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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Religious intolerance threatens Tanzania`s peace

30th October 2012

Our nation has always been synonymous with peace, we are known to co-exist harmoniously as a people. Very rarely will you hear of civil unrest be it either tribal, or religious. The recent turn of events in the country over the past couple of months are starting to put us on the radar as a country in troubled waters. What is most disturbing is that they are getting more violent with each incident.

What is the basis for the conflict in our nation? Are we to end up like some of our neighboring countries forever at war, displaced with stagnant economies, tremendous psychological trauma, malnutrition, and rising death tolls? Have you seen how our fellow African refugees are treated?

How soon we forget a couple of months ago African refugees were chased out of their homes, and settlements in Israel. Stoned and beaten by angry citizens they were put in camps to be flown back to their war torn countries. Talk less of the misplaced thousands coming out of Somalia and South Sudan. Though strife may surround us we should not want to join the race. The violence in Tanzania has to be curbed.

Our stable political and economic conditions have stimulated an extensive range of international interests into the country. Tanzania is experiencing an increase in economic growth and opportunities. We ranked in the top 10 countries on the continent for this year’s Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance - 2012 IIAG.

Tanzania scored highest in the Safety & Rule of Law and Participation and Human Rights categories. Earlier this year the World Bank forecasted “following three years of a high rate of economic growth, Tanzania’s economy is forecast to grow by approximately six percent in 2012.”

Our forecasts are promising, stakeholders are pouring in, our spending power is on the increase, how is it that we are trying to shoot ourselves in the foot? No prospective investor wants to invest in a country that is laden with internal issues. If we cannot maintain peace it does not matter what riches our country holds - minerals or otherwise; we will lose out on potential growth opportunities both individually and as a nation.

Here is a novel idea - we might be heading in the wrong direction with this lack of tolerance amongst ourselves. If there is a message we are supposed to derive from these sporadic sparks of violence could someone spell it out, because most of us are totally in the dark.

Our country is blessed with a mixture of people and we are all called Tanzanians. We have a very rich culture which adds to our beauty as a nation. Religiously, tribally, ethnically we are so diverse but we are one.

The general consensus is that our energy as a country should be focused on our developmental challenges such as: health, education, gender equality, agricultural revolution, corruption, poverty, unemployment and extremely poor infrastructure to name but a few. Though we seem to have a long way to go in development, we are taking the necessary strides towards that avenue. Needless to say we will be heading absolutely nowhere if we let this state of intolerance continue to lay a foundation in our society.

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