Tanzania: Church-Torching Incidents Irk Christian Clerics

Tanzania: Church-Torching Incidents Irk Christian Clerics

Tanzania_mapTanzania Daily News, Dar es Salaam — THE union of church denominations in Tanga Region has resolved to pull out of the government- initiated peace platform, which requires religious leaders from both Islamic and Christian faiths, to sit together and discuss various religious issues in order to maintain peace and tranquility in the region.

The Christian leaders who represented Pentecostal, Lutheran, Anglican, Moravian and Baptist churches, met here on Friday to discuss the peace situation and the ongoing incidents of torching church buildings.

The meeting, which was chaired by Bishop Dr Jothan Mwakimage, cited the recent burning of a Lutheran church building in Korogwe town and an Evangelical Assembles of God (EAGT) church in Kalalani village in the same district as vivid examples of a breakdown of a peace accord between the major faiths in the region.

Dr Mwakimage told the church leaders that the peace platform initiated by the government involving Christian and Islamic leaders was almost useless because incidents of torching church buildings were on the increase while no culprits were arrested.

“We have come here to discus very crucial issues. The situation these days is not good. We need to come up with another peace committee to be set by ourselves because the government platform has failed to deal with the matter,” said the Bishop.

He said from now on Christian leaders in the region would ignore any call intended to bring them together with leaders of other religions, asking bishops to inform their pastors in the districts to abide by the decision reached.

However, when reached for comment, chairperson of the defence and security committee in Tanga Region, Chiku Gallawa, who is also the regional commissioner, said she had never received any communication from the clerics about the matter.

“I have not yet received their letter…maybe after their decision they will write to me… I wonder why they should take such a decision before consulting me..normally they come to me for discussion when there is a problem concerning our security and I have always been cooperative.

Why didn’t they come to me first?” she wondered. Ms.Gallawa said religious leaders should know that they have great responsibility of leading their believers in a peaceful manner so the region and the country at large may remain peaceful.

She urged Tanga residents to remain calm because peace and tranquility was the weapon for development including worshiping in peace.

“Peace is important to all the people, regardless of their faith. Therefore, all of us must be responsible for ensuring that the peace we have prevails for the benefit of the present and future generations of this nation,” she added.

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