Father Evarist Mushi who was shot dead on Sunday was buried in Zanzibar yesterday, in a sombre ceremony, with religious leaders, politicians and ordinary people calling for greater efforts to combat the killings.
They said it is high time the government ensured that constitutional rights were protected especially the right to life.
Hundreds of people led by Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein turned up at Minara Miwili church for the funeral mass for the 56-year old priest, which was led by His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo and then proceded to Kitope in North Unguja region for the burial.
For his part Roman Catholic Church bishop of Zanzibar diocese Dr Augustino Shao said that the death of Father Mushi was not God’s will but caused by people with bad intentions for the church and the faith.
“His death is not from God …we should not hide evil,” said Dr Shao.
The family spokesperson Francis Boniface Mushi said they received the death of Father Mushi with great shock because he was not sick, but his life was cut short by a group of murderers.
Bishop Michael Hafidh of the Zanzibar Anglican Diocese said the church had no confidence in the Isles police and the government for failure to safeguard the constitutional right of the people, including right to life and worship.
“We have no confidence in the Unity government because it leaders and executives were diverging from fulfilling their responsibilities,” he said.
Bishop Hafidh said police were capable of controlling the crimes but they have not made enough effort.
Chadema Secretary General Dr Wilbroad Slaa said it was time Tanzanians demanded that their right to life was respected as stipulated in the constitution.
Dr Slaa said what was happening in the country should not be left unchecked. He said the government should find and punish those behind the killings.
NCCR- Mageuzi National Chairman James Mbatia said leaders must fulfill their oaths practically by safeguarding the constitution and the lives of the people they were leading.
Mbatia said bloodshed in the country was being treated as normal while the security organs funded by taxpayers’ money failed to execute their responsibilities.
"The government should stop giving condolences whenever killings occurred and instead should hunt for and arrest the people involved in the crime and charge them in court,” Mbatia said.
Minister of State, the Second Vice President Office Mohamed Aboud Mohamed said the government has received with great sorrow the death of Father Mushi, taking into account the circumstances of his death.
Aboud said Father Mushi was a spiritual leader who preached peace and unity for the benefit of his followers and the nation as well.
For his part CCM Deputy Secretary General Zanzibar Vuai Ali Vuai said the killing of Farther Mushi was terrorism and the security organs should do hunt for the people who committed the inhuman act.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Dar es Salaam Roman Catholic followers yesterday evening gathered at Dar es Salaam’s St. Joseph’s Cathedral to pray for the slain Roman Catholic Priest, Father Mushi.
The mass that was cconducted by the Auxiliary Bishop of Dar es Salaam Archdiocese Eusebius Nzigilwa also prayed for peace in the country.
In a moving sermon, Bishop Nzigilwa called upon Roman Catholics in the country to pray so that God may have mercy on the nation and protect it from evil.
Bishop Nzigilwa called upon the believers to love their enemies and pray for them as the Bible directed. He said those who killed Fr Mushi were Christ’s enemies and that the priest died a martyr.
In their prayers, the believers prayed to God to protect the nation from religious, political and tribal clashes. They also asked God to help political and religious leaders so they could restore peace and love in the country.