Former President Robert Mugabe’s children, Mrs Bona Mugabe-Chikore and Robert Jnr, yesterday saluted the Government and everyone who has stood with them in their time of mourning.
The two also described Cde Mugabe as a fatherly figure who was admired across the world.
Mrs Mugabe-Chikore and Robert Jnr said this while addressing mourners at their rural home in Kutama Village, Zvimba.
First to take to the podium was Mrs Mugabe-Chikore, who thanked God for giving her father a long life.“When I was growing up I knew that my father was an elderly man and was afraid that I would wake up one day to hear that he is sick or that he is no longer with us,” she said.
“So I prayed a lot for God to keep him at least so that I be able to graduate and then after (that) I prayed to God that he keeps him until I wed so that he would walk me down the aisle. Then I also prayed that he be kept alive that he at least sees only one of my children; now he saw two of them.
“So I thank God for his life because it was so blessed even though it was difficult. There are people like that who are placed here on earth and whose lives may seem like they are suffering, but in reality their suffering benefited millions of people so I am grateful to God for his life.
“I want to thank all of you who have come to mourn with us and Government for its assistance, but most of all, I want to thank our mother. She has been on our father’s side throughout, even in sickness.”Mr Mugabe said the death of his father had made him realise the impact he had across the world.
“The loss of our father has made me realise what type of a man he was. He was not only a father to us as his children or a husband to our mother, but he was a father to the nation and the whole of Africa,” he said.
“The whole world came to a standstill when he died and the coming of many leaders from across the world made me realise what kind of a man our father was. The impact that he had not only in the country, but all over the world, is something that I admire. Despite the criticisms he received from the British and other countries, he was still admired by many.”
Mr Mugabe added that even those who did not like him, also admired him for his values and what he stood for.The former President’s body was later returned to his Blue Roof residence yesterday.
Nyepudzayi Bona Mugabe is a Zimbabwean business woman. She is the only daughter of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe, who also have two sons. She shares the name with Robert Mugabe's mother.
Bona Mugabe attended Dominican Convent Primary School. In 2008, Bona Mugabe was deported from Australia while studying there along with seven other children of senior members of the Mugabe regime. The Australian government said that they did not want the children of those responsible for human rights abuses in Zimbabwe to get an education unavailable to the ordinary Zimbabwean citizen.
She then enrolled in Autumn 2008 under an alias at the City University of Hong Kong, although initial reports erroneously said she had enrolled at the University of Hong Kong. Her being in Hong Kong was discovered by media after her mother, Grace Mugabe allegedly assaulted British photojournalist Richard Jones for taking pictures of her shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui in January 2009. The report prompted Emily Lau Wai-hing, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, to request a review of the decision to admit Bona Mugabe.
News of Bona Mugabe studying in Hong Kong reached Zimbabwe at the same time as tuition fee increases, dollarisation of fees, and US$400 examination fees were announced.Protest started on the University of Zimbabwe campus in early February, and over several weeks saw police use tear gas in a failed attempt to stop them reaching downtown Harare. In the end, at least 60 students were arrested. The Zimbabwe National Students Union also delivered a petition to the Chinese embassy in Harare calling on the Chinese government to deport Bona Mugabe so she would be forced to attend a university in her home country. The union also called for the university to expel her even if the government did not deport her.
On 17 February the University of Hong Kong distanced itself from the controversy, denying a report that she was a student there. The school statement said "We do not have a student by the name of Bona Mugabe on our student register, and we do not have any lady student from Zimbabwe who is reading for an undergraduate programme or is at the age of around 20." Subsequent reports clarified that Bona was in fact enrolled in a second school, the City University of Hong Kong, which said she met normal admission requirements and her enrollment was not influenced by her parentage. Due to the attention surrounding Robert Mugabe's daughters her family enlisted the help of a female ex-government official to provide safety and supervision during her time in Hong Kong.
In 2009, Bona Mugabe's bodyguards were accused of assaulting reporters near Bona Mugabe's home in Hong Kong, but no charges were laid. In 2011, Bona Mugabe graduated with an honours degree in accounting and administration. Her father attended her graduation ceremony that November while en route to talks in Beijing and praised the Hong Kong government for protecting her from British journalists. She subsequently also earned a master's degree in banking and finance from the Management Development Institute of Singapore