Bishop Shoo wants citizens’ views on election laws respected

What you need to know:

  • Dr Shoo’s statement comes a few days after the Political Parties Commission concluded collecting opinions from political stakeholders on election Bills that are slated to be tabled in Parliament for the second reading

Dar es Salaam. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) yesterday called on the government to respect public opinion, including the views of clergymen, on the recently tabled election bills.

The call was made by the head of ELCT, Dr Fredrick Shoo, in Iringa Region, during the consecration ceremony of Mufindi Diocese bishop, Dr Anthony Kipangula, and his assistant, Kefa Ulula.

On November 10, last year, three election bills were tabled in Parliament, including the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Bill, the President, Parliamentarians and Councillors Bill, as well as the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

In December last year, the Parliamentary Committee on Governance, Constitution and Legal Affairs welcomed Tanzanians from different walks of life to appear before the committee for a public hearing scheduled to take place on January 6, 8, and 10 at the National Assembly in the capital, Dodoma.

However, the opinion given by Dr Shoo comes a few days after the Political Parties Council concluded collecting opinions from political stakeholders on election bills that are slated to be tabled for second reading in Parliament in the next session.

Speaking during the ceremony, Dr Shoo said clergymen wish to have a country that is peaceful.

“We would like to have a Tanzania that respects the views and wishes of its citizens. I strongly request that the ongoing public hearing not be just for show,” he said.

“We will be blessed as a nation. This is why I implore the legislators present here today to earnestly consider this matter and steadfastly uphold your roles as representatives of the citizens,” he added.

He challenged lawmakers to show their real representation so that what transpired in the 2020 election shouldn’t be repeated.

Bishop Dr Shoo said stakeholders, including religious leaders, have been advocating for the formation of an independent electoral commission. He challenged the government to ensure the matter was accommodated in the election laws.

“I know there are some who will not be happy. But this is what Tanzanians want,” he said.

During the ceremony, which was broadcast live, the ELCT leader thanked God for providing Tanzania with President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who recognises the contribution of religious leaders to the country’s development.

He said that apart from respecting clergymen, the Head of State was a God-fearing person who had a sincere intention to develop the country through reconciliation in the interest of current and future generations.

“We call on the President’s assistants and other government executives to sincerely and trustfully assist the Head of State in ensuring realisation of these endeavours, instead of forming groups to engineer her failure for personal gain,” he said.

“The President is not looking at today's or tomorrow's Tanzania; rather, she is focusing on the country that will be there several years from now. We shouldn’t fail her,” he added.

He mentioned that clergymen are offering prayers and extending support to President Hassan and all other officials in leadership positions within the country.

Dr Shoo insisted that they are praying for all who don’t focus on the 2025 General Election alone but who focus on the development of future generations.