Moshi — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has described the death of the retired bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Moshi, the late Right Reverend Amedeus Msarikie, as a big loss to the nation.
The president was speaking during the burial of the bishop. The departed bishop was laid to rest in a grave located inside the Christ the King Cathedral.
The burial ceremony was also attended by retired presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin William Mkapa.
Also present were former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa,the Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Mr Leonidas Gama and other dignitaries.
"We have been deprived of a dedicated and committed development activist whose contribution to social services was immense," the president said in a condolence message he delivered before the congregation at the Cathedral.
President Kikwete told the congregation that he was saddened upon learning of the death of the bishop who was among people who strongly believed that 'Education was the key to life.' Mr Kikwete said that the death had delivered a destructive blow to what the departed bishop had planned to accomplish.
He added that the late Bishop Msarikie was instrumental in the establishment of the church-owned Mwenge University College of Education whose objective was to train science teachers whose shortage in schools is critical. President Kikwete also described the late Bishop Msarikie as a leader who dedicated himself in the welfare of fellow human beings.
He preached peace, solidarity and love, the president said. Earlier, delivering a condolence message on behalf of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Nuncio in Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco Padila said the deceased was a good bishop who cared so much about the spiritual well-being of his followers.
"On behalf of the Holy Father, allow me to deliver a heartfelt message of condolence to the entire clergy and Catholic adherents in the Moshi Diocese," he said. In his sermon during the requiem mass, which was celebrated by a number of Bishops and Priests and led by the President of Tanzania Episcopal Conference, Bishop Tarikisius Ngalalekumtwa, the Archbishop of Arusha Diocese, His Grace Josephat Lobulu, said life and death were mysteries beyond human knowledge.
He told the congregation that the late Bishop Msarikie had unique virtues and stand in life, all worth emulating. He added that just as nobody had chosen his or her parents, likewise, nobody was incapable of arranging his or her birth and death.
Meanwhile, Marc Nkwame reports from Arusha that President Kikwete will today lead other former presidents and prime ministers of Tanzania at the burial of the departed head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church's Northern and Central Diocese, Bishop Thomas Laizer. The office of the Arusha Regional Commissioner has informed the 'Daily News' that the immediate former President, Benjamin William Mkapa and his predecessor, Mr Ali Hassan Mwinyi will all be present at the burial mass which starts here at midday.
Also expected at the burial mass on Friday are former prime ministers, Edward Lowassa and Frederick Sumaye. The mass will be said by the Meru bishops Paul Akyoo and Gabriel Kimerei. Bishop Laizer, who died last Thursday, will be buried at the 'Mjini-Kati' town cathedral on Friday afternoon.