Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli has asked religious institutions to preach peace, unity and solidarity for the country to realise its development objectives.
The Head of State also hailed the Roman Catholic Church for implementing 777 education projects and setting up 519 health care centres in the past 150 years of its existence in the country.
Dr Magufuli was speaking in Bagamoyo, Coast Region, where Christians of the Roman Catholic faith gathered to mark 150 years of evangelism.
In his address that was beamed to the public, Dr Magufuli said his government will execute its duties with great respect for all religious denominations – especially in addressing various challenges facing the Church.
“You also have roles to play – including praying for the country whose moral decay has led to corruption and incidents of rape in our society,” he said.
“I also ask for your prayers. Don’t leave me on my own. We all know how this job is challenging. I get surprised – and sometimes (wonder in admiration) – how former Presidents Benjamin Mkapa (1995-2005) and Jakaya Kikwete (2005-2015) managed to complete 10 successful years in Office.”
Speaking on projects implemented by the Church in the education sector, Dr Magufuli said it has implemented 228 nursery school projects, 162 primary schools, 262 secondary schools, 110 technical training institutions and four universities.
In that regard, he thanked the Church for the education projects, as well as 519 healthcare service centres across the country, regardless of geographical location, as well as tribal or religious affiliation of the beneficiaries.
The president also took the opportunity to commend past residents of Bagamoyo for the great love they had to the extent of welcoming Christianity in their midst more than three generations ago. This was despite the fact that the area was predominantly a Muslim stronghold during the Sultanate era
“If they had not accepted the Cross that was transported to the Mainland from Zanzibar at the time, then the 150th Evangelism celebrations wouldn’t have been possible,” he said during the event, which was also attended by former President Benjamin Mkapa and Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda. Preaching during the event, the Archbishop of Nairobi, Cardinal John Njuel, said human beings were created to fulfill the will and wishes of the Almighty God.
“By standing as the head of the family, the father will come to know that his creation was not just a matter of luck. The youth also should fulfil their responsibilities and grow up full of discipline,” he said.
The Church is marking the anniversary to commemorate the start of Evangelism by missionaries back in 1868, who started by assembling abandoned slaves in Bagamoyo port and accommodating them in a rehabilitation camp.