President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has sent his delegate to Singapore in an attempt to defuse a growing queue of Robert Mugabe's funeral.
The family of the former dictator, who died in the Asian city state last week at the age of 95, wants to bury him in his native village.
Before his death, he had expressed his bitterness about the way former allies including Mnangagwa – nicknamed the crocodile – had conspired to overthrow him.
But the president wants Mugabe to be buried at a national monument to heroes of the war of liberation against the white minority-Rhodesian regime.
Mnangagwa has taken the threat of taking a funeral at National Heroes Acre sufficiently seriously that he has sent a delegation to Singapore – led by his deputy Kembo Mohadi – to negotiate with the family, government sources said.
The battle for the place where Mugabe will be buried threatens to embarrass his successor and to deepen the division in the ruling party of the country.
Zimbabwe's Vice President Kembo Mohadi (C) is leaving the Singapore Casket building in Singapore on September 10, 2019, where the body of Zimbabwe's former president, Robert Mugabe, is currently being preserved. He was sent by the current president, the & # 39; crocodile & # 39 ;, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to negotiate with the family about burying the former leader at a National Heroes Acre
Visitors leave after attending the funeralism chaired by a Zimbabwean priest in Singapore, where he was treated before his death
Bona Mugabe, daughter of deposed President Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, will leave the coffin funeral of Singapore on Tuesday. The body of the deceased former president is flown home tomorrow, but there is a struggle between the family and the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa
Image allegedly posted by the son of Robert Mugabe on Instagram with the former president in a wheelchair
Relatives and officials arrived in Singapore on Tuesday, where he was treated for several months before he died.
They have to fly out with his body around 8:30 am (0030 GMT) on Wednesday, his cousin Adam Molai said.
The body is expected to arrive in Zimbabwe later that same day, adding time pressure to Mnangagwa, which is under attack due to an economic crisis and an end to divergent opinions that have drawn parallels with the worst excesses of the Mugabe era.
Both men have blamed Western sanctions and have accused the United States and Great Britain of sending opposition protests.
"Mugabe has always been a controversial figure in life as it is now in death," said Eldred Masunungure, a professor of politics at the University of Zimbabwe. & # 39; If the founder of Zimbabwe was not buried on National Heroes Acre, this would create a very poor precedent and affect the image of the head of state. & # 39;
In public, senior ZANU-PF officials express the confidence that Mugabe will be buried at the monument on Sunday, after a day's funeral in a sports stadium the day before. In private they say that the feud with the Mugabe family could have been handled better.
One factor that can help the Mnangagwa delegation, led by Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, is that the Mugabe family is divided over where the former president must rest.
Leo Mugabe, Mugabe's cousin, leads a group of family members who want the former president to be buried in his native village of Kutama, about 52 miles from Harare, two family members who attended planning meetings before Mugabe's funeral said.
That group is also supported by some members of the ZANU-PF faction who is closely associated with Mugabe & # 39; s wife Grace and wants to return to Mnangagwa.
Other family members, including Mike Bimha, who is from Grace & 39's side of the family, think it's best to restore ties with Mnangagwa by burying Mugabe on National Heroes Acre, the family members said.
On Tuesday a guide at the monument said that he was certain that Mugabe would be buried there. A place has been left next to the grave of his first wife Sally in the grandiose structure, which helped North Korean architects design shortly after independence.
Mugabe left behind an economy devastated by hyperinflation, dollarisation and deep-rooted corruption, and a furious political rivalry between the country's two largest political parties, ZANU-PF and the MDC opposition.
But many Zimbabweans also remember Mugabe as the liberator of their country from the white minority government and for widening people's access to education and land.
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations on the occasion of his 90th birthday in Marondera, about 80 km east of the capital Harare. Mugabe left behind an economy devastated by hyperinflation, dollarisation and deep-rooted corruption, and a furious political rivalry between the country's two largest political parties, ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be holding a press conference on 6 September 2019 at the Sate House in Harare, Zimbabwe. Mnangagwa declared Robert Mugabe a national hero of the government within hours of his death. However, Mugabe saw Mnangagwa and his allies as the forces that removed him from power towards the end of his life
Mnangagwa, the former deputy of Mugabe, whose power base is mainly in the military and security sector, has tried to associate himself with the successes of the Mugabe era and to distance himself from his ruining economic legacy.
He used his powers as president to grant national hero status – the highest honor of Zimbabwe – to Mugabe within hours of his death, making him eligible to be buried at National Heroes Acre, perched on a ridge overlooking Harare sit.
Mugabe used the same powers to grant or deny that privilege to dozens of his former comrades, so it would be very absurd for his family to refuse to bury him there.
The influential war veterans, who broke with Mugabe in 2016 and played a key role in bringing Mnangagwa to power, think it would be an insult to the liberation movement if Mugabe were not buried at the sanctuary.
& # 39; If Mugabe identifies with the sacrifices of the Zimbabwean people for whom he was president, he should go there, & # 39; said Chris Mutsvangwa, president of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans & Association.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (R) holds hands with his South African counterpart Nelson Mandela who greets him on his arrival in the country on December 13, 1998
President Robert Mugabe and new wife Grace leave the Kutama Catholic Church in Zimbabwe on August 17, 1996 after exchanging their wedding vows
The government of Mnangagwa has not yet released an official program for the funeral of Mugabe.
But in a memo sent to embassies in Harare on Sunday, it encouraged foreign heads of state to leave immediately after the funeral service ended Saturday.
Ibbo Mandaza, a political analyst writing a Mugabe biography, said Mnangagwa tried to avoid the possibility that heads of state would attend a funeral service in Mugabe's home area for which he had not been invited.
& # 39; That is the dilemma that Mnangagwa faces, he cannot sleep well & # 39 ;, said Mandaza.
A senior ZANU-PF politburolid, who asked for anonymity to speak freely, said there were lessons to be learned.
"Probably President Mnangagwa should have persuaded and cajolated the family of Comrade Mugabe to prevent this dispute from reaching the public and embarrassing him and the party," the politburolid said. Mnangagwa & # 39; s spokesperson George Charamba could not be reached for comment.
However, analysts do not expect the opposition parties of the country to benefit from the line, and note that cracks in the ruling party were opened and closed earlier.
If Mnangagwa persuades Mugabe & # 39; s family to bury him on National Heroes Acre, he will be able to take the opportunity to confirm his position as a prominent politician, said political professor Masunungure.
& # 39; If Mnangagwa plays his cards well, Mugabe's departure is likely to consolidate his control. & # 39;
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