By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
The decision on where to bury the late Roman Catholic Priest, Father Emmanuel Ribeiro is yet to be made despite being conferred national hero status following claims by his church that it has a special necropolis (special cemetery) for its leaders, Nehanda Radio can reveal.
Fr Ribeiro died at St Anne’s Hospital in Harare on Thursday morning after a short illness.
He was 86.
Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri declared him a national hero on Friday
On Saturday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa attended a funeral service at the old Highfields Catholic Church. He publicly requested for a Heroes Acre status for late Fr Ribeiro.
He specifically asked the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Harare Robert Christopher Ndlovu:
“Your Grace, we ask your church to give us this child to bury. But you have an honour to make your own decision and we will respect it,” he asked.
Responding to Mnangagwa’s call, Archbishop Ndlovu said the church was going to decide on how to bury the remains of late Fr Ribeiro but hinted it was like going to the “the uncharted waters”, literally meaning if he is buried at the Heroes Acre, it will be a historical decision.
“I say to you, we have to accept both of us that it is the first of its kind to receive this honour. So, we will be kind of going to the uncharted waters as it were kana tasvika ipapo. But we have heard your request and we will discuss it with the family. We will update you on our agreement but right now I cannot give you a straightforward answer,” he said.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, a source that spoke on condition of anonymity said family members who include Father Chikukwa, Mhetekwa, Muguti and Mhekwa were going to meet Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe to discuss in order to make a “historical decision”.