Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Kikwete - Help Iron Out Religious Tensions

Singida — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has called on all religious leaders in the country to revive the old system in which Muslim and Christian leaders used to meet in order to iron out their differences amicably.

The president made the call at Emmanuel Lutheran Cathedral here on Sunday during the consecration ceremony to install Bishop Dr Alex Mkumbo to power.

He noted that the old arrangement was beneficial to both the believers of the two major religions in the country and to the government.

"When unnecessary religious frictions are solved in a mutual manner by religious leaders, definitely the government has no need to intervene.

It is only when things get out of hand that the government is forced to deploy the Field Force Unit," he explained. The president further urged religious leaders to continue preaching the word of God to their followers saying people who believe in God were always refrained from committing atrocities.

"Usually, God-fearing people are submissive to the laws of the country but they also become good family leaders, taking care of their families and ultimately become good citizens", the president observed. He added: "So, preach about peace, love, religious tolerance and don't sow the seeds of discord."

Earlier, the newly installed Bishop, Dr Alex Mkumbo, asked the president, on his capacity as the National Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Chairman, to give back the Central Diocese Ruruma Secondary School which the Bishop said was now being run inefficiently.

"This school has been taken over by Tanzania Parents' Association (TAPA) improperly because we have never handed it to them. Unfortunately, it is being run inefficiently. We now beg you to return the school to the Diocese so that we can run it properly," he said.

According to Bishop Dr Mkumbo, Ruruma is a historical area because Lutheran Missionaries settled there in 1911 introducing the church in Singida region for the first time. For that reason, he told the president that it would be prudent for the government to return the school to the Central Diocese so as to remain as the only symbol of the early Christianity presence in the area.

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