Speaking at separate Christmas day church services, the clergymen also urged Tanzanians to pray for the Church as an institution to uphold its prophetic role in addressing key challenges facing the country.
In Moshi municipality, the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Dr Frederick Shoo, furthermore urged the government to do more to ensure the security of people’s lives and property across all religious, tribal, economic and political boundaries.
According to Dr Shoo, Tanzanians across all social divides need to embrace the virtues of love and peaceful co-existence that the Christmas season symbolises.
Without going into details, he expressed general dismay over various recent incidents where people have disappeared mysteriously, and called on the relatives of those people to remain calm and strong during such difficult times.
“As we celebrate Christmas, let us console and pray for those may have no idea of the fate of their beloved ones,” Dr Shoo told the congregation at the Moshi Town parish (cathedral).
He said there appear to be people out there who are trying to create fear among members of the public so that they shouldn’t be free to speak the truth and express their feelings – or even their faith.
In Dar es Salaam, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Dar es Salaam, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, made an appeal for Tanzanians as a people to keep respecting human dignity and observe morals and ethics in their daily life routines.
Cardinal Pengo asserted in his homily to the Christmas mass held at St Joseph Cathedral in Dar es Salaam that recent years have seen a serious moral decay among public servants and the society in general, especially the youth.
“Any nation that seeks to realise fast economic development without insisting on the maintenance of morals amongst its people, is lost from the outset,” he said.
Development and morals are two things that can’t be separated for a country like Tanzania striving for middle-income status, he added.
On his part, Bishop Augustine Shao of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Zanzibar urged Tanzanians to inculcate a culture of paying their due taxes to the government.
Delivering his Christmas sermon at the Minazi Miwili Roman Catholic church in Zanzibar, Bishop Shao noted that despite the current government’s crackdown on tax dodgers, some business people are still trying to be evasive.
“We are all aware of the tax dodgers and yet they are the same people who use public utilities such as the roads infrastructure. That is why it is important for them to pay taxes,” he said.
He added: “Tax avoidance is a sin ... such people need to be penalized heavily since they are denying the government much-needed revenue to, for example, provide loans for students in higher learning institutions.”
Bishop Shao also called on relevant authorities and stakeholders to address the growing unemployment problem among the youth, particularly those who have attained their university degrees.
The bishop of the Anglican Church’s Central Tanganyika Diocese, Dickson Chilongani, called on political and religious leaders in the country to get closer to the ordinary people and help solve their problems to push the development agenda.
Addressing a Christmas day service at the St Paul of the Cross Cathedral in Dodoma, Bishop Chilongani said all elected politicians should always stay close to the people who elected them, especially the poor.
He noted that “in most cases, aspiring politicians tend to purposely humble themselves as they seek votes from the people, but then distance themselves from the same people once they are elected to high offices”.
Regarding the government’s ongoing relocation from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, Bishop Chilongani called on residents of the new capital to change their mindsets on environmental conservation, noting that the entire region is almost a desert.
He said the Dodoma community should take seriously the tree planting campaign launched recently by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, asserting that “life has no meaning at all without a good environment.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Sylvester Tadey of International Evangelism, Sinai, in Dodoma yesterday cautioned his congregation against extravagant spending during the festive season.
Parents need to be mindful of the coming school expenses as the new year approaches, Bishop Tadey remarked, adding that “most” parents tend to usually forget about schools expenses and concentrate more on the festive season spending.