Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema says the country is ready to host the funeral service of former President Robert Mugabe on Saturday.

Scores of African leaders will be attending the proceedings with thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans expected to converge on the country’s National Stadium.

Mathema has urged mourners to arrive early.

“The Department, the country, everyone is ready for tomorrow, Saturday. Everything is going very well indeed. Isikhathi, anytime like normal, around 10 o’clock… as early as they can, because really tomorrow is the Heads of state, the Former heads of state, the family and all of us will be at the National Sports Centre. We don’t have any challenges at all. We are ready for everything.”

Meanwhile, a number of Zimbabweans have appealed to the government to keep the lights on this weekend as preparations gather pace for the Mugabe’s state funeral. Many people are expected to follow the ceremony on TV.

Esther Magonda, who lives in Highfields, is a long-time neighbour of the Mugabes. The old woman says they did not immediately know of his passing.

“We did see it. We don’t have electricity here. The electricity comes at around 11, 12. So, we never know what is happening or what is happening in the news. We have no knowledge of the arrangements for the funeral. We would have been happy if they had made arrangements for us as his neighbours to attend the funeral.”

A burial ceremony is expected to take place at the Heroes Acre. However, Mugabe’s family has confirmed that this is unlikely to happen on Sunday. The body will reportedly only be interred after traditional ceremonies take place in Mugabe’s home village.