20 February 2013

Tanzania: Bukoba Diocese to Hold Mass for Slain Church Leaders

Bukoba — THE Bukoba Catholic Diocese will today hold a memorial mass to honour several Church leaders who were killed or injured in recent incidents related to religious conflicts.

The Bukoba Vicar General, Fr David Mubirigi, said the mass will be held at the Bukoba Cathedral starting at 06:30am, and prayers will focus on peace in the country. He noted that the Church leaders include the late Father Evaristus Mushi, who was gunned down last Sunday morning as he was preparing to conduct Sunday Mass at St Theresian Church in Zanzibar.

Others are Pastor Mathayo Kachila (45) of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAGAT) who died on February 11, this year, during skirmishes at Buseresere town, in Geita Region and Father Ambrose Mkenda of the Catholic Church, who was critically injured by unknown people in Zanzibar, last year.

Father Evarist Mushi of the St Joseph Parish in Shangani Unguja, was shot dead on Sunday morning by unidentified people. The incident took place at Beit-el-Ras area close to the Catholic Church at Mtoni area in Zanzibar Urban West. Last year on Christmas day, another priest with Mpendae Roman Catholic Church in the Isles, Ambrose Mkenda, was also shot by unidentified people at his Tomondo residence.

Reports said that Father Mkenda was shot twice as he entered his Tomondo residence from work. Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Dar es Salaam Archdiocese, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, was quoted by a section of the media saying that the killing of Father Evarist Mushi was planned and if security organs had been alert, it could have been averted.

Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam, he said although he was not an expert in security matters, he was convinced the killing of the priest on Sunday was plotted. He, however, called upon Catholics in the country to shun violence and revenge, saying this would help ease the situation.

He said the killing did not augur well for the nation, coming after the shooting of Father Ambrose Mkenda in December, last year. "We have been receiving leaflets from people calling themselves members of Uamsho saying, the struggle will continue," said Cardinal Pengo, displaying one of the said leaflets.

He said the fact that he received one of the leaflets, shows that many people must have received them, and that the security forces knew what was going on. Cardinal Pengo warned: "Allowing these clear acts of breach of the law to continue, is extremely dangerous and will plunge the country into chaos".

He announced that he will lead the funeral mass for Father Mushi, who will be buried in Zanzibar, today. The service which will also serve as a prayer mass for the nation will begin at 10am. Cardinal Pengo has advised the government to come up with new investigation techniques including involving 'wananchi' and religious leaders to stop such killing and that of other innocent people in the country.

Meanwhile, Police in Zanzibar revealed that they have not arrested anybody in connection with the killing of Father Mushi, adding that they were only interrogating some people in connection with the incident.

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