ZANU PF has confirmed being betrayed by late former President Robert Mugabe's family which secretly wheeled the ex-leader's body to Zvimba Thursday for a private burial Saturday.
Mugabe's party said in a Friday statement that his family sneaked away with the former leader's body to his home village in Mashonaland West, where an announcement followed that he was to be buried there.
Zanu PF said it was "shocking" that Mugabe's family went behind both government and the party to plan a burial for the late leader when there was an agreement that he be interred at the national shrine.
"All will remember that the Zanu PF Politburo declared the former President a National Hero soon after his death," said the party.
Zanu PF said an agreement was reached with the family for the late leader to be given a befitting burial in a mausoleum that is in the process of being built at the National Heroes Acre, Harare.
Said Zanu PF, "With the construction of the mausoleum progressing within the defined timeframe, all patriotic Zimbabweans were shocked to learn that the remains of the former President had been surreptitiously taken yesterday (Thursday) to Zvimba for a private burial on Saturday 28 September 2019.
"We indeed respect the wishes of families of deceased heroes, hence get saddened when manoeuvres that border on political gimmicks begin to unfold on an issue concerning an illustrious liberation icon."
Until Thursday, Mugabe's body was being kept at the former leader's Blue Roof mansion in Harare's Borrowdale suburb awaiting the completion of the mausoleum.
But there were tensions between government and family during the period post Mugabe death amid claims government was trying hard to have the founding leader buried at the national shrine.
Reports say Mugabe expressed a wish during his long illness to be buried in his rural home, over 80km west of Harare.