Funeral eulogies stress hope and reconciliation

10May 2019
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
Funeral eulogies stress hope and reconciliation

THOUSANDS of mourners from the northern regions of Kilimanjaro and Arusha yesterday braved morning showers to attend a requiem mass and pay last respects to the late Executive Chairman of IPP Group of Companies, Dr Reginald Mengi.

Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Bishop Dr Fredrick Shoo pays his last respects.

Crowds of men, women and children thronged the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) main church in the municipality to participate in the funeral mass and last respects before the philanthropist and prominent businessman was laid to rest at his rural home in Kisereni, Machame East ward of Hai district.

Despite the light showers in the morning the mourners were not hindered from lining up to view Dr Mengi's body which arrived at the church at around 7 am from his Machame home where it spent a night after arriving from Dar es Salaam.

The mass was led by head of the ELCT, Bishop Dr Fredrick Shoo, with mourners arriving at the church from as early as 6-am, thus subjecting security officers to a busy morning ensuring everything was under control.

Various  government  and political  party leaders attended the ceremony led by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, and included Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker Ngoga Martin, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Luhaga Mpina and the minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development,  William Lukuvi .

Others were the Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe, CCM Secretary General Dr Bashiru Ally, former Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe and Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Anna Mghwira.

Speaking on behalf of the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), advocate Harold Sungusia said the council will remember Dr Mengi for his dedication to conserving the environment, saying he never took a penny from his position, despite having some accompanying allowances.

Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) Secretary General Neville Meena said the media industry has lost a father, mentor and supporter who dedicated his life towards seeing the media in Tanzania prosper.

"He took personal efforts to teach and visit us wherever necessary. We will never forget his advice and support during our trying times; indeed we have lost a great man and pillar to the industry," said Meena.

Peter Muthoki, the Chief Executive Officer of the East African Business Council said words alone cannot be enough to describe Dr Mengi's contribution to the business community in East Africa.

He said Dr Mengi brought hope towards integration and doing business in the region. He chaired the council in 2008-2009.

During his time he proposed that the EAC Business Council be part of official institutions of the East African Community (EAC) and its deliberations put to approval and signature by the EAC summit, meetings of the Heads of State.

 "We are saddened by his demise. His death is a great blow to those who believe in EAC integration," he said.

The headmistress of Maasai Secondary in Arusha where Dr Mengi supported girls’ education said Dr Mengi did a great job in supporting girl child education.

In his message, Abdiel Mengi described his father as a patriot who dared to break through and bridged gaps of inequality among human beings.

“He was patriotic to his country, Africa, humanity and faithful to God. This made him give more than receiving,” Abdiel said. “He was a man who touched on various key issues including promoting the disabled and the underprivileged.”

Abdiel said his father was talented to see opportunities and was able to persuade those surrounding him to believe in his visions.

He thanked the support they have received from the government and other individuals from the time of his demise.

Bishop Dr Shoo, reading good news from Matthew 25 vs 31_ 40 said Dr Mengi was a gift to all Tanzanians.

"But we have hope in Jesus who conquered death and said you have hope for God is there," said Dr Shoo.

He told the family that despite the tragic loss, they have to look up to God for help and clear the way forward.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a condolence message read on his behalf by his sister, Nyakabi Kenyatta said he learned the death of Dr Mengi with profound shock.

 “We in Kenya have lost a great East African who had the ability to understand current challenges and turn them into opportunities," Kenyatta said in the message.

He said Dr Mengi lived a life of single-minded service to development, and his death should go down as hope for young Africans striving to fight poverty.

In his eulogy, Freeman Mbowe said Dr Mengi was a humble man whose words were always aimed at building and reconciliation.

"As we mourn Dr Mengi, let us remember that we are one and we need not be divided by our political parties, races, tribes and other affiliations," said Mbowe amid applause.

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