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President’s proxies in superstitious hunt for Mugabe’s ‘mystic sceptre’

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime is hounding the late former president Robert Mugabe’s family amid strange demands that the remains of the veteran leader be exhumed and reburied, The NewsHawks can report.  

NYASHA CHINGONO

As part of Mnangagwa’s grand scheme to arm-twist the Mugabe family into giving up the long-time ruler’s remains, interred in a courtyard at his rural home in Zvimba, the state has gone on a rampage persecuting the family.  

Gold panners, with the acquisance of the authorities, have invaded Mugabe’s sprawling citrus estate in Mazowe and installed a gold milling plant.  

Aerial pictures of the estate show massive destruction and mining activities at the citrus plant, situated at the heart of Mazowe, with sources saying Mnangagwa’s sons oversee operations.  

Gold mining activities have gone on for months, while attempts to remove the panners from the estate are proving futile.  

This also follows revelations that villagers in Mazowe went on a rampage, slaughtering over 1 400 cattle belonging to Mugabe’s family. Sources told The NewsHawks that the villagers slaughtering the cattle could be heard chanting pro-Mnangagwa slogans.  

Stocktheft has dealt a major blow on the dairy business which, as earlier reported by this publication, has crumbled since Mugabe was removed in a military coup in November 2017.  

Former first lady Grace’s orphanage has also been subjected to constant raids by state agents, ordering that some of the children be removed from the facility.

The children’s home has been part of Grace’s sprawling empire in Mazowe, which includes a school, the Gushungo Dairy Farm and Gushungo Estates.  

Some of Mugabe’s closest relatives have also been hounded off their farms, with the latest being Walter Chidhakwa’s wife who lost her farm to Zanu PF officials.

Chidhakwa is Mugabe’s relative and was vocal against Mnangagwa’s bid to bury the late former leader at the Heroes’ Acre.  

Chidhakwa’s wife has lost 250 hectares and is left with 181 hectares of less fertile land.  

“She travelled with Grace to Singapore and the government even facilitated her travel, but she lost part of her farm and the state argues that she is absent,” a family source told The NewsHawks.  

Patrick Zhuwawo, Mugabe’s nephew, last year lost his farm to Sports minister Kirsty Coventry. Coventry snatched Zhuwawo’s Cockington Farm in Zvimba.  

Grace’s sister Shuvai Gumbochuma also lost her Kachere Farm in Concession to a top Zanu PF official in 2018, as Mugabe’s family continues to be hounded by Mnangagwa’s regime.  

The hounding of Mugabe’s family is at the heart of a fierce battle for the veteran leader’s body that ensued following his death on 6 September in 2019.

Despite spirited attempts to bury Mugabe at the Heroes’ Acre against his wishes, Grace had the last laugh, interring the freedom fighter-turned-despot in a courtyard at his rural home in Zvimba.

 Before the burial, Grace stuck to Mugabe’s casket amid fears that the state wanted to hijack his body for rituals. 

Mnangagwa has been accused of being an occultist, having been on a spirited hunt for a mystic sceptre, which Mugabe is believed to have possessed during his 37-year stranglehold on power.  

Mnangagwa is said to believe that the sceptre bolsters the authority to rule and it is crucial that he acquires it as he seeks another mandate in 2023.  

Strange ritualistic concerns surfaced again this week when Chief Zvimba summoned Grace to appear before a village court to answer charges of “inappropriately” burying the country’s late former president at the family homestead, saying the move is “unheard of” in his area.

In a letter dated 29 April 2021, Chief Zvimba ordered Grace to attend the village court next Thursday at Gonzo Guzha Hall at Murombedzi growth point at 9:30 AM.

“You are facing charges of burying the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe at his homestead. This is unheard of in Chief Zvimba’s area. At the same time, you are accused of abandoning Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s property which is scattered nationwide,” the chief said.

“I want you to rebury the late president in accordance with our traditions and in Zvimba at a place designated by the family and his late mother. These charges you are facing attract a fine of five cattle and a goat.”

Strangely, the summons were allegedly served by an officer from Mnangagwa’s office, laying bare the state’s plan to exhume Mugabe’s body from Zvimba.  

“She will not attend that kangaroo court,” a source close to Grace said.  

A family source told The NewsHawks that the latest move by the state is part of a desperate move to “repossess” the elusive sceptre.

 During the coup, state agents who had already shifted allegiance to Mnangagwa seized some artifacts at State House belonging to Mugabe.  

Mugabe had left behind some wooden carvings, including several sceptres, which state agents believed carried spiritual powers.  

Upon realising that the wooden carvings carried no spiritual significance, Mnangagwa last year ordered Mugabe’s family to collect the stuff, which included the sceptres.  

“Last year, Mnangagwa’s people asked the Mugabe family to come and pick up the artifacts. They had taken the artifacts, thinking that they would find the mystic sceptre (tsvimbo yamambo). So, they think he must have been buried with the sceptre. This is where the issue of exhumations is coming from. It is to verify if he was buried with the sceptre,” the source said.  

Since Mugabe died, Mnangagwa has made spirited efforts to recover the sceptre, believed to possess spiritual powers to command authority.  

Mnangagwa even tried to use Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang’s son to gain access to Mugabe’s grave, to no avail.  

“Since the old man was buried, there have been frantic efforts to gain access to the grave. There was even a ploy to bring Obiang Nguema’s son to come and act as if he is paying his respects but working on behalf of the state,” the source said.  

“Fortunately, Grace was not there, but he proceeded and failed to access the burial site. There have been those spirited efforts. Why would you insist on going when the family is absent?”

Obiang’s son had requested to take pictures besides Mugabe’s grave but was denied entry by the Mugabe family.  

“He had said he wanted to take pictures on the grave. It would help his campaign. The family ended up suspecting that something was up.”

In a desperate and bizarre move to appease Mugabe’s spirit, who is believed to have died a bitter man, Mnangagwa, Chief Zvimba and a businessman (name supplied) are said to have performed a ritual at State House last year.  

“Then there is this thing that happened in September last year when Chief Zvimba, a headman under him and the businessman went to the State House purporting to do a ritual ceremony of bringing back the dead back. These rites were being done in the presence of Mnangagwa,” a family source said.

 “Owen Ncube arrived at the State House and found these characters there. He made a complaint that the chief had not been cleared by the security but Mnangagwa snapped and reprimanded him.”

For the ritual to be successful, the chief needed soil from Mugabe’s grave, the source said.  

“They were told that the initial ceremony did not work. So that is why there is this whole furore about reburials.  

“They could not gain access to the grave because the former First Lady built a huge wall around the grave,” added the source.  

Since Mugabe died, Grace has guarded his remains, amid fears that Mnangagwa and Zanu PF were after them for ritual purposes.  

Grace, who is in Singapore seeking medical treatment, has built a mausoleum around Mugabe’s grave, located in a courtyard at his Zvimba rural home.  

His casket was also concealed by a metal cover before burial, with a lock to secure his body while concrete slabs were also used to cover the grave.  

The family source said Grace is unperturbed by Chief Zvimba’s summons, where she is also ordered to pay a fine for “flouting” cultural practices.  

“She was laughing about it. We were laughing about the fact that the decision to bury Mugabe was made by the family. By the family I mean the Gushungos, so if this Zvimba was a traditionalist he would have known the right person to cite, either Robert Jnr because he is the heir apparent or any other such close relative. This is because this one is not even a close relative; he is not even from the Karigamombe family,” said the source.

 “At the funeral, Chidhakwa made it clear that the decision to bury Mugabe would be made by the Karigamombe family. So, the former First Lady is saying, these guys are mad. In fact, what do they want to do? There is a mausoleum built there.”  

Mugabe, a controversial character in life as he is in death, continues to hog the headlines nearly two years after his death as the state fights for his remains.  

Nearly two years ago, Mnangagwa was left with egg on his face after Mugabe’s family refused to bury him on the hilltop-located Heroes’ Acre, saying they were following his dying wish.  

According to Mugabe’s family, the veteran leader died a bitter man and refused to be buried among his “tormentors” after his unceremonious exit from power in 2017.  

Mnangagwa, his long-time student, tried to arm-twist the family by bribing some family members, but Mugabe’s wish prevailed.

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