Muslim clerics call for peaceful elections, coexistence

President Samia Suluhu Hassan reacts as she greets fellow Muslim faithful after the conclusion of the Eid al-Adha prayers at the Mikocheni Kwa Warioba Mosque in Dar es Salaam, on Monday, June 17. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

What you need to know:

  • A new topical issue during sermons this year was mental health, as leaders identified it as a root cause of violence, immoral acts, and even the misuse of social media

Dar es Salaam. Transparency and fairness in elections, ethics, mental health, and peaceful coexistence were among the key messages highlighted in the speeches of various religious and political leaders during the Idd ul-Adha celebrations in Tanzania.

As such, leaders' emphasis on transparency and fairness in elections comes at a crucial time, as Tanzania is only a few months away from local government elections, which will be followed by the general elections in 2025.

A new topical issue during sermons was mental health, as leaders identified it as a root cause of violence, immoral acts, and even the misuse of social media.

Secretary-General of the National Muslims Council of Tanzania, better known in its Kiswahili acronym as Bakwata, Sheikh Nuhu Mruma, in his address during the Idd ul-Adha celebration in Dar es Salaam, emphasised the importance of transparency and fairness in the upcoming local government elections and next year's general elections.

“We urge the authorities responsible for elections to conduct them with transparency and high professionalism, ensuring justice for all eligible participants, so that we may elect deserving leaders,” he said.

He also urged candidates and political parties to avoid corrupt practices, which he said undermine justice.

Gracing the Idd prayer in Dar es Salaam, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa echoed this message, urging citizens to participate fully in the electoral process, including registering in the permanent voter register.

He emphasised that it is their constitutional right to both elect and be elected.

“You have the right to be elected as a leader and the right to choose your leader, come November this year,” he said.

The election message was also reiterated by Sheikh Khamisi Mtupa of Coast Region, who encouraged Muslims to run for various positions.

“Muslims often shy away from leadership roles, and when an unsuitable person is given a position, they are left complaining. This is not helpful; what is needed is to come forward, seek the position, and serve justly,” he said.

Sheikh Ally Ngeruko, a member of the Bakwata Ulamaa Council, linked many acts of violence and immoral behaviour to mental health issues.

He cited examples of parents abusing their children, spouses killing each other, and religious leaders committing immoral acts, attributing these to the growing mental health problems.

Given the severity of these issues, Sheikh Ngeruko, speaking on behalf of Mufti Aboubakar Zubeir, stressed the need for psychological experts to provide education on mental health.

“Mental health issues are significant. I call on the community to reflect on these problems; we will see that the main issue lies in the mind,” he said.

Ethics was another key theme, with Sheikh Hassan Mbarazi, the Kadhi of Mbeya Region, urging Muslims to fight against the devil, who corrupts morals.

Member of Parliament Mr Hamis Tabasamu (Sengerema-CCM), who attended the Eid prayer, urged Muslims to continue their unity as he emphasised the importance of collaboration.

“As a Muslim I am donating 10 million shillings for the construction of the new Sengerema District mosque,” said the MP.