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Zimbabwe

Exiled Zanu-PF members shy away from Robert Mugabe's funeral

15 September 2019 - 00:00 By KENNETH MATIMAIRE

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's promise that exiled Zanu-PF members will not be arrested if they return for Robert Mugabe's funeral has not convinced everyone.Former minister Mandi Chimene was one. At the height of G40's power in Zanu-PF, Chimene told Mugabe to fire Mnangagwa. Mugabe had aligned himself with the G40 in the last days of his 37-year presidency.The G40 group fell out of favour after Mugabe was ousted in 2017. The army called them "criminal elements". Abduction attempts and attacks on some of their homes scared many into exile.Speaking to the Sunday Times from Mozambique, Chimene said her biggest fear was political persecution. "It was my heart desire to see my father, Robert Mugabe, being laid to rest, and to mourn together with the Marufu and Mugabe families. But because of the political circumstances I can't." In 2017, she was on her way home from China when Mugabe was toppled. She got off the plane in Zambia and has not returned to Zimbabwe since. "I was told that my house was swamped by soldiers and no longer accessible," she said. She negotiated to stay in Mozambique. "I have people who could take care of me here. So in terms of my welfare, my relatives are supporting me. I help them with any work they want me to do. I'm living a modest life."Her children are living in constant fear back home, she said."They are constantly harassed and questioned about my whereabouts. So how can I go and mourn our dear leader under such circumstances?" According to Leo Mugabe, the family spokesperson, the former president will have a national funeral ceremony at Heroes Acre next Sunday, but the actual burial will be held in private at a date that will not be made public, after Zvimba chiefs have performed rituals. ..

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