September 24, 2019

‘Mugabe’s body can last a month outside mortuary’

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

The body of Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe was embalmed to last several weeks outside a mortuary and could still be at the family home for days to come, it has emerged.

Mugabe died in Singapore on September 6, 2019, with his mausoleum expected to be ready in roughly three weeks.

Initially, the Mugabe family announced the body would be preserved at a private mortuary after public parades in the capital, Harare, and the former leader’s rural home, Zvimba.

It, however, emerged on Monday that it was still at the family residence in Harare.

Spokesperson Leo Mugabe told ZTN News on Tuesday: “When I left Harare on Thursday (last week after returning with the body from Zvimba), the general understanding was that the body would be taken to a mortuary or a place to be preserved.

“However, I have since been told that the preservation process was done in Singapore and the body can last for a month without going to the mortuary. This is something I believe is good as there are no extra expenses.”

He went on: “If a chief were to be buried in a cave, for instance, they would have to be dried up first. Can you imagine how long it would take for the person to dry up?

“It is not a day’s job. So, culturally, they would have to spend days with the body. So, I don’t see a problem there myself. But, in any case, the fact is that we are waiting for the mausoleum to be finished. (Therefore), we still have to keep the body.” 

Regarding why different caskets have been used, he said, “I cannot answer that particular question. The safety of the corpse was taken into cognisance.”  

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