Kudakwashe Mugari, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has expressed surprise that some members of former President Robert Mugabe’s family are not in the country allegedly fearing persecution and were worried about being barred from attending the funeral of the veteran nationalist who passed away on Friday.
Mr Patrick Zhuwao, Cde Mugabe’s nephew, is reported to be in “exile” fearing for his life.
This emerged at the weekend as the Mugabe family engaged President Mnagangwa on logistics to give the former President a fitting send off.
The family appointed Mr Leo Mugabe as its sole spokesperson.
Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Mr George Charamba, who is also the presidential spokesperson, revealed that on Friday, the Mugabe family and Zvimba chieftainship connected with the President through the Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi and Philip Chiyangwa at State House during which meeting they expressed gratitude for the support which the President, in his personal capacity as well as Government, extended to the former President and his family.
The former Head of State, who died at the age of 95 at a Singaporean hospital, had been unwell for a long time.
The Mugabe emissaries requested that the President extends the same assistance to the family to get more members of both Mugabe and Marufu family to travel to Singapore to share in the grief with the former First Lady, Grace and assist with the overall arrangement of the repatriation of the body of the late Cde Mugabe.
Mr Charamba said the family wanted assurance from the President that family members who had either left the country on their own or had gone into self-exile could attend the funeral without fearing arrest.
In response, President Mnangagwa acceded to all the requests by the family.
Said Mr Charamba: ‘‘The President immediately gave instructions to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Mr Misheck Sibanda, to ensure that the delegation comprising both the Mugabe and Marufu families and party officials and Government representatives depart for Singapore today to support the former First Lady and that a chartered plane must be secured to take them to and from Singapore.
‘‘Secondly, President Mnangangwa expressed surprise that there were some members of the Mugabe family who had left the country without any indication that they were facing any charges. In any event, if this had been made clear to the President, the Mugabe family would be protected against undue victimisation.
“In particular the President could not understand why Patrick Zhuwao had left the country except, possibly, in solidarity with his colleagues, one of whom had in fact been in and out of the country,’’ he said, in apparent reference to another “G40” kingpin, Saviour Kasukuwere.
Mr Charamba explained that in respect to travel documents of Mugabe family members who are currently undergoing trial in the courts, the President instructed the Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi together with the courts to look into the matter, stressing that travel documents were not held by the Government but by the courts. Chronicle