Father Riberio was more than just a priest, he was a nationalist – President Mnangagwa

by | Jun 21, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa on Saturday described late Catholic Priest Father Emmanuel Riberio as more than an ordinary Priest but a true embodiment of an undying spirit of nationalism.

President Mnangagwa said this while addressing the mourners at St Mary’s Queen of Peace parish in Highfield this weekend, where he visited the departed clergy`s family and church colleagues to commiserate with them.

He said Father Riberio was a rare breed of the clergy as he took his time to interact with prisoners of war at Harare Central Prison as he did his duties as a Prison Chaplain.

“Father Riberio was different from any other Priests who would visit us in Prison. He would take his time after mass to interact and share liberation war stories with us. He played a pivotal role in getting me removed from the death row,” explained President Mnangagwa.

The late National Hero would later known to be responsible for the safe passage of late President Cde Robert Mugabe and Cde Edgar Tekere’s safe passage from Harare to the Mozambique war camps through Marondera.

He smuggled them out of Harare using undesignated routes.

He took the personal risk to save the struggle by assisting the leaders of the struggle.

In trademark humility, President Mnangagwa took time to beg the Church and the family to grant government permission to confer the late cleric with the highest honour in the land, that of National Hero, and to give him befitting send-off at the National Heroes Acre.
He gave them a choice to disagree and do what they see fit, however they decided that Father Ribeiro be buried at the National Heroes Acre.

Father Riberio has been a volunteer fighter of the liberation struggle throughout the war up to the time of his death.
After Independence, he took upon the onerous task to trace and identify all unknown fallen heroes of the struggle. He was responsible for tracking, identification and documenting all fallen liberation fighters like the famous Chinhoyi seven some of whose real names were not known, and neither were their relatives.

Father Riberio has worked with the government in documenting all these fighters and correcting certain pieces which would rather have been distorted.

He had become a friend of the struggle in his robes and collar.

President Mnangagwa revealed that it was his pleasure and he was truly grateful to God that Father Riberio had lived to see and at least enjoy the independence that he had ceaselessly prayed and fought for.

He risked his personal life and that of his family when he volunteered to protect fighters.

Today`s funeral itinerary
0700 hours – Body will be taken back to St. Mary’s Parish
0800 hours – Holy Mass
After that, father Ribeiro will be buried at the National Heroes Acre.