19 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe At Sister's Memorial Service

Photo: Newzimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe and his wife at Bridget's memorial.

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was seen in public on Sunday as he attended a memorial service for his sister at State House in Harare.

Reporters were allowed at the event where the tired looking and fidgety leader constantly conferred with his wife, Grace, as he followed proceedings which included a short prayer conducted by Catholic priest and family friend Fidelis Mukonori.

Mugabe's youngest sister, Bridget, passed away at Parirenyatwa Hospital Sunday morning after a three-year-stint in the intensive care unit since collapsing at the burial of elder sister Sabina in August 2010.

Bridget was Mugabe's only surviving sibling.

An unidentified Defence Ministry chaplain spoke of the torment Mugabe suffered over her illness.

"The President was really touched by his sister's deteriorating health," said the chaplain.

"When we met in 2010 at then Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa's residence following Mbuya Mnangagwa's death you did not say you wanted doctors.

"You could order the Health Minister to send all doctors and the best medical personnel to take care of her. But you said you wished your mother was alive. You said, Your Excellency, a mother occupies a very special place in people's lives."

Meanwhile, Mukonori said he had offered Bridget a job at Silveira House during the war because she could not get work particularly after Mugabe assumed the leadership of the liberation movement in Mozambique.

He described her as an impulsive person who almost strangled a colleague at a university in Canada in the early years of independence.

"She did not take any nonsense from anyone," said Mukonori.

He said Mugabe's youngest sister had suffered at the hands of Zanu's political opponents following the 1963 split of Zanu claiming her injuries could have resulted in her collapse almost four years ago from which she never recovered.

Deputy President Joice Mujuru, Defence Minister Sidney Sekeramayi, Minister in Mugabe's office Didymus Mutasa, Mashonaland Central Governor Martin Dinha, Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa a relative of Mugabe as well as Philip Chiyangwa attended the event along with the who-is-who of the country's military and security establishment.

Bridget will be buried at Kutama in Zvimba communal lands on Tuesday, a family spokesperson said.

She is survived by one daughter and an unknown number of grandchildren.

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