The Ministry of Home Affairs has told local authorities to take measures against religious denominations that are violating the law. A Ministry spokesperson told Habari Leo that though the government is for freedom of worship, when it comes to secular laws they have to be enforced. He said churches have mushroomed all over the country, some of them forbidding their children from singing the national anthem in schools or seeking medical treatment in hospitals.
With an increase of about 670,000 (14.5%) new members last year, it has been claimed that Tanzania now has the second largest (after Sweden) Lutheran Church congregation in the world. Tanzania’s record increase brings its membership to a total of 5,300,000.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) of Tanzania, which is affiliated to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), also holds the top position in Africa. Worldwide the Church has an estimated 70 million adherents. Even though all the Lutheran churches in Africa were shown as having recorded high growth rates, Tanzania had the strongest showing.
In recent years mainstream churches have been showing alarm at the high rate at which they have been losing members to mushrooming evangelical sects. The Catholic Church, with a membership of 9.5 million members or about 25% of the total population in Tanzania, remains the largest Christian group in the country – The Citizen.
Praying for a coalition
The Society for Islamic Propagation (UAMSHO) has been arranging services to pray for a coalition government in Zanzibar. Head of the society Sheikh Azan said that the aim was to pray for the success of the ‘rapprochement’ between President Amani Karume and CUF Secretary General Seif Sharif Hamad and for the formation of a coalition government – Nipashe.