16 April 2016

Tanzania: Authorities Embark on Rowdy Churches, Viroba Crackdown

Mushrooming churches, especially the ones that run noisy sermons throughout the night have been described as a major social problem in Arusha and authorities have started a crackdown on them.

In his meeting with ward executives, village chair persons, division officers and street (grassroot level) representatives, the Regional Commissioner for Arusha, Mr Daudi Felix Ntibenda, pointed out that he had received complaints from various residents about raucous churches that preach using full blast loudspeakers all night long in residential areas.

"We have a problem in Arusha, almost everywhere nowadays someone sets up a tent and it becomes a church, they do not care whether it is Monday, Wednesday or Sunday. They run sermons seven days a week and 24 hours a day, using very noisy loudspeakers," said Mr Ntibenda.

He directed the local leaders to start working on the issue, ensuring that the noisy churches tune down their 'broadcasts', conduct sermons during the day only on weekends and steer away from residential areas.

He told the local leaders also to find out whether the churches are legally registered.

"We can't just ban snooker (pool table) games and day drinking to allow people to work, yet others spend all day and night in these modern day churches just singing and dancing and 'exorcising' demons instead of being at work doing something productive," said the RC.

Almost every residential area in Arusha has a number of churches run by self styled priests who compete on noise levels.

Meanwhile, the Regional Commissioner has also banned the stocking of sachet liquors known as 'Viroba,' in local grocery stores (lower grade bars) and shops.

"We have banned day time alcohol drinking in bars, but people have been found to buy these sachet packed gins from shops, mixing them with water or soda and proceed to intoxicate themselves in broad daylight," said Mr Ntibenda.

In another development, the Arusha Regional Authorities have imposed a ban on issuance of new licenses and registration of fire arms until the current exercise to review ownership of existing ones has been completed.

"And once we resume guns registration, the process will be different. Applicants shall be compelled to start right at village, ward and division levels before seeking clearance at district levels and finally by the security committees and the police," said Mr Ntibenda adding that owning a firearm will no longer be an easy thing in Arusha.

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