A Massive showdown is looming between government and the late former President Robert Mugabe’s family over funeral costs that are likely to run into tens of millions of dollars, amid reports the bereaved family has been subcontracting suppliers without government consent, the Zim Morning Post has heard.
This comes barely a couple of days after the Nyaradzo Group clashed with the Home affairs ministry over the costs of catering services that clicked ZW$2,5 million for the first five days since Mugabe’s body arrived in the country.
The Home Affairs ministry is mandated to arrange all funerals for declared national heroes.
Sources say the Home affairs ministry has maintained having put in place its own registered funeral service providers capable of supplying it with all funeral requirements such as water and food items without it bleeding financially.
This has, however, seen the lavish Mugabe family locking horns with the State as it all along has been snubbing government service providers and subcontracting their own.
Reports are that most of the service providers subcontracted by the family are closely linked to them, implying an attempt by the family to probably milk the State for one last time.
Sources revealed that traditional government service providers like Rooney’s supplied the tents but the family outsourced other providers for the same service.
One immediate example of this clash made headlines in the media as there was evident tension between Doves Holdings and Nyaradzo Group over who would have the onus of presiding over Mugabe’s funeral.
Doves has the contract with government to bury national heroes while Nyaradzo was subcontracted by the Mugabe family to provide catering services and other equipment like mobile toilets, chairs, and mobile sleepers.
Doves came in for undertaking services.
Since government announced that the State will fund Mugabe’s funeral the bill from Nyaradzo which is running into millions already is expected to be submitted to government for payment.
Sources who spoke to Zim Morning Post revealed that government was not happy with the way the funeral was being handled and that a clash with the family is imminent.
“A meeting was held on Monday, and I can confirm that government is not happy at all,” said the source.
“Obviously, nothing is being said at the moment because the family is still grieving but this will not end well. We are speaking of austerity yet the Mugabe family’s way of handling things is pulling in the opposite direction.
“There is not enough money to finance all this. And also, the funeral is running for too long and it is milking the State which is run on the taxpayers’ money.”
The death of Mugabe on September 6 has become an expensive affair, with Nyaradzo providing five star meals to mourners.
Since the announcement of Mugabe’s demise, the taxpayer has been bearing the costs.
The funeral, by its nature, has attracted a lot of attention from citizens nationwide and internationally as a result of Mugabe’s status and as such, the State has not been spared where expenses are concerned.
After the announcement of Mugabe’s death, the State deployed a team of delegates comprising of government officials and family members led by Vice President Kembo Mohadi to bring his remains home.
Mohadi and other government officials were accompanied by their aides (security detail), with an average government official reportedly pocketing US$1 500 per day while the leader (pocketed presidential allowances) for the three days they were away.
Mugabe’s body was embalmed before it was flown into the country and at world best practice, mummification costs are usually pegged at US$67 000.
The Mohadi-led team, together with members of the Mugabe family, chartered in a Royal Jet back into the country with the remains of Mugabe from Singapore.
The Zim Morning Post understands that the Royal Jet costs at least US$15 000 per hour, with an estimated 15-hour flying distance between Harare and Singapore putting the estimated cost for the jet at US$225 000, excluding other expenses like airport taxes, fuels.
Doves Holdings provided a copper casket for the national hero.
Copper caskets are believed to offer permanent non-rusting materials which have been used for centuries for sculptures and monuments and are considered to be the highest quality available in metal caskets and present a most prestigious statement.
Since the remains of Mugabe jetted into the country, there have been two separate funerals underway where masses were being fed on a daily basis, one at his Blue Roof, Harare, residence funded by government and another at his Kutama rural home, which is being funded by his family.
Nyaradzo Group has so far revealed that as of Monday, it was owed over ZWL$2,5 million for food services provided at the Blue Roof mansion in the past five days.
There are many other expenses that have not yet been accounted for, which leaves the bill continuously growing as it may take long before Mugabe’s body is finally laid to rest.
Food services alone are gobbling a huge ZWL$500 000 a day and the bill is expected to run into tens of millions, all which will be paid for by the government.
Two State functions were also held at Rufaro Stadium, where people from all provinces came to pay their last respects to the man who had been Zimbabwe’s ruler for 37 years before he was ousted from office in November 2017.
After all provinces paid their respects, the last State funeral was held at the National Sports Stadium. Foreign Heads of States from at least 11 countries and other foreign delegates were hosted by the country for a day while attending the function.
All delegates, obviously high-ranking, were given five-star treatment, all on the taxpayers’ card.
Even as Mugabe lies dead in his casket and constantly being transported around, he still remains very expensive.
A mausoleum is being built at the National Heroes Acre and is estimated to cost US$1 million, making this funeral the most expensive affair for Zimbabwe at the moment.