Tanzania’s Council of Imams, Dar es Salaam branch, has come out strongly to protest the endorsement of Ismani Member of Parliament William Lukuvi and bishop Josphat Gwajima for elective positions in the country over their hard-line views on the Muslim religion in the country.
In a statement, Mohamed Abdul, the council’s Secretary-General, stated that Lukuvi who is seeking another term in office in the October General Elections is not fit to hold a public office.
The Imam said the council’s stand is based on inciting remarks the MP made in 2014 about Zanzibar.
According to the cleric, the MP said that the government can not allow Zanzibar to be independent as Muslims will pose a threat to the CCM regime.
Abdul said that despite the divisive and mean remarks against Muslims, the CCM government endorsed Lukuvi to run for an elective position in 2015. The party has also endorsed the MP to defend his seat in the October elections.
The council took issue with the party’s failure to censure the MP over his remarks and has vowed to rally the Muslim community against his bid to clinch the Ismani parliamentary seat in the coming elections.
“Katika mtazamo wa kisheria na umoja wa kitaifa ilitarajiwa CCM kama chama chenye wanachama Waislamu na Wakristo Tanganyika na Zanzibari, kitoe tamko rasmi dhidi ya madai hayo. Kimuonye Lukuvi na serikali yake ichukuwe hatua za kumuondosha madarakani kwa maslahi ya umma. Hata hivyo CCM haikufanya lolote kati ya hayo. Badala yake mwaka huu kimemteuwa tena kupeperusha bendera ya chama hicho Jimbo la Ismani Mkoani Iringa, ” the statement dated August 24 reads.
The council is also against CCM’s move to give bishop Gwajima a direct ticket to vie for Kawe parliamentary seat despite having failed to garner enough support from party members.
According to the cleric, Gwajima failed to get the members’ endorsement because of his constant attacks on the Muslim religion.
In 2019, while preaching in his Church in Dar es Salaam, the bishop is accused of having uttered “inciteful remarks” against the Muslim religion.
According to the council, the bishop said he hoped that someday he will have the powers to convert all mosques to churches (Sunday schools) and bring the Muslim religion to an end.
The council clarified that it’s not opposed to any religious leader’s ambitions to vie for elective positions but divisive principles.
The leaders have vowed to ensure that the bid for the two leaders to clinch the parliamentary seats flops.
“Gwajima amekuwa akihublri chuki na ahadi za ubaya dhidi ya Waislamu. Mahublri hayo hayana ukweli wowote na bila shaka ni kinyumne na mafundisho ya Biblia. Sisi Waislamu hatuna tatizo na Askofu, Mchungaji, Imamu au Sheikh kuwa Mbunge au nafasi nyingine ya Siasa… Lakini ni vipi Waislamu watampa kura Askofu anaye anahubiri uadui dhidi ya Dini yao. Katika muktadha wa haki kati ya waumini na viongozi wao, waumini wa Kanisa la Utufuo walipashwa kumshauri Askofu Gwajima abadili msimamo wake dhidi ya ndugu zao Waislamu,” the cleric said.
“Kwa muktadha huo Waislamu hawatampa kura Askofu Gwajima kwa kuichafua Dini yao na nia yake ya kutaa kuigeuza Misikiti kuwa Shute za watoto wa Kikristo (Sunday Schools).”
CCM’s President John Pombe Magufuli, who is running for a second term, has been accused of ruling with an iron fist.
Magufuli is facing strong opposition from opposition chief Tundu Lissu.