RELIGIOUS leaders have said respecting directives from relevant authorities is an important aspect that should be embraced by all Tanzanians, as they called for a peaceful 2020 General Election.
Speaking during a special convocation held in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the clerics said Tanzanians have the civic duty to respect the laid down principles and safeguard the country's peace and stability.
With the clock ticking towards the much-awaited polls, due next Wednesday, members of the clergy warned against unlawfulness and pleaded with citizens to obey the country's laws so that peace and tranquility prevail throughout the general election period.
They reminded voters to adhere to instructions from the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and security agencies and avoid steering unnecessary tension for a smooth election process.
Bishop Dr Alex Malasusa of the Eastern and Coastal Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), said even scriptures from holy books require all people to respect authorities.
"Our religions require all believers to take part in the protection of peace all the time, and in this case, we have to listen to what NEC says, including proclamation of results at the polling stations ," he said.
His remarks were seconded by the Bishop Zachary Kakobe of the Full Gospel Bible Fellowship Church, who urged Tanzanians, notably politicians, to avoid uttering seditious and inflammatory statements that may provoke others, hence sparking violence.
"It is very crucial for everyone to be careful in each and every word that we utter. Our tongues should be 'carefully used' throughout the process so that we continue enjoying the prevailing peace in the country," he prayed.
Bishop Kakobe said by any chance nobody should interfere in the roles of NEC, including announcing the results, insisting that the polls' outcome should be respected by all citizens.
The Bishop commended the police force for being patient and issuing proper guidelines ahead of the general election.
"They have been soft and accommodating throughout the campaign period, but going forward, they don't have to continue being too soft but rather be sensitive to all indicators of violence," he explained.
For his part, Dar es Salaam Regional Sheikh Alhadi Mussa Salum accentuated national interests instead of uttering inflammatory statements, adding that by doing so, Tanzanians will be playing a crucial role in peace building.
He said despite the existing diversity, Tanzania has continued to safeguard peace, unity and solidarity as strong pillars for development that all citizens have a duty to embrace.
"We have different religions but all are praising the almighty God who has given us divine instructions to follow during our lifetime, let's cherish them and be blessings to us," he said.
Bishop Sylvester Gamanywa of the Wapo Mission International said divine instructions on the importance of peace building originated from the holy books, and that religious leaders have the role of spreading the words to their followers and believers.
"In everything we do, peace should come first; this will also facilitate implementing development projects to enable the country move forward," he said.
The Director of Hekima Foundation Sheikh Nurdin Kishk reminded Tanzanians on the importance of thinking critically before making any decisions because their choices will determine the direction in which the country goes.
"We were created to serve the purpose, and that is to live in peace and harmony, let's continue to cherish the love that our almighty God has granted us for free," he explained.