Fallen Laigwanan Lowassa honoured

ARUSHA: FOR the Maasai tribe, the traditional mace given to someone as a symbol of honour and authority is usually taken back upon death.

However, this will be different for the late Edward Lowassa, an East African Laigwanan. The traditional mace given to him will remain in his home and be inherited by one of his children. It was also clarified that despite being a Laigwanan (traditional leader), Lowassa will not be buried traditionally because he was a baptised Christian. Vice-Chairman of Ilaigwanan in Monduli District, Sironga Mollel, revealed this when speaking to the ‘Daily News’ at the residence of the late Lowassa on Wednesday.

Despite admitting that Lowassa was baptised, Mollel requested the government to give them a chance during the burial ceremony on Saturday this week to pray for him without performing any traditional rituals.

“We have requested the government to give a chance to our traditional leaders to pray for their fellow Laigwanan Lowassa so that Almighty God may receive him in his eternal life.

We are grateful to the Regional Commissioner, John Mongella, who accepted our request and has allowed us to pray for Lowassa tomorrow; the prayer will not involve any traditional rituals,” said Mollel.

Regarding the traditional mace, Laigwanan Mollel said that it is not expected to be taken from the family of Lowassa, but it will be inherited by one of his children. He said that according to Maasai traditions, the mace is a symbol of honour and serves as a shield for the President. It gives the person who carries it the right to be their Laigwanan.

“The mace given to the Laigwanan must be black, so it must come from the mpingo tree known as ‘Atiyasika’ in the Maasai language. The black colour represents black clouds in the sky, and it is a tradition that we have inherited from our ancestors,” said Mollel.

He added that the mace will remain with the late Lowassa’s wife until 40 days after his burial. Afterward, the Laigwanan will meet to decide which of Lowassa’s sons has the merit to inherit it.

According to Mollel, the son who is supposed to inherit it must be wise and respectful, live well with others, and have the ability to make wise decisions on issues involving other people.

However, Laigwanan Mollel said that the late Lowassa will be laid to rest at Ngarash Village in Monduli Town, while Sokoine was laid to rest at Enguike Village in Monduli Juu, a distance of about 15 kilometres from where Lowassa will be buried. Meanwhile, the late Lowassa has been mentioned as a limitless leader in matters pertaining to religious faith, as he respected and collaborated with all religions.

The Bishop of the Lutheran Church in East Africa (LCEA), Dr Philemon Mollel, said that although Lowassa was a follower of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (KKKT), this did not prevent him from collaborating with other religious denominations, whether Christian or Islamic. He loved them all.

“When he was invited to contribute to the construction of churches, he did not hesitate to do so. He also supported religious development projects like the construction of schools,” said Bishop Mollel.

According to him, Lowassa was a unifying figure among all Maasai people in East Africa, especially in Tanzania and Kenya. Furthermore, he said that Lowassa was a Laigwanan who was highly respected due to his wisdom.

“Tanzanians will continue to remember him for his contributions to the education sector, particularly for establishing ward secondary schools, which now help the majority of Tanzanian children to receive a secondary education,” he said.

Bishop Mollel further stated that Lowassa was a man of the people, regardless of their gender or age. Solomoni Masangwa, Lutheran Church Bishop of the Central Northern Diocese, among other things, said that KKKT has lost a person who was an important figure in the development of the Church in the country.

On his part, Justin Nyali, Chairman of small miners in Manyara, said that the former Prime Minister will be remembered as a leader and teacher of forgiveness.

He will also be remembered as a creative leader who supported youth and Tanzanians in general. Nyali mentioned this when speaking to the ‘Daily News’ at Lowassa’s residence in Monduli.

He said that he got to know Lowassa when he was 16 or 20 years old, and from there, they were close friends until Lowassa’s death separated them.

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