Tanzania Eager to Implement Eastern Africa Bishops’ Resolutions on Environment: President

President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the 20th AMECEA Plenary Assembly in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 11 July 2022. Credit: ACI Africa

The President of Tanzania has pledged to rally behind the Bishops of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) in their fight for environmental conservation, promising to explore ways to implement “some” of the Catholic Bishops’ resolutions.

In her Tuesday, July 12 message of solidarity with the AMECEA Bishops having their 20th Plenary Assembly in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, President Samia Suluhu Hassan lauded the Catholic Church for upholding values that preserve nature, and noted that the Tanzanian government was already living such values.

“It is encouraging that Pope Francis has seen it important to direct our focus towards the protection of mother earth which he refers to as our common home,” President Suluhu said in her address on the fourth day of the AMECEA Plenary Assembly that started July 9.

The President said she is grateful that Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa had settled on Tanzania to host their Plenary Assembly, saying, “Tanzania is lucky to host this plenary. We will look into resolutions that the Catholic Bishops will arrive at and incorporate some in our own environmental strategies.”

Credit: ACI Africa


She added, “In Tanzania, we value communal life that goes hand in hand with values of the Catholic Church. These include protection of mother nature for the survival of future generations.”

President Suluhu described Tanzania as “the home of amazing creations, including Mount Kilimanjaro and the Indian ocean”, and added, in reference to the country’s capital city, “Dar es Salaam is our business hub and the home of peace.”

“As you may have already noticed, Dar Es Salaam has been ranked the sixth cleanest city in Africa. But I must say that we have come from very far, from having to deal with inhabitable informal settlements that characterized life in Dar Es Salaam,” she said, and added that the Tanzanian government had also embarked on cleaning other cities in the country.

She said that efforts have been put in place to ensure that those who dwell in Tanzania’s rural places live in clean environments as well.

The president of Tanzania said that her government had also launched an environmental project to protect the country's natural resources, including water sources and forests. Initiatives here include weekly cleaning programs and planting of grass and trees.

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Credit: ACI Africa

President Suluhu lauded Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa for settling on the theme, “Environmental Impact on Integral Human Development”, and for expressing their desire to collaborate with governments to protect the environment.

She said, “The fight against climate change isn’t a one man’s struggle. It is a war involving all of us since environmental degradation affects us all.”

The Muslim head of state noted that the importance of environmental protection was key to all people, regardless of religion.

“In the book of Genesis, God instructs that we till land and take care of it. The Quran also has guidelines on the relationship of people with the environment,” President Suluhu said, and added, “In the Quran, we read about God who created the universe with a delicate balance so that disturbing this balance risks creating natural disasters.”


Credit: ACI Africa

The Tanzanian President expressed concern that “strange diseases” were emerging, a majority of which could be blamed on disturbing nature.

“We have witnessed strange illnesses that come about when people disturb God’s creatures that were meant to stay in the wilderness, and by invading their natural homes,” she said, and added, “God’s grace is close to those who fear him and one way through which we show our fear of God is by respecting creation and obeying His law on creation.”

President Suluhu also blamed the destruction of the environment on wars, which she said had thrown many African countries into deep turmoil.

A section of the AMECEA delegates pose for a photo with Tanzania's president Samia Suluhu after the President's solidarity message with the Bishops. Credit: ACI Africa

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Calling on the people of God in the Eastern Africa region to maintain peace at all times, she said, “War and lack of order in the society directly contributes to environmental degradation.”

Credit: ACI Africa

“When there is fighting, people have no time to think about taking care of the environment. Many of them run from their homes and seek refuge in forests where they cut down trees to create new homes,” she said, and added, “Let us therefore unite and pray for our nations to have peace so that to sustain our ecology.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.