Desecrator of Catholic Cathedral in Tanzania Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

The 26 February 2023 desecration at Mary Queen of Peace Cathedral of Tanzania’s Geita Diocese. Credit: Geita Diocese

A Court in Tanzania has sentenced Elpidius Edward to three years in prison for the 26 February 2023 desecration of Mary Queen of Peace Cathedral of Tanzania’s Geita Diocese

Edward was found guilty of destroying property worth TZS 48.2 million (US$19,053.00) in the desecration.

The defendant had been charged with breaking and entering the house of worship contrary to Article 291(1) and (2) of the Penal Code and damage of property worth TZS 48.2 million.

While giving his judgment on Tuesday, January 16, Geita Resident Magistrate, Johari Kijuwile, said Edward had confessed to destroying Church property without being coerced.

According to Mwananchi, Magistrate Kijuwile added that medical reports indicated that Edward was of sound mind while committing the crime and that the court did not doubt that the crime of desecration was deliberate. 


On the charge of breaking and entering the Catholic church, the Tanzanian Magistrate said the charge sheet did not indicate the time at which the crime was committed as required by law. 

Edward is said to have broken into the Cathedral of the Catholic Diocese of Geita on the night of 26 February 2023, and committed “blasphemy against” the Body of Christ.

“There was also a great blasphemy against the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, and the desecration of the sanctity of this Church building and the various equipment of Holy worship,” Bishop Flavian Matindi Kassala of Geita said in a statement. 

Following the desecration, Bishop Kassala suspended liturgical celebrations in the Cathedral of Mary Queen of Peace and called for a 20-day repentance period.

The Cathedral Church was reopened on 18 March 2023 after it was blessed.

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Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.