01 January 2018
Tanzania threatens to close churches
'Any violation of the law could lead to cancellation of the registration of the concerned religious society'
Tanzanian authorities have threatened to close down churches that mix religion and politics after a Pentecostal church leader criticised President John Magufuli in a Christmas sermon.
Zachary Kakobe, self-proclaimed bishop and founder of the ‘Full Gospel Bible Fellowship Church’, accused the Tanzanian government of “quietly turning the country into a one-state rule by systematically banning political activity.”
Days later, the Home Affairs Ministry warned religious organisations that weighing in on political issues is “contrary to the law”.
“Any violation of the law could lead to cancellation of the registration of the concerned religious society,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on 29 December.
Tanzania’s constitution protects freedom of worship, but religious organisations must register at the country’s Home Affairs Ministry to get a licence to operate legally.
Opposition leaders in Tanzania say tolerance for dissent has been rapidly disappearing since Magufuli took office in 2015.
PICTURE: Tanzanian President John Magufuli (3rd R, front) inspects the guards of honour aboard Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Nov. 26, 2017
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