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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Clerics preach peace, respect for human rights

9th April 2012
  `It`s sad some people believe peace and moral ethics are impossible to cultivate and promote`
Young believers carry candles inside Msimbazi Centre Catholic Church in Dar es Salaam. (Photo: Selemani Mpochi)

Leaders of various Christian denominations yesterday appealed to the government to take immediate action to ensure that religious, ideological and other differences among Tanzanians do not endanger peace and unity in the country.

They made the calls during Easter prayers across Tanzania, as Christians in Tanzania joined other faithful across the globe in celebrating Jesus Christ’s Resurrection.

Bishop Godfrey Sehaba of the Morogoro Diocese of the Anglican Church, said that signs of religious, tribal and ideological discrimination were resurfacing among Tanzanians and time was ripe for the government to arrest the situation before it degenerated into chaos.

The cleric, who was leading Easter prayers held at national level in Morogoro municipality, said Tanzania remained a nation built on the foundation of humanity, freedom, equality, respect for basic rights and self-reliance “but there are incidents that have started eating into those crucial tenets”.

“The government should take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the peace and unity prevailing in our country,” he said, noting that the income gap between the rich and the poor has widened and there were people who can’t afford even a single square meal in a day.

Elaborating, Bishop Sehaba said there were many children from poor families who can’t go to school simply because they are without even the little amount of money charged in fees while those from rich families were studying in private schools or abroad.

“Poor people have been going without treatment, with some succumbing to diseases, while wealthy people are sent to countries like India for specialised medical attention even for diseases that could be successfully dealt with in Tanzania,” he noted.

He said life has become especially difficult for many ordinary citizens, partly owing to inflation and unequal distribution of government revenue, causing serious pain, suffering and misery in society.

The situation has caused many people lose hope and engage in criminal and other evil or anti-social behaviour and activities such a witchcraft in a frantic bid to get a quick buck and make both ends meet.

Bishop Telesphor Mkude of the Morogoro Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church meanwhile called upon women in the country to play their role of taking care of their families to satisfaction.

Leading Easter prayers at Saint Patrice Church, he said it was noteworthy and instructive that the Bible shows that a woman was the first person to be informed about the watershed birth of Jesus Christ and women were the first people notified about the Messiah’s Resurrection.

Meanwhile, Bishop Amani of the Moshi Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church exhorted Tanzanians in their millions to cooperate with the government in preparing a new Constitution “that will end selfishness, corruption and favouritism”.

He made the call during Easter prayers in Moshi Urban’s Korongoni Parish, saying it was the people’s right and duty to cooperate with their government in the writing of the Constitution.

Bishop Dr Alex Malasusa, Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), said it was important for Christians across the country “to learn from faith from biblical women Miriam, Magdalena and Salome who, despite finding a big stone outside Jesus Christ’s grave, still had enough faith that enabled them to reach His body and do what they had planned to do”.

“It is sad that our country has reached a stage where people believe that things such as peace and moral ethics are impossible to cultivate and promote,” he pointed out.

“People have lost faith even in their very own lives. Most of us have come to believe it is impossible for the country to have peace and faith in God while leading loyal and ethical lives,” he added.

Bishop Dr Martin Shao of the ELCT’s Northern Diocese urged Tanzanians to value and safeguard the environment by planting trees.

In his sermon, Auxiliary Bishop Eusebius Nzigirwa of the Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Dar es Salaam underlined the need for society to shun “propaganda and campaigns tempting them into the killing of innocent people through so-called mob justice”.

“There is no need for people to seek victory through murdering other people. You shouldn’t be among those fuelling or glamourising killings. Rather, you must always strive to defend people’s lives” he noted during the Easter prayers at Saint Joseph’s Church in the city.

He advised those quick to take revenge by taking the law into their hands and therefore inflicting harm on others to stop doing so “because even Jesus, who has just conquered death, is not impressed seeing evil people die before repenting”.

The cleric implored lawmakers to work for the further criminalisation of induced abortion, noting that “people’s journey towards Redemption starts right from the womb”.

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