Analysts: Samia’s Vatican visit will point path for peace

MWANZA: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan’s working visit to Vatican following an invitation of Pope Francis is expected to point a path to global peace and strengthen bilateral cooperation between Tanzania and the Holy City.

The Executive Secretary of the Association of Catholic Universities and Higher Institutes of Africa and Madagascar (ACUHIAM), Dr George Mtalemwa told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview over the weekend that the visit will also heighten Tanzania’s splendid international reputation of being a peaceful nation.

The ACUHIAM has its Permanent Secretariat at the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) in Mwanza, Tanzania. Dr Mtalemwa said the historic working visit to Vatican, comes at the right time Tanzania is elevating diplomatic relations catalysed by its splendid international reputation of being champion for peace.

“By inviting PresidentSamia, Pope Francis is retracing the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who invited the former Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete to the Vatican in 2008,” he said.

He added: “Pope Benedict’s message to then President Kikwete was a summary of the relationship between Vatican and Tanzania. He said Tanzania is among the most peaceful countries in the world.”

Furthermore, Dr Mtalemwa said Tanzania’s peace is a treasure that is acknowledged worldwide in which, the former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1990 invited Saint Pope John Paul II in the country.

He also noted that the unwavering commitment to peace building in Tanzania goes back to the ideals of the Father of Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who was “the icon of peace in Africa and globally.”

In another development, at his capacity as the Executive Secretary of the Association of Catholic Universities and Higher Institutes of Africa and Madagascar, Dr Mtalemwa said last month (on January) he met the Pope during the celebration of 100th Year Anniversary of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), which was held in Rome, Italy.

He said at the ceremony, Pope Francis directed leaders of Catholic universities worldwide to promote peace.

“It can be expected that global peace will be on the agenda when President Samia meets Pope Francis in Vatican,” Dr Mtalemwa said.

He said the ACUHIAM will continue mainstreaming Peace Studies in Catholic higher institutes across Africa including in Tanzania through conferences and publications on sustainable development, saying peace and sustainable development are at the heart of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.

On his side, Political Analyst, Dr Ahmad Sovu said the visit is a continuation of economic diplomacy being championed by President Samia.

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