HARARE, Sept 12 -- The body of the late former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who died in Singapore last Friday, arrived home on Wednesday afternoon aboard a chartered plane accompanied by his widow Grace, children and senior government and ruling party officials, Zimbabwe's news agency New Ziana reported.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa, Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, service chiefs and other senior government officials received the body at the airport.
A brief military parade and religious service were held at the airport in his honour, with a Zimbabwe Defence Forces chaplain general leading the prayer.
Thousands of people also turned up at Robert Mugabe International Airport to receive the body of the former President, who ruled the country for 37 years since independence in 1980 until his resignation in Nov 2017.
The atmosphere was resonance before the arrival of the body as the crowd, made up mostly of young people, locals and foreigners sang revolutionary songs in praise of the late founding father of the nation, who was renowned for championing black majority rule.
The crowd whistled, blew vhuvhuzelas and beat conga drums as they sang and danced in praise of their revered iconic leader, who championed access to education, health and economic empowerment for his previously marginalised black countrymen.
Addressing the gathering, Mnangagwa described the late former leader as “our founding President, an icon of Pan-Africanism, the man that created our nation.”
He said the nation was aggrieved by his passing on and extended its sincere condolences to his widow and children.
“The light which led us to independence is gone but his works and ideas will continue to guide this nation,” he said.
“May I take this opportunity to say on the day we shall lay him to rest my appeal to you is to come in your numbers to show your love,” said Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa told the crowd that further details of the programme leading to the burial of the late President would be announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs later.
A number of Heads of State and Governments, especially from the region, are expected to attend the burial.