Kudakwashe Mugari Deputy News Editor
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 morning, The Herald heard yesterday.
Patrick Zhuwao, Cde Mugabe’s nephew, is reportedly in “exile” fearing for his life.
This emerged at the weekend as the Mugabe family engaged President Mnangagwa on logistics to give the former President his final rest.
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 Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Phillip 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 emissaries requested that the President extends the same assistance to the family to get more members of both the Mugabe and Marufu families to travel to Singapore both to share in the grief with the former First Lady 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 any 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 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 trail 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.