TANZANIAN Christians will today join others around the world to celebrate Christmas which marks the birth of Jesus Christ.
Several religious and government leaders in the country, including President John Magufuli, have delivered their Christmas messages, emphasizing the importance of upholding peace, love and national unity during this festive season.
The police force has warned that stern actions would be taken against peace disrupters who will engage in criminal activities, calling upon the general public to observe the law and shun acts that may land them into the hands of law enforcement agencies.
According to the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) this year’s celebrations will be marked at national level in Mbinga District, Ruvuma Region.
The celebrations have been jointly coordinated by TEC and the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT).
The TEC Secretary General, Dr Charles Kitima, said yesterday that Christmas Eve which was held yesterday at Christ the King Anglican Church, Ruvuma Diocese, was presided over by Bishop Raphael Haule.
Dr Kitima added that Christmas mass will be held at St Kilian Cathedral in Mbinga Roman Catholic Diocese and will be led by Bishop John Ndimbo.
Christmas celebrations coordinator who is also acting Director for TEC Communication Department Pascal Mwanache, said the Christmas mass was expected to commence at 9:30 am.
He said all important preparations were completed to allow Christians to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ by giving thanks to God for granting such gift to them For his part, CCT Spokesperson Reverend John Kamoyo said that Ruvuma Regional Commissioner Ms Christina Mndeme was expected to represent the government at the Christmas eve mass.
Rev Kamoyo stated that Christmas celebrations would be broadcast live by Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and several Roman Catholic radios in the country.
Last year Christmas was marked at national level in Mwanza Region. Last Sunday, President Magufuli delivered Christmas and New Year greetings when he joined other worshippers for Sunday service at Bikira Maria Catholic Church in Chato District, Geita Region.
He called upon Tanzanians to maintain peace, love and national unity while praying for a more prosperous year ahead.
“Let me ask my fellow Tanzanians to celebrate Christmas with peace and love, but we should welcome the New Year with peace and love,” Dr Magufuli stated when addressing worshipers at the church.
In his festive message to Tanzanians, the President said as Christians and other people were heading to Christmas and New Year they have a duty to pray for peace, love and unity for all human beings without discrimination.
The head of ELCT in the country, Dr Fredrick Shoo, said the birth of Jesus Christ was good news to worshippers, embracing the rich, poor, orphans, widows and the elites. “Jesus Christ was born for us all. He has come to bring light where there is darkness, justice where there is oppression, hope where there is despair and happiness where there is grief,” he said. Bishop Stephen Munga of the ELCT North-Eastern Diocese said Christmas reminds those in power, who believe that everything in the world belonged to them that God was the cause of justice. “Noel is a testimony that God has come to liberate the world and an end to the kingdom of darkness,” he said. The ELCT bishop of Karagwe Diocese, Dr Benson Bagonza, said human beings cannot love God and despise fellow human beings. “We are supposed to respect humanity as God did. Harassing fellow human beings amounted to distressing God,” he said. Until yesterday, some passengers who were planning to travel from the cities to villages for the festive season were facing transport problems due to high demand for upcountry transport. Meanwhile Kagera Regional Commissioner Brig Gen Marco Gaguti appealed to Tanzanians to uphold peace and tranquility as they celebrate Christmas and the onset of the New Year. “My appeal to all residents is to ensure that national interests prevail. We must ensure that the prevailing peace and tranquility is maintained. We should not allow our religions to divide us because we are all God’s sons and daughters,” he emphasized. Mr Gaguti noted that peace was fundamental for achieving sustainable development “Tanzania, one of the most peaceful and politically stable countries in Africa, offers an attractive investment climate, a rich and diverse natural resource base and a growing consumer market. It’s these widely acknowledged factors that have made the country a darling of foreign investors and multinational companies,” he said