- Hails Dr Malasusa for being installed as ELCT Presiding Bishop
- Expresses sincere govt commitment to strengthening democracy
- Calls for church to help protect family unity
DAR ES SALAAM: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has underscored the importance of embracing the 4Rs philosophy in maintaining peace and stability in the country.
The 4Rs represent Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms and Rebuilding, and are essential for addressing the current social, political and economic issues in the country.
“If we stick together, we will create a strong nation made up of individuals who value one another and that will promote solidarity in the process of national-building,” President Samia said during the installation service of the presiding Bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), Dr Alex Malasusa, held at the Azania Front Cathedral in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
She hailed Dr Malasusa for being installed as the head of the ELCT.
She said that while unity is vital in the church, it is much more crucial for the development of the country. To make her point clear, she connected the 4Rs to what has been stated in the scriptures through Mark 3:25 which says, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
“Our country should not end up like that house; that’s why we have come up with the 4Rs philosophy that inspires us to make significant national progress. Preaching and living together, must be how we stay connected,” she said, while underlining that dialogue should be the basis of addressing grievances.
Speaking about the forthcoming Local Government Elections, slated for later this year, President Samia said the government takes it very seriously since they determine who will lead the communities in which citizens reside.
“I urge voters to turn out in their numbers to cast their ballots and pick credible leaders and equally, I urge political parties to nominate deserving candidates so that voters will have a wide choice in choosing the leaders they want,” she urged.
Additionally, President Samia noted that the government has a sincere commitment to strengthening democracy in the country with a great sense of transparency.
Elaborating, she said, unfortunately, some activists mistakenly believe they are advocating for democracy, while in the actual sense, they are not. She insisted that the government will keep defending the nation’s democratic principles and make sure conditions are favourable for democracy to thrive, which includes the freedom of worship.
President Samia reminded the congregants what she said last year, during the ELCT 60th Anniversary that no one has the power to divide Tanzania. Dr Samia underscored that she will not allow anyone to disrupt the country’s peace.
“I insist no one will have the guts and muscles to divide this country,” she stated.
Earlier, during his remarks, while welcoming the president, Dr Malasusa pledged to uphold collaboration with the government on all matters, emphasising the significance of preserving the nation’s peace, stability and togetherness.
He said that dialogue and not force, is the most effective means of resolving issues if they arise.
Detailing on the morality of society, particularly same-sex relationships, Dr Malasusa asked the government to trust the church, which maintains that it only recognises marriages between a man and woman.
“I urge everyone to read the Dodoma Declaration, which ELCT released in 2010, to gain a fresh and comprehensive perspective on the genesis of humans and other species,” he explained.
Meanwhile, President Samia has emphasised the need to preserve family unity, claiming that there has been an upsurge in family conflicts across the nation, which come as a result of marriage breakups and moral decay among children.
She stated that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) registered 28,773 matrimonial cases in the last six months, while 39,571 cases were registered in 2023.
President Samia said it was time the society returned to the foundations of religion and held on to faith to reduce family challenges.
She said it is good for families to evaluate themselves, once again referring to the scripture in the book of Colossians 3:18–20. (Rules for Christian Households) ‘Wives, submit yourself to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.’
“Let’s read these Bible verses again, and each one of us should assess ourselves to fulfill and practice what is written in here,” she urged.
Dr Malasusa was elected as the new ELCT Head in August last year by the Church General Assembly, taking over from Dr Bishop Frederick Shoo, who completed his mandatory terms.
Dr Malasusa, who is the ELCT Bishop for the Eastern and Coastal Diocese, was announced as the elected Head of the Church after receiving a total of 167 out of the 241 votes cast, equivalent to 69.3 per cent.
His opponent, Dr Abednego Keshomshahara, who is the ELCT Bishop for the North West Diocese, received 73 votes, equivalent to 30.3 per cent of the votes cast.
Bishop Malasusa is becoming the ELCT Head for the second time after serving in the same position from 2007 to 2015.