Safeguarding peace in post-election Tanzania

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania Presiding Bishop Dr Alex Malasusa: "The church calls for complete tolerance for all Tanzanians, regardless of ideology or faith."
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania Presiding Bishop Dr Alex Malasusa: "The church calls for complete tolerance for all Tanzanians, regardless of ideology or faith."

Lutheran bishop insists on tolerance amid fears of ideological division

(LWI) - Fears of ideological and religious rifts in Tanzania laid bare during recent national elections have prompted calls from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) to settle differences peacefully.

“The church calls for complete tolerance for all Tanzanians regardless of their ideological or faith beliefs, for the common good,” says ELCT Presiding Bishop Dr Alex G. Malasusa.

“The role of the Lutheran church and other churches has been to call for peace under all circumstances. The church is asking everyone to respect the outcome of the election results,” Malasusa told Lutheran World Information.

Despite what the ELCT leader described as a peaceful environment in the country over the past 50 years, the 25 October elections were marred by claims of vote rigging, riots and violence. On 29 October Tanzania’s ruling party candidate was declared winner of the presidential election but opposition leaders protested, saying the electronic system had been manipulated. The results for the semi-autonomous Zanzibar were annulled after rows between rival electoral commissioners.

Malasusa warns that vulnerable people bear the greatest risk in the event of further violence in the country of approximately 50 million people. “Should peace be compromised, normally it is the children, the elderly and the women who suffer the most. It follows, therefore, that the church has a big role to play in preaching the gospel of peace, co-existence with other faith communities and other ideological followers.”

Like most sub-Saharan countries, Tanzania has a large and vibrant youth population, which Malasusa says should be enabled to play its role in building a united and economically strong nation. The Lutheran leader sees the growing involvement of youth in politics as a blessing that must be managed peacefully.

“The church will enhance democratic spaces for all Tanzanians. Wherever possible, the church will promote the creation of jobs for the youth, which will keep them engaged in building the economy of the country,” says the bishop, who is The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Vice-President for Africa.

“Let us remain united for the benefit of our present and future generations. God has endowed us with an abundance of natural resources. We can equitably use these resources for the better of all if we remain united as one people, all created in the image of God,” he adds.

An LWF member church since 1964, the ELCT has around 6.5 million members in 24 across the country.

 

LWF News

31 May 2022
ARUSHA, Tanzania/GENEVA
30 March 2022
ARUSHA, Tanzania/GENEVA