PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday advised clerics to shun mixing politics and religion, insisting that by so doing they were likely to make the nation lose its direction. The President said it was high time for religious leaders to avoid using spokespersons who were purely not clerics, to avoid confusing their followers.
"If there are matters concerning religion, it is good when Sheikhs, Mufti, Bishops, Priests and Pastors, among others, to speak than using spokespersons who cannot differentiate between politics and religion," he said.
Dr Magufuli was speaking in Dar es Salaam when he visited the modern and biggest mosque in Kinondoni municipality to inspect the progress of its construction. The mosque, which is expected to be the biggest in East and Central Africa, is being constructed under the sponsorship of King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
When he visited the country in October 2016, Dr Magufuli asked the Moroccan King to help in the construction of the biggest mosque for the Muslim Council of Tanzania, BAKWATA, and a football pitch in the country's capital city, Dodoma.
On the sidelines of his State visit to Tanzania, King Mohammed VI pledged to build a mosque and an ultra modern soccer stadium in Dodoma. President Magufuli told local media, back then, that King Mohammed VI had agreed to build what would be Tanzania's biggest stadium, and an ultra modern stadium in the city of Dodoma.
During that time, Dr Magufuli said, "It will cost between 80 and 100 million US dollars." "I had a tete-a-tete with thevisiting King and I asked him if he can help build a stadium in Dodoma and a mosque in Dar es Salaam... He said yes," Dr Magufuli said when he addressed residents who camped at the mosque yesterday.
Also, during his visit, the Moroccan leader launched the construction works of that mosque in Dar es Salaam which the sovereign named "The Mohammed VI Mosque." The area of this religious and cultural landmark is 7,400 square meters; it includes a prayer room that accommodates more than 8,000 worshipers, an archeology library, a conference hall, administrative facilities, a parking lot, a super market and green spaces.
According to the contractor, Khalid Kijongo the construction work is expected to be completed in April next year. Yesterday, Dr Magufuli who was flanked by the Ambassador of Morocco in Dar es Salaam, Mufti Sheikh Abubakar Zubeir bin Ally and Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Paul Makonda, contributed 10m/- which he said would be spent on the purchase of 265 bags of cement to complement the construction work.
The President was happy with the progress of the construction work and paid tribute to Mufti, commending him for proper supervision of the construction. He said he would be happy if the Moroccan King would come to inaugurate the mosque after its completion.
He reiterated that his government would continue working with all religious leaders, their followers and the pagans as the country had no religion except its people.