By Nompumelelo Sibanda
THE Roman Catholic Church has issued a statement on the announcement by Government that the late Father Emmanuel Ribeiro will be buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare and not at the church’s Chishawasha Cemetry.
The statement by the church comes after social media was awash with insinuations that Zanu-PF had “grabbed” the late heroe priest from Chishawasha burial for political expedience.
But in a statement released last night, which we publish below in full, the Catholic Archbishop of Harare says its leadership met with Government officials and agreed that heroe priest be buried at the National Heroes Acre.
Speaking early at a funeral service in Harare, President Mnangagwa implored with the church to let the State bury Father Ribeiro alongside “his colleagues” at the National Heroes Acre.
Father Ribeiro was declared a national hero for the stellar role he played during the liberation struggle and afterwards: risking his life and securiy assisting top liberation icons and crafting the National Anthem, among other roles he played.
His burial is set for Monday under strict Covid-19 regulations. In a statement, Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana said: “Tomorrow, 20 June 2021, the body leaves Doves Funeral Parlour at 1400 hrs for a mass at the St Mary’s Queen of Peace
Parish, in Old Highfield.
“After the mass, the body will be taken
back to Doves Funeral Services. On the day of burial, Monday 21 June 2021, The body will be
taken to Old Highfield for a mass. The cortege will then leave Old Highfield at 0955 hrs for the national shrine.” – Zimbabwe Voice ■