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MU Worldwide President prays for MV Nyerere ferry disaster victims during Tanzania visit

Posted on: September 25, 2018 3:56 PM
Volunteers arrange the coffins containing the dead bodies of passengers retrieved after the ferry MV Nyerere overturned off the shores of Ukara Island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania on Saturday (22 September).
Photo Credit: Jackson Njehia / Reuters

The Worldwide President of the Mothers’ Union, Lynne Tembey, has prayed for victims of the MV Nyerere ferry disaster during a visit to Tanzania. The MV Nyerere overturned some 50 metres from the shore as it prepared to dock after travelling Ukara and Bugolora Islets last Thursday (20 September). The official death toll rose to 227 today (Tuesday) after another body was recovered from the water.

Tanzania’s Mothers’ Union has been holding its provincial conference and the organisation’s Worldwide President, Lynne Tembey, was amongst those present.

“I was terribly moved by [the disaster] and felt privileged and deeply humbled to be with fellow members as we prayed together for those who were affected,” she said, “those who lost their lives, those who lost loved ones, those who were injured, those who might find it difficult to come to terms with what has happened and those who will minister to all.”

Organisers set aside time for prayer during the conference to pray for those affected. And on Sunday, members of the government joined MU members in Mbeya Cathedral where prayers were said. “They spoke passionately about what had happened and they thanked members and others present for their commitment to prayer,” Tembey said.

“Lake Victoria has a great many boats and ferries on it. This disaster, understandably, has affected people badly. I continue, as I know many will continue, to pray for the people who will support and all those affected.

“May those who lost their lives ‘Rest in peace eternal, and rise in glory everlasting’.

An extra collection was taken during the cathedral service to raise funds for the victims and their families. In total, some 557 million Tanzanian Shillings (approximately £185,000 GBP) has been raised by various voluntary donations – including from the Roman Catholic Episcopal Conference – to support the victims. This is on top of the one million Shillings (£3,000 GBP) that the government has announced it will give to each of the 41 survivors and the families of those killed.

“As I know generosity is at the heart of a Mothers’ Union member, and certainly this was yet another example of compassion and love for others. I was deeply moved seeing the children queuing to add their offering to the collection for the victims, such compassion in children so young.

“Please keep them all in your prayers.”

Many of the dead were buried in a mass funeral on Sunday, attended by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa. “Our country has been hit by a big tragedy,” he said. “We lost brothers, relatives and friends. Our call is for us to be united during this hard time and understand that our countrymen have been left by beloved parents, brothers, sisters, children and friends in this big tragedy. So we need to console them instead of feeding them with bad words. Let’s leave the government and relevant authorities to do their work.”

During her visit to Tanzania, Lynne Tembey opened a new Mothers’ Union Centre in Tukuya, in Tanzania’s Southern Islands. “The centre is very much needed,” an MU Spokesperson said. “It will transform the community and the lives of the people living in it.”

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The Mothers’ Union Worldwide President, Lynne Tembey, opens a new MU Centre in Tukuya, in the Southern Islands of Tanzania.
Photo: Mothers’ Union on Twitter