29th August 2009
The Political Committee of the Council of Muslim Clerics yesterday launched a 45-page guideline for Muslims for the 2010 General Elections.
The guideline, entitled ‘Shura ya Maimamu Tanzania Kamati Kuu ya Siasa, Kuelekea Uchaguzi Mkuu 2010’ “Muongozo Kwa Waislamu”, touches on a wide range of social and political issues in the country.
Hundreds of people, among them representatives of 22 Mainland regions as well as Zanzibar and Pemba, attended the launch in Dar es Salaam.
The leader of the Muslim Clerics Council, Sheikh Mussa Kundecha, said they wanted to make all people aware of social and political issues, stressing that every Muslim had the right to discuss the social and political issues taking place in the country.
According to the introduction to the guideline, most people were expecting the coming election to be free and fair in order to get proper leaders “who are the actual choice of the people”.
It says, however, that people themselves needed to put in extra efforts in order to achieve their goals of getting leaders of their choice.
The circular comes a few months after the Catholic Church in Tanzania launched its own manifesto, an 18-page document entitled “Mpango wa Kichungaji Kuhamasisha Jamii Kuelekea Uchaguzi” (Pastoral Project to Sensitise People as Election Approaches), which has elicited a lot of animated debate.
Philip Marmo, a Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, has meanwhile called on religious institutions to ensure that their documents do not promote divisions in society.
Among those who rejected the Catholic Church circular was long-serving CCM politician Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru, who said it was a threat to peace and tranquility.
But some church leaders, including Dar es Salaam Auxiliary Bishop Methodius Kilaini of the Catholic Church, said it would be very difficult to withdraw the project because what has been done was in the interest of the public.
Civic United Front Secretary General Seif Shariff Hamad was also quoted as urging the public to reject the Catholic Church pastoral letter. “Let us be frank and sincere, the document is divisive both in its motives and its language; it is meant for the Catholics,” he said, adding: “What if each of the other religious denominations chose to come up with its own document of the same nature? Definitely, the country will end up in political chaos.”
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN