Tanzania: Peace Must Be Protected At All Cost, Say Participants

RELIGIOUS leaders, political scientists and members of the media fraternity have called upon members of the public, including public leaders, to safeguard peace because it is necessary for the wellbeing of citizens.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam during a forum for peace organised by Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation and the Inter Religious Council for Peace yesterday, speakers said leaders and all members of the public had the obligation to reject negative aspects that might contribute to the breach of the peace.

However, politicians received a portion of blame as they appeared to be the agents for the breach of the peace due to their insatiable greed for wealth accumulation.

They said some politicians were fond of telling lies about their own country for their personal gains without considering the consequences for their country.

Mr Stephen Wassira, former Bunda MP, said Tanzanians seemed to have forgotten that a peaceful environment in which they lived and enjoyed today was sought by our former leaders.

"The Almighty God, who created other countries, is the same God who created Tanzania, but why does it happen that Tanzania is different from the rest of the country?

The answer is it's the people, who made this possible," he said. According to Mr Wassira, Tanzanians should not focus on peace alone rather than on factors that might bring about the breach of the peace.

However, Mr Wassira cautioned that there was a link between peace and justice. Insisting on the economy as a source of peace, he said there was no peace among hungry citizens.

"Freedom, peace, brotherhood and equality are the four basic pillars of the peace we have been enjoying since independence. They bind us together as Tanzanians," Mr Joseph Butiku, the chairman of Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation told participants.

Mr Humphrey Polepole, CCM Secretary for Publicity and Ideology, said Tanzania was leading in almost all spheres from waging war on corruption, protection of natural resources, economic growth to economic inclusion in East Africa and Great Lake Zone states, which was important for the consolidation of peace.

Mr Azim Dewji said peace was born, but it must be protected. "It is expensive and hard to restore peace once it is lost," he noted.

WFor his part, Dar es salaam Chief Sheikh Alhad Musa Salimu rebuked the sin of speaking lies among politicians and members of the general public likening it to a cancer that was taking root in the country, while perpetrators claimed to be the country's patriots.

"Uttering lies apart from being a sin in both Islamic and Christian religions, it as well tarnishes the country's good image and affects the foundation of peace, so it is against humanity as we all need peace," he said.

He called for politicians to emulate President John Magufuli's slogan as he reiterates time and time again that "he speaks the truth and the truth pleases God."

Prof Kimani Njugu from Kenya praised Tanzania for embracing Kiswahili language and its associated cultures as a unifying tool for peace among over 120 tribes more than his home country where they relied on a yet to be conversant English language, which left people divided for not speaking a unifying language.

"In Kenya every general election leaves behind scars of death, violence and hatred among the people and solidifies tribalism. Some members of the public are used by politicians as stepping stones to attain private gains, which needs to stop," said Prof Njogu.

According to him, Tanzania and African nations need African ways of reconciliation more than the imported ones and that the African continent needs its own way of democracy by using its own leaders and people to attain lasting peace through reconciliation at family, community and national levels.

Prof Njogu also noted that tribal and religious conflicts and terrorism could be eliminated by governments building inclusive economy, which benefited more people than the elite only.

An independent preacher, Pastor Kommando Mashimo, praised Tanzanians for standing firm to pray for the nation and their leaders, calling for them to support humanitarian assistance like tonnes of supplies dispatched to help hurricane troubled countries in Mozambique and Malawi.

The forum brought together about 250 participants. Its theme was 'Our Peace, Our Value, Let us Protect It.'

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