FORMER Mines and Mining Development minister, Walter Chidakwa has described the attempt to desecrate late former President Robert Mugabe’s grave as a “shameful drama by money-mongers seeking undeserved attention.”
Chidakwa, a close relative of the ex-president, maintained Mugabe’s remains which lie at the courtyard of his Kutama homestead, will not be exhumed for reburial as was being pushed for by the plaintiff, Tinos Manongovere.
Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Mhondoro, has issued summons to former First Lady Grace Mugabe to appear before his traditional court on allegations of breaking traditional customs and local burial rites.
The trial is scheduled for Thursday 20 May at Gonzo Guzha Hall, Murombedzi growth point.
Chidakwa alleged the summons were misdirected as Grace was merely a daughter-in-law to the Mugabe family and did not have a say over how her husband was buried as well as authority over his remains.
Said Chidakwa, “The chief has lost respect by allowing himself to be dragged into this shameful drama because of the love of money.”
The ex-Cabinet minister had no kind words for the plaintiff in the matter.
“Where does the plaintiff fit in all this? Manongovere is a distant relative of the Mugabe family, as he doesn’t hail from the Chidziva chieftainship where Mugabe hails from.
“If it’s money he wants, he must work and get it instead of getting money by selling the body of the dead. We know who is behind this, Tinos is just a tool to get to Mugabe’s grave which we won’t allow by all means.”
Chidakwa said Grace, being an in-law, cannot make decisions with a bearing on late Mugabe’s kinsmen and only the late former president’s children can make such decisions, including exhumation and reburial.
“If there is something which was not done right why not summon us? Mai Mugabe (Grace) is just a daughter-in-law in the Gushungo clan. She does not have any say in making decisions on behalf of our family.
“Moreover, the only people who can decide on Mugabe’s remains whether to exhume or not are his biological children, Bellarmine, Bona and Robert Junior and noone else.
“Where was this Tinos when Mugabe was buried and why didn’t he stop the burial then? There was ample time to make the right decisions before we buried him and why didn’t he speak out then?” said Chidakwa, who was chosen as Mugabe family spokesperson during the late dictator’s funeral.
Manongovere, who is a cousin to the late former president, said there are many issues around the traditional court case, without elaborating.
Said Manongovere, “It’s true I approached the courts, but no one has pushed me. At this stage I will not say much as there has been a lot of lies going around social media and you journalists are spreading lies. I will not answer your questions. You will answered on what you want to know by coming to court on the date.”
Chidakwa dismissed an assertion that Mugabe was buried with a sceptre.
“I am not aware of any sceptre being buried with the late president and there is absolutely nothing like it. If, indeed, he was given one, well remember there were various gifts offered to him but I’m not aware of any special sceptre and what significance it has.”
Chidakwa said he personally told President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Mugabe’s wish to be buried at his homestead, and not at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare, a development which Mnangagwa reportedly understood and accepted. – New Zimbabwe ■