GETTING to everything on the late Bishop Dr Mushemba's obituary will always be a challenging task. Even the longest newspaper profiles about him will definitely out significant chapters.
From a humble beginning in Kamachumu Ward of Muleba District in Kagera Region, the late Dr Mushemba was gifted with unique wisdom of bringing together his people to attain common goal of preaching the gospel of God using little available resources to influence many.
Located in Kagera region, NWD was considered to be in remote area in times when road infrastructures in the country were in bad condition.
This did not stop the late bishop from carrying the duties of coordinating gospel preaching expanding the kingdom of God and complementing government efforts of establishing social services like schools and hospitals to serve people of different religions and denominations.
However, a lot might not be known about this legendary fallen leader on the role he played in his local community and the country at large in his selfless service to humanity.
He assumed top leadership of church in 1984 when he was elected to lead ELCT’s North Western Diocese (NWD). He was later elected to lead ELCT as a presiding Bishop.
His life and work as a leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania touched so many people and left the church strong as religious leaders said in a homily at Bukoba Lutheran Cathedral where he was laid to rest on Wednesday last week.
They described the late Bishop Dr Samson Mushemba, who died a fortnight ago at a Kagera hospital after short illness, as a self-less and devoted leader who helped to make the Evangelical Lutheran Church strong.
The ELCT Presiding Bishop, Dr Fredrick Shoo, said Bishop Mushemba left an indelible mark in the leadership of the church worth emulating by all religious leaders.
He told the mourners that the late Bishop Dr Mushemba would be remembered as an iconic leader who led the church and people with highest degree of integrity and trustworthiness and contributed to build ELCT as a strong religious organisation.
The late Dr Mushemba left a legacy of strong leadership that helped church to serve the people in a holistic manner–spiritually, mentally and physically, he said.
“Dr Mushemba was a humble man and a leader of integrity who never wished to extend his stay on leadership post. He led the church for 16 years and when he was asked to extend his leadership after his time had expired, he rejected and stepped down,” he said.
Other qualities of the departed hero of the church include his ability to bring together people of all religions and unifying ELCT dioceses, he said.
“Bishop Mushemba played a major role of uniting churches not only in Tanzania but across the East African region where he preached peace and strengthened social services offered by ELCT to the community like health and establishment of learning institutions,”
Bishop Desiderius Rwoma of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bukoba, described the late Mushemba’s good deeds to the wider community as been a great gift from God.
He told mourners that as they commemorated his life, they must remember that he strived to promote national peace and mutual relations to people from all walks of life.
Bishop Dr Abednego Keshomshahara of the NWD described the deceased as a dedicated leader who spent most of his life serving the people.
“The diocese is mourning the passing of a dedicated leader. He will forever live in our hearts. May he rest in peace,” he said.
According to Bishop Dr Keshomshahara, Bishop Dr Mushemba’s contribution to the church and the entire community will not be forgotten.
“Our father was kind and loving who dedicated his life to serve the needy.
In our home we live with other children from poor families, he never discriminated other people based on their religion or income levels,” said his youngest son Josephat Mushemba during the burial service.
The late Bishop Dr Mushemba was born on June 30, 1935, and he was the third bishop for NWD, after Bishops Dr Josiah Kibira and Prof Bengt Sunker (a Swedish national).
He was ELCT presiding Bishop after the late Bishop Dr Stephano Moshi and Dr Sebastian Kolowa.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; May the name of the LORD be praised.