THE Catholic Church as an institution will not take sides in the new constitution process since the draft did not deal with issues related to faith, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, has said.
Cardinal Pengo told reporters in Dar es Salaam that earlier views published by some local tabloids quoting some religious leaders supporting the three-tier government remained personal and not connected to the church.
Some leaders of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) were quoted as having supported the three-tier government.
“In the church, when we want to give our stands, we do not rely on any committee or a group; we normally do meet under the episcopal conference and come out with a statement, which is normally made by the chairman — and that becomes the official stand of the church,” he said.
He added that the church does not comment or give views on each and everything save for those related to faith.
“When the church gives a stand on a matter, we want believers to follow it and thus such a thing should have direct connection to faith and morals,” he said.
He added: “If at all the draft constitution said that there is no God, the church would act because it is against our faith…” Cardinal Pengo said that he was personally in favour of a two-tier government and that he remained a staunch believer and a Catholic as his personal preferences did not go against the wishes of the church.
On the three-tier government, Cardinal Pengo noted that the supporters of the structure were claiming that the current structure has failed to serve its people to expectations. “I wonder whether the three-tier government will provide solutions to our problems; it will be like going backwards in the drive for a strong union.
It’s like what Justice Warioba (Chairman of Constitutional Review Commission) said that it should have been a one government,” he said. He stressed that Tanzania is supposed to be one and that the three-tier government should not be taken to be the views of the majority Tanzanians as they could be views of few people with reasons better known to themselves.
Cardinal Pengo noted that one of the reasons used by the supporters of three-tier was the burden that the Mainland has had of running Zanzibar but added that if it becomes three-tier the burden would increase.
“That is to say that the Tanganyika will have a burden of supporting its government, support the union government and support the government of Zanzibar; so shall we have reduced or increased the burden?” he asked.
In another development, Cardinal Pengo has tasked the government to work on the controversial move by the government of Zanzibar to introduce its constitution, saying that the matter was provocative to its Mainland counterparts.
“This matter should have been worked upon long time ago; we cannot say that for having kept quiet the union government did a great thing. But this mistake by the government of Zanzibar does not justify another mistake by the union counterpart,” he said.