Roman Catholic priest, Father Raymond Manyanga led thousands of mourners in paying their last respects to Ms Akwilina Akwilini at the National Institute of Transport Grounds (NIT) in Dar es Salaam.
Ms Akwilina – who was shot during the demonstrations Friday last week – is later today expected to be transported to Rombo for actual burial.
An autopsy report has revealed that the 22-year-old student died of a massive gunshot wound to the head, apparently a result of gun shots from police as they (the police) sought to break up a rally by opposition Chadema.
Below are some extracts from his speech:
“This funeral is for every Tanzanian….We have all gathered here irrespective of our religious beliefs, gender and age…We are all here”.
“Our coming together is a clear indication that God has a message for Tanzanians. God cannot wish that something bad should happen to us”.
“We must pray to God so that He can show us the right path since He is the way, the light and the truth”.
“I don’t want to get into the details of how and why it happened because it is not my role to do so but through religion, we believe that God has a message for us all. As God’s children, we must listen to His message and act according to what He says so that a similar occurrence doesn’t reoccur”.
“The media has been telling us that she was shot dead but I cannot say how. Maybe, this has made us to be afraid and that is probably why, every person would want to know how….That is why we must pray so that a similar thing does not reoccur”.
“We do not exist to be conducting worships of this nature…We would rather be worshiping in a different manner. We must pray to God so that what triggered this to happen should not happen again”.
Too young to die
“She was too young to die…This is disheartening. Let’s learn from God so that we can change from our wicked ways”.
“The gun shot was fired by a sane person. Let’s pray for wisdom so that we can be able to ask ourselves as to why that person decided to open fire”.
“We recently celebrated 50 years of our country’s independence but unfortunately, we are going back like we are still teenagers”.
“If God has allowed you to be people’s servant, then learn from what Jesus once taught his followers… Jesus Christ gave us the Eight Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount”.
I will also speak about some Beatitudes:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” Jesus said “A person who has fear for the Lord and he who understands that life is a gift will never go and destroy someone’s life”
Jesus said: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” “We must pray that God should bless us so we can be meek and stop being proud”.
Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God”. “If we agree that with over 50 years, our country is old enough to deal with its own challenges, then we must accept to become peacemakers. We must agree that we are all God’s children. We have been devastated by Akwilina’s sudden departure so allow me to ask those in authority to bring peace and healing. The one who did this should come out and ask for forgiveness from the entire country. He should use a mass medium of communication like Television to do so….Jailing him for 30 or 40 years will never bring Akwilina back to life. Today, it is Akwilina, who knows who will be next?
“The government stands a better chance to coordinate this. The government has full responsibility over our lives. Just like it has taken control of funeral expenses, so it should also ensure that we are safe. We are hopeful that the government will once again bring us together so we can work together as one nation”.