Africans gathered at a national stadium in Zimbabwe on Saturday to bid farewell to former President Robert Mugabe who died last week at the age of 95.
Mugabe, who died in a Singapore hospital was removed from power in November 2017 after a 37-year rule.
Mugabe would be buried in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre shrine in Harare in about 30 days, a family member said.
“Today, let us put aside our differences and come together as we remember the past and look to the future as one proud, independent and free nation,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s successor wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Reuters news agency and other newspapers said Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party have wanted Mugabe buried at a national monument to heroes of the liberation war against white minority rule but some relatives, expressing bitterness at the way former comrades had ousted Mugabe, had pushed for him to be buried in his home village.
African heads of state started arriving in Zimbabwe on Thursday night for Mugabe’s funeral.
Banners reading “Hamba kahle, Gushungo,” (go well, Gushungo)” in reference to Mugabe’s clan name and “Pioneer of nationalist politics,” were on display at the national stadium ahead of a state funeral, Reuters said.
leo Mapuranga, a caterer, told Reuters: “I feel low because Mugabe fought for us. I remember him for land to the blacks, economic freedom and higher education which was non-racial.”
“Now, people are suffering. No one is controlling the prices in the shops. Our finance minister is trying to implement first-world policies which don’t work in third-world countries.”
Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who is representing President Muhammadu Buhari said the former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe stood out as a leader because of his zeal, passion and selfless commitment to the emancipation of the people of Zimbabwe and the self realization of black people everywhere.
Osinbajo made his remarks on arrival in Harare last night to attend the funeral of the late African leader, according to a statement his spokesman Laolu Akande sent TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA in Washington, DC.
“Nigeria most respectfully condoles with the Republic of Zimbabwe on the passing of her President, Robert Mugabe – who led the republic and her people to freedom and majority rule – alongside so many other patriots. His legacy of determined, proud and assertive black emancipation will live long in the hearts of Africans. We wish the people of Zimbabwe great peace and prosperity,” the VP wrote, on behalf of Nigeria, on the condolence register for Mugabe at the airport.
Also, Prof Osinbajo, later while speaking with Zimbabwean journalists who approached him at the Harare International Airport, added that Mugabe was, “not only a great encouragement to the independent movements everywhere but more to the self-realisation for black people practically everywhere. So, his passing is indeed sad. I think that for most of us, especially those who are leaders today.”
“First let me say that for all of us, the whole of Africa, the memories of the years of decolonization, the years of the struggle for black majority rule in various places are years that bring joy and confidence to most of us, especially leaders today,” he said.
He added: “This is one of the reasons why President Robert Mugabe stood out as one of those leaders whose zeal, passion and selfless commitment to the emancipation of the people of Zimbabwe was not only a great encouragement to the independent movement everywhere, but more to the self-realization for black people practically everywhere.
“So, his passing is indeed sad. I think that for most of us, especially those who are leaders today, there’s a lot to learn from such an incredibly illustrious career, especially the role that he played in decolonization. And, of course, alongside the work that was done, not just by the frontline states, but by the likes of Nelson Mandela in South Africa and so many other African patriots; their lives and times, especially during the period of the struggle for black majority rule in Southern Africa and the support that other African countries gave, especially sub-Saharan African countries; Nigeria being, as you’ve noted, a frontline state. There are times when I think we should be extremely proud of what we achieved as black people.”