Addressing the Eid El Hajj Baraza at Bumbwini School Hall in Zanzibar city, President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein called on leaders and citizens to maintain peace and unity ahead of the general election scheduled for late October.
The ceremony was attended by several national leaders including Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Second Vice President Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi and the Minister for Defence and National Service, Dr Hussein Mwinyi.
Others were Isles Chief Justice Othman Makungu, Chief Secretary Dr Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee, ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries, diplomats, regional commissioners and other leaders.
Dr Shein said that conducting a peaceful election will put Zanzibar in a good position, enabling the next government to implement various development plans and projects on time.
He urged Zanzibaris not to allow a few people to instill hatred and propagate conflict among people and communities.
Political parties must adhere to election procedures and ethics, making sure that they utilize the campaign period to preach their policies and priorities.
“We should all ensure that we conduct peaceful campaigns as per our elections rules and regulations. There should be no conflict, hatred, violence, tribalism or racism in our campaigns,” he emphasised.
He assured the general public that Zanzibar is peaceful, with political, economic and social activities continuing, the government supervising development activities to ensure that targets are pursued before and after the polls.
In Dar es Salaam, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa called on religious leaders to refrain from issuing statements that are likely to incite violence among social and community groups.
Individual statements underlined by personal sentiments should not be linked with major religious groups as this may incite violence.
“You have your own views then you go in front of the camera and link it with a religious group. It is better we take precautions,” he said, underlining that religious leaders have a role to play in preaching unity and co-existence for the betterment of the nation.
“There are some religious leaders who have been issuing statement and then make the public believe it is from a certain religious group. Such postures cause tensions among communities in the country.”
The premier reiterated assurances issued by President John Magufuli that the general election will be free and fair, so the public should stop worrying about that.
Religious leaders have a huge role to continue praying for the country to remain calm during and after the polls, he stated.
Speaking at the Gaddafi Mosque, Dodoma Regional Sheikh Mustafa Rajabu asked Muslims in the country to unite and pray for the coming general election to be peaceful.
He urged poll aspirants to conduct issue based campaigns and accept outcomes of the election for the betterment of the country.
“During this period when we are approaching the general election, we need to pray so that the whole electoral process goes peacefully,” he said.
The leader used the platform to pray for the late former president Benjamin Mkapa for his service to the nation.
He explained how he met the late Mkapa in Libya and facilitated the construction of the huge mosque in the designated capital.
Sheikh Rajabu further said: “When president Mkapa visited Libya he requested the then president Muammar Gaddafi to build them a modern mosque.
“We were in a group of young Tanzanians who had gone for studies in Libya. Upon hearing that our president was in the country we organized ourselves to go see him, and we were happy to hear his request to President Gaddafi,” he recalled.
He said Mkapa did a lot for Muslims, citing the fact that he made a decision to offer buildings that belonged to the power supply firm, Tanesco to the National Muslim Council for setting up the Muslim University of Morogoro.
“This will remain in history for many people started to question how come a public building was being handed over for religious matters,” the regional sheikh intoned.