Korea-trained fifth brigade on a rival nationalist group in a campaign known as Gukurahundi – & # 39; the rain that washes away the chaff & # 39; – in which around 20,000 people died. His successor Mnangagwa was then Minister of State Security.
In 2000 leidde hij een campagne om blanke boeren uit hun land te verdrijven, die werd gegeven aan zwarte Zimbabwanen en leidde tot hongersnood.
Zimbabwe werd geschorst uit het Gemenebest in 2002 wegens beschuldigingen van mensenrechtenschendingen en economisch wanbeheer en werd in toenemende mate een internationale outcast.
Zijn opvolger Mnangagwa heeft sindsdien een aanvraag ingediend voor Zimbabwe om zich weer bij de groep aan te sluiten.
Toen Mugabe in 1980 aan de macht kwam, was de levensverwachting bij de geboorte in Zimbabwe 59,4 jaar, oplopend tot 60,8 jaar in 1986, volgens de Wereldbank.
Het stortte toen neer op slechts 44,1 jaar in 2002 – een verwoestende aanklacht tegen zijn bewind.
Spry in zijn onberispelijk maatpakken, Mugabe als leider hield een schema bij van evenementen en internationale reizen die zijn opgroeiende leeftijd tartten, hoewel tekenen van vermoeidheid tegen het einde opliepen.
Mugabe behield een sterke greep op de macht, door controversiële verkiezingen, totdat hij werd gedwongen af te treden in november 2017, op 93-jarige leeftijd.
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