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Widow of the late leader Robert Mugabe challenges a court order to exhume his remains

Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe

Some court papers showed on Monday, that Grace Mugabe the widow of Zimbabwe’s long-serving former President, Robert Mugabe, has challenged a court order to exhume her husband’s remains for reburial at a national shrine.

Mugabe was buried in his rural home village of Kutama, about 90 Kilometres west of the capital Harare, in September 2019 after weeks of disputing over his final resting place. His family had opposed the government’s plans to bury him at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare, where it had reportedly started constructing a special mausoleum for him.

However in May this year, a traditional leader fined Grace Mugabe five cows and two goats for improperly burying Mugabe and ordered his exhumation and reburial in Harare. Mugabe’s children later appealed the chief’s directive, but a magistrate court last month confirmed that order, saying the ex-president’s children had no legal authority to challenge the exhumation of their father.

Despite the ruling by the magistrate court confirming the order, Grace Mugabe took over the legal battle and headed for the High Court; court papers on Monday showed that in an appeal to the High Court, she claimed that the magistrate’s order upholding the directive of the traditional chief was “grossly irregular and unreasonable”.

Robert Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital on September 6, 2019, aged 95; almost two years after a military coup ended his repressive 37-year rule. The government wanted him to be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre, which is set aside for heroes of the liberation struggle against colonial rule, something that his wife and children have remained strongly opposed to. His family claims that before his death, Mugabe had told them that he did not want to be buried at the shrine.

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