The Catholic Church in Musoma Diocese is faced with the challenge of harmful traditional practices. One major traditional practice that is posing a challenge is that of marrying corpse of unmarried female children, women and widows.
The Luo who inhabit Kagera Region in Tanzania, have it that a female child who dies before marriage, her corpse should not enter into the house of the parents until the corpse is married by young man who pay the dowry so that he can be allowed to bury the body .
Bishop Michael Msongazila of Musoma Diocese speaking to AMECEA correspondents in Tanzania said that he has struggled to fight against this bad practice by conducting seminars, education and discussions on these rituals. He however remains sad because elders from some clans in Musoma persist on retaining their traditions and refuse to change.
He noted a recent example of a 17 years old girl who died before she was married. Luo traditional elders refused her corpse to be buried. They brought a man who was ready to marry a corpse so that he may bury her and after that he was to be given a relative sister of a dead girl as an exchange. They believe that the process if for removing the misfortune in the family.
After her death the Luo elders refused her corpse to be brought into her parents house until a man marries the corpse so that she may have the rights to be buried and laterthe man will come in the family to choose another daughter to marry on behalf of the deceased.
The parish priest accepted to burry her around the parish and from there is a misunderstanding between the Luo tradition leaders and the family. Parish Priest said the incident is violation of human rights especially for girls. They have to be respected like other human being. Any human being whether is dead or live belongs to God and has respect.
He said it is real a challenge for the Catholic Church around Luo people who stand their belief and never want to change. The parish priest of the parish said that such atrocities are inappropriate and will not agree with them completely because he will make sure he rebuke with all his strength to stop such cruelty brutal to the poor widow and son female.
He also wanted the Catholic Church in Tanzania, government, National and international Congress for Human rights, gender activists and lawyers to help the Catholic Church in Musoma in eradicating some tradition which are inhuman especially protect the female children and women in Rorya.
By Veronica Modest Rorya