2 April 2013

Tanzania: Kikwete Warns Against Incitement

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has assured of the government's resolve to sustain the nation's peace and security irrespective of individual's religious or political leanings.

In his end of the month address to the nation, Mr Kikwete requested clerics to avoid inflammatory and misleading statements which could be harmful to national unity. "The government has never failed to protect its people and does not take sides.

Isolated incidents of faith-related events that led to breach of peace are not connected or related to one another and all suspects are in police custody for questioning," he said.

He warned the clerics against generalisation of issues, giving an example of the controversy over the right to slaughter animals that resulted to the death of Rev.

Mathayo Machila of Buselesele area in Geita Region, which has no connection with assassination of a Roman Catholic priest in Zanzibar, Father Everist Mushi and the acid attack of Sheikh Fadhili Saroga of Zanzibar.

"At least ten suspects have been arrested in connection with burning churches in Zanzibar, 76 others are in custody implicated with setting ablaze churches in Mbagala, Dar es Salaam, one person has been arrested in Zanzibar on suspicion of being behind the killing of Father Mushi and several others who fled the country are being pursued with the assistance of the International Police (Interpol)," he said.

The government is not interested in seeing anyone mocking the faiths of others, he warned, adding that he has instructed security organs at all levels to take serious action against all elements propagating provocative sentiments against other religions.

He supported the initiative by the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, to convene a meeting for senior religious leaders in May, this year to discuss and deliberate on the trend for a lasting solution to the situation.

Commenting on the tragic collapse of the 16-storey building in Dar es Salaam last Friday that killed 36 people thus far, the president expressed his profound sorrow following the incident and ordered thorough investigation on factors behind the same.

President Kikwete also thanked President Xi Jinping of China for the historic visit he made to the country recently, hardly ten days after his appointment to lead the most populous nation in the world with a fast growing economy.

"Tanzania was honoured to be the first country to be visited by President Xi Jinping in Africa. His visit strengthens the bilateral relations the two countries have enjoyed for many years. The visit also offered opportunities for China to inform the world about her economic policy for the continent," Mr Kikwete said.

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