Church awards JPM for Covid-19 stance

15Aug 2020
Polycarp Machira
Dodoma
The Guardian
Church awards JPM for Covid-19 stance

​​​​​​​A PENTECOSTAL denomination, the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) has conferred on President John Magufuli a recognition award for strong leadership during the Covid-19 outbreak.

TAG head Archbishop Dr Barnabas Mtokambali said the decision to award the president was reached during the TAG national convention in Dodoma

He declared that the church acknowledges the important role played by the Head of State in instilling faith among Tanzanians that God was the answer to such trying moments, while other countries opted for lockdown.

Unlike neighbouring countries and beyond, President Magufuli did not impose lockdown measures in seeking to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

"The decision not to lockdown the country, calling for three days of prayer in search of God's intervention has put Tanzania in a very special position globally," said Rev Dr Mtokambali.

The archbishop affirmed that the action touched the church council to an extent that when the president announced three days of prayer, TAG followers fasted for seven days and later another seven days.

"Historically no president in the world has turned to God at such a time when the world is undergoing traumatic moments like the COVID-19 pandemic," he stated.

President Magufuli who later addressed delegates of the convention thanked the church for the honour, saying he did not deserve such recognition, intimating that  it is God who sailed the country through the time of the pandemic.

He however termed it a great gesture and a symbol of true friendship and teachings of God, calling on the church to keep on praying for him to remain humble “for he is nothing without God.”

 

The president also thanked TAG and other religious organisations for the good work they do to support the government in providing services such as education, health and spiritual stewardship, among others, to the people.

He noted that religious institutions have a vital role in any nation's development via faithful teachings focusing on peace, love and harmony. Without religious teachings a lot of things could have not been realized, he emphasized.

"Many Tanzanians have benefited from services offered by religious institutions and as government we will continue working closely with religious leaders," he said,

The government will continue putting in place a conducive environment for religious entities to freely and greatly contribute in building the country’s economy, he said, urging adherents in attendance to focus on building industries.

On the forthcoming election, President Magufuli called on religious leaders to urge their followers to turn out in large numbers and vote.

"The government has listened to your long time plea for election not to be held on worship days. Now you have no reason not to vote and elect your leaders through a constitutional process," he remarked.

He appealed to religious leaders to pray for peaceful campaigns and voting, warning that the country should not go the way of other countries where election season unleashes chaos.

He also called on people to shun those who preach hatred and violence during campaigns, as they have places to run to in the event where chaos engulfs the country.

Dodoma Regional Commissioner Dr Binilith Mahenge showered praise on the president, saying he is the only president in the history of the country who has completed first term in office without traveling overseas.

He also noted that the decision taken by the president to move the government to Dodoma has helped develop the then sleepy presumptive capital.

"We have to thank God for hearing our prayers for a leader who could steer the country to another level economically," he said.

Earlier the TAG leader thanked the president for his commitment to bring development to people, fight corruption and for his “great vision that has shaken the world.”

He appealed to the president to help solve challenges affecting Africa as a continent and compel African countries to remain economically dependent. He also decried moral decadence among the country’s youth, urging stronger government action and help save the younger generation.

Ranging from dressing, lack of patriotism to lack of respect for authority, the younger generation is completely headed to ruin and incapacity, the TAG leader had cautioned.

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