, 04 September, 2020 / 10:05 PM
A Tanzanian Archbishop has underscored the need to foster peace “by all means” in the East African country amid political campaigns ahead of next month’s general elections.
In a video message availed Friday, September 4, Archbishop Gervais Nyaisonga of Tanzania’s Mbeya Archdiocese urges caution during campaigns because peace “can be lost through negligence.”
“Our nation has always been proud of the gift of Peace that we have. This gift is not hidden and it is spoken of by all people. Such a gift should be protected by all means,” Archbishop Nyaisonga who is the President of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) says in the video message.
He adds in reference to the ongoing campaigns ahead of general elections slated for October 28, “This period is an important period because elections provide direction to the Nation in achieving its national goals.”
The Tanzanian Archbishop encourages voters, candidates vying for various political positions, and officials of the Electoral Commission to foster peace all the time saying, “We should understand that such a gift can be lost through negligence so it is best to be careful. Let us be careful to protect this gift which is Peace.”
“The desire of Tanzanians is to see the country at peace and that the elections will be completed well if there is openness, justice, integrity and dedication from the personnel in the various bodies,” Archbishop Nyaisonga tells officials of the Electoral Commission who he says, have been given “an important responsibility by the Tanzanians in conducting the polls.”
He encourages transparency and timely communication in the process of managing the elections saying, “It is best for the spokespersons of the Commission to provide adequate information to the people because remaining silent in the face of any allegations can be translated as being true. Silence will also keep Tanzanians in a state of anxiety.”
The 53-year-old Prelate adds, “The explanation should be given because the truth should not be hidden.”
To the candidates vying for various positions of leadership, Archbishop Nyaisonga says, “You have the power to motivate people to do what they can to be proud of or to blame themselves later.”
“It is unfair to campaign platforms to utter sarcasm, insults and unsubstantiated fabrications because such talk will make Tanzanian anxious,” he tells politicians who are crisscrossing the East African country to lure voters.
He urges the candidates to “use the opportunity to tell voters about development and sell their agenda regarding what they would do if they are elected as leaders.”
“Motivate the people so that even after the election, we can be proud to say that we conducted the voting exercise wisely,” the Archbishop further tells politicians engaged in campaigns.
In the video message, he goes on to remind voters of their relationship with God, the Creator.
“We may be told a lot; we may be tempted to do a lot; but we are also God's creatures and we are bound by God's command to keep things holy,” the President of TEC says and continues, “We voters can hear a lot but filter it with the wisdom bestowed on us by God. We should evaluate, analyze the candidates and after all that activity, we can decide what is best for the nation.”
Expected to take place on October 28, the general elections will see Tanzanians go to the polls to elect the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, the President of the island of Zanzibar, Members of Parliament and Councilors.
In the video message, the Archbishop Isaac Amani Massawe of Tanzania’s Arusha Archdiocese is also featured cautioning against bribery.
“Anyone that offers a bribe has a hidden agenda. They are hiding their weaknesses. If we accept bribes, we will be entering into a system that is full of lies,” Archbishop Amani says in the September 4 video message.
“The Law should also be adhered to and anyone found giving or receiving a bribe must be charged,” he says and adds, “Churches and mosques should also preach against this vice.”
Reflecting on the Biblical passage where Jacob tricked his elder brother, Esau into selling his birthright for a meal, the 69-year-old Tanzanian Prelate says, “As Tanzanians, we should learn from Esau who was unable to stand for what was his. Esau received food and sold his right as a firstborn and by so doing, he lost the blessings that he was to receive from his father.”
“This scenario shows the great work that is ahead of us, the general elections. If we do not stand for what is right, we will sell ourselves and become slaves because everyone who sells their freedom ends in slavery,” adds the Local Ordinary of Arusha.
He invites his compatriots to ensure that they elect leaders who “have a vision and will protect the family.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa