Crowds shun Robert Mugabe’s funeral

Stadium is less than half full as his widow Gucci Grace pays her respects and Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa says Africa is 'weeping'

  • Rows of the 60,000-capacity National Sports Stadium in Harare lay empty
  • More than a dozen African leaders, past and present, flew in for the occasion 
  • Mugabe died on September 6 in Singapore at the age of 95, two years after being ousted from power 

It was meant to be a resounding send-off for Zimbabwe’s founding father, the freedom fighter who liberated the southern African nation from white-minority rule.

But Robert Mugabe’s transformation from national hero to despotic tyrant was underlined yesterday as his funeral was conducted in a venue less than half full.

Row upon row of the 60,000-capacity National Sports Stadium in the capital Harare lay empty.

Mugabe died on September 6 in Singapore at the age of 95, two years after being ousted from power.

Row upon row of the 60,000-capacity National Sports Stadium in the capital Harare lay empty

Row upon row of the 60,000-capacity National Sports Stadium in the capital Harare lay empty

Robert Mugabe’s transformation from national hero to despotic tyrant was underlined yesterday as his funeral was conducted in a venue less than half full

Robert Mugabe’s transformation from national hero to despotic tyrant was underlined yesterday as his funeral was conducted in a venue less than half full

Mourners attend the state funeral of former president Robert Mugabe at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe. Rows of seats were left empty in the huge venue

Mourners attend the state funeral of former president Robert Mugabe at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe. Rows of seats were left empty in the huge venue

Members of the military sit in the stands as Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seen on a video screen above, during the state funeral

Members of the military sit in the stands as Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seen on a video screen above, during the state funeral

Members of the public were invited to sit in the stands during the ceremony, but many spaces were not taken

Members of the public were invited to sit in the stands during the ceremony, but many spaces were not taken

The former dictator’s widow, known as Gucci Grace for her lavish spending habits, wanted her husband to be buried in his home town in a snub to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the once-trusted adviser who ousted him.

But the new leader, dubbed ‘the Crocodile’ after making his sudden and brazen power grab, wanted Mugabe to be interred at the national Heroes’ Acre monument.

The two sides eventually agreed to build a mausoleum at the monument which means Mugabe’s burial will be delayed for around 30 days as it has yet to be constructed.

The body of Zimbabwe's founder and longtime ruler Robert Mugabe is brought to the national sports stadium for the state funeral in Harare, Zimbabwe

The body of Zimbabwe’s founder and longtime ruler Robert Mugabe is brought to the national sports stadium for the state funeral in Harare, Zimbabwe

Grace Mugabe, wife of Zimbabwe's late former president, Robert Mugabe, is seen during the funeral ceremony at the National Sport Stadium

Grace Mugabe, wife of Zimbabwe’s late former president, Robert Mugabe, is seen during the funeral ceremony at the National Sport Stadium

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa attended the official farewell ceremony for the former president

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa attended the official farewell ceremony for the former president

Grace Mugabe (centre), the widow of former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, is escorted by her son Bellermine Chatunga Mugabe (left) as she arrives to attend the official farewell ceremony for her late husband

Grace Mugabe (centre), the widow of former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, is escorted by her son Bellermine Chatunga Mugabe (left) as she arrives to attend the official farewell ceremony for her late husband

Reflections
Former and current African leaders bid farewell to Mugabe

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