Zimbabwe and the Catholic Community have been plunged into mourning following the death of the Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mutare, Right Reverend Patrick Mumbure Mutume.
He was 74.
Mutare Diocese Bishop Secretary, Fr Shepherd Munaro, confirmed the death, and said burial arrangements will be announced in due course.
Rt Rev Mutume died at his home in Hospital Hill in Mutare on Wednesday in the afternoon. He was suffering from a kidney ailment.
He was diagnosed with a kidney failure in 2008.
Rt Rev Mutume was surviving on the dialysis machine, which is so taxing that it took its toll on his health. Bishop Mutume was born in October 1943.
He was ordained to priesthood on 3 September 1973, and subsequently appointed auxiliary bishop of Mutare in 1979 after the expulsion of the Bishop of Mutare, the late Rt Rev Donal Lamont, by the Rhodesian government because of his support for the Zimbabwe liberation war.
He was consecrated on 17 June 1979 at Sakubva Stadium.
Bishop Mutume played critical roles in the Church and the national at large. He was once in charge of all the guilds of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe under the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference.
He is credited with uniting the Marian Guilds in Zimbabwe so that they become one family to show the universality of the Catholic Church.
He was also the Bishop President of all the laity in Zimbabwe. He then made history by organising and co-ordinating the inaugural All Peoples’ Congress at Borrowdale Race Course in Harare in September 2013.
In the national arena, he played a big role during the liberation and post-independence era of Zimbabwe.
He embarked on numerous rescue operations in warzones like Avilla in Nyanga and Nyanyadzi, sometimes driving in his sleeping gown to go and evacuate Nuns in these missions who were under threat from the Rhodesian soldiers.
After independence, the Bishop played a leading role when the Church was called on to mediate after the 2008 elections impasse, which led to the Global Political Agreement and subsequently the formation of the inclusive Government. Rt Rev Mutume’s wish was to see the church taking a leading role in uniting all people in peace and justice.