Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe does not own his mansion known as the “Blue Roof”, his nephew said on Sunday.
Mugabe’s body is being kept in the same house after an official state funeral service – without a burial – was held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Saturday. Mugabe spent most of his life as president in the multi-storey 25-bedroom mansion, which was reportedly built by the Serbian company, Energo- project.
Construction of the opulent development was completed in 2003.
Mugabe’s nephew, Leo Mugabe, confirmed that the former president did not own the house, and said it was in fact owned and registered to a company linked to Zanu-PF.
“It leaves (former) president Mugabe without a house in Harare,” he said in Zvimba, where villagers were left disappointed when they were told his body would only be arriving today and not on Sunday as planned.
The Standard, a privately-owned Sunday newspaper in Zimbabwe, reported on Sunday that the government had used the Blue Roof as leverage to force the family to concede to their demands of having Mugabe buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
This came after days of conflict between the family and the government about where Mugabe would be buried. The family had wished for him to be buried in his hometown.
Leo Mugabe said that there was no pressure for the family to accede to the demands. “There is no truth in that, we were not pressured by anyone as the family. Chief Zvimba and his team made the decision,” he said.
Leo said President Emmerson Mnangagwa had given an undertaking that ownership of the Blue Roof would be transferred to the family.
“It’s so funny that the party is the one that bought him the land where Blue Roof is. It leaves (former) president Mugabe without a house in Harare,” said Leo candidly.
When asked what the implications were of the Mugabes not owning the property, Leo said: “The president said they are going to transfer it to the family. The president promised they are working on it.”
Asked if this undertaking was in writing, he said: “I want to believe the president tells the truth, I don’t want to doubt (him).”
But Simon Khaya Moyo, a spokesperson for the governing Zanu-PF pleaded ignorance when asked about the house. He said he did not know who owned the Blue Roof.
“I don’t know who owns the Blue Roof, I have never discussed it with anyone, it has never been an issue. I have never known about it,” he said.
This was despite Zanu-PF’s secretary for finance, Patrick Chinamasa, telling local media that the house was registered under the party’s name.
Meanwhile, Mugabe’s body is expected in his home town of Zvimba on Monday, after plans to take it there were halted abruptly on Sunday.
Leo said Mugabe would be buried in a month’s time at the National Heroes Acre after the government had built a monument at his gravesite.