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Opportunities and Challenges for Peace-Building and Sustainable Development: The Case of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania EED ALUMNI CONFERENCE 26-29 Jan 2008. Dr. Declare Mushi Tumaini University- KCM College. Tanzania Overview. Population- 35 Million

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dr declare mushi tumaini university kcm college

Opportunities and Challenges for Peace-Building and Sustainable Development: The Case of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in TanzaniaEED ALUMNI CONFERENCE 26-29 Jan 2008

Dr. Declare Mushi

Tumaini University- KCM College

tanzania overview
Tanzania Overview
  • Population- 35 Million
  • More than 120 tribal groups
  • 35% Muslims
  • 40% Christians
  • 25 Others
  • Religious beliefs are essentaial element for social cohesion and social capital for peace building
  • However, in many parts of the world religion has been much cited as a central element of numerous cases of the conflicts (North Ireland, Balkans, Nigeria etc)
  • Despite escalating poverty, Tanzania has enjoyed about 40 years of relative internal peace and stability
  • No civil wars, no military coups, no state-collapse, no warlords
  • The country is referred as “An Oasis of Peace” “Island of Peace”
peace studies in tanzania
Peace Studies in Tanzania

Research on Democracy in Tanzania (REDET)

  • 80% sees that believers of both religions had good relations
  • 11.7% were aware of some conflicts
  • Only 3.7% of the respondents thought the relations were disharmonious
role of churches
Role of Churches
  • Important- Spiritual, psychological care
  • Provide ~40% of major social services (education and health services)
  • ELCT ~15% of health care services.
  • Education- ELCT it has
    • more than 700 secondary schools
    • 6 University colleges
    • Several vocational schools
health and education sectors
Health and Education Sectors
  • Fundamental in promoting peace and sustainable development
  • Education offer opportunity to live and work together thus enhance social cohesion necessary for peace building
  • Health services contributes to the improved quality of life and hence, improve productivity
the current situation
The current situation
  • In the recent years churches in TZ have started to damage their image as models in peace building (Over 10 recorded conflicts across denominations)
  • Given the escalating poverty it is doubtful whether churches will in future serve as a model for conflict resolution and peace-making
three types of religious conflict
Three types of religious conflict
  • Inter-religion conflict: ( Under the banner of “Holy war”
  • Intra-religion conflict: (multiple causes)
  • State Vs religion conflict-
    • When religious groups become critical to the ruling power or
    • When the state perceive religious groups are threat to peace and stability.
inter religious conflict in tanzania
Inter-Religious Conflict in Tanzania
  • Mainly between Muslims and Christians
    • Verbal confrontation
    • Destruction of pork butchers in Dar es salaam
    • Struggle to have positions in the government
    • Disagreement on Kadhi Court and
    • Wether Tanzania should join Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) or not
intra religious conflict in tanzania
Intra- religious Conflict in Tanzania
  • Last 18 years Tanzania has witnessed a strong wave of religious animosities
  • Intra-religious conflict are common- All major Christian denominations and Muslims have experience different forms of intra-religion conflicts
  • Omari 2000- ‘religion has become a potential source of open conflicts in Tanzania
elct overview
ELCT Overview
  • ELCT ~3 millions members
  • Most dioeceses- follow ethnic boundaries
  • Top leadership- from dominant ethnic groups
  • The ELCT structure reinforces tribal cohesion and sharpening the tribal or regional boundaries
  • Minority ethnic groups within ELCT are discontent
two major conflicts withing elct
Two Major Conflicts withing ELCT
  • The Meru Diocese Conflict (Mgogoro wa Meru)
  • The Pare Diocese (Mgogoro wa dayosisi ya Pare)
    • Both -Northern area Kilimanjaro, Arusha
the two cases
The two cases
  • Highlights on the causes of intra-religious conflicts
  • Patterns of conflicts
  • Impacts of conflict (-/+)
  • Lessons learnt
  • Challenges and opportunities
  • Conclussion and Recommendations
case 1 the meru diocese saga
Case 1: The Meru Diocese Saga
  • The conflict held attention of many Tanzanians (1990-1993)
  • Meru was one of the 6th district of the ELCT Northern diocese (dominated by Chagga)
  • Meru area is inhabited by Meru (Rwa) ethnic group
  • Struggle was to create a separate diocese to be known as Mount Meru Diocese of the ELCT
reasons for the meru saga
Reasons for the Meru Saga
  • Burning order by the church on the use of alcoholic beverages in Christian ceremonies
    • Went against the Meru & Chaga traditional practices
    • Powerful political figure was removed from Church leadership for serving beer at the wedding of his son)
    • Meru people perceived the move as an insult to the whole Meru Community (Baroin 1996, Nyirabu, 2002).
underline reasons
Underline reasons
  • Power struggle:
    • Meru people felt were dominated by Chagga of Northern Diocese- Not treated as equal partners.
  • Resources Distribution:
    • Funds and social services favoured the Kilimanjaro/Chagga area
  • Political Interest
    • Political figures from the ruling part that had their own political interests thus fueled the conflict.

(Baroin 1996, Tambila 2006, Nyirabu 2006, Mmuya 2001)

the impact of mure conflict
The Impact of Mure Conflict

Property Destruction

  • Farms, schools, churches, cars and houses of loyal pastors and other members were burnt.
  • Properties damaged to properties belong to church was more than USD 70,000 (ELCT, 1993)


  • More that 60 families had to permanently move from their original homes to other areas in search for security.

Death and Injuries

  • Many people were injured and 10 people were reported to have lost their life (Nyirabu, 2002).
creation of new dioceses
Creation of New dioceses
  • Illegal Mount Meru ELCT diocese was formed in September 1990. Due to political influence of the founders, the registration was processed within two months.
  • Legal new diocese called Meru Diocese was created in March 1992
  • The election of Bishop of Meru diocese was done under the tight security
  • Individuals and pastors who were excommunicated from the ELCT - decided to form a new church known as African Mission Evangelical Church (AMEC).
case 2 conflict in pare diocese
Case 2: Conflict in Pare Diocese
  • Conflict in Pare Diocese is not yet resolved.
  • The conflict is between South and North Pare
  • North Pare (Mwanga District)- 2 ethnic groups
    • Wagweno and Wasangi (Minority “rich”)
  • South Pare (Same district) 2 ethnic groups
    • The Pare (majority “poor”) and Masai

The North people are claiming for a new diocese which they call it the ELCT Mwanga Diocese (Not Pare Diocese)

reasons for the pare conflict
Reasons for the Pare conflict
  • Power Struggle
    • Long serving pastors from North claim to have no high position within the Pare Diocese
      • 1st and 2nd Bishop- from the South
  • Resources
    • The North (Rich) feels that the south part of the diocese is being favoured-
      • Resources generated by Northern people are directed toward the South (Mmuya 2001).
reasons cont
Reasons cont…
  • Political Interest
    • Respected retired Prime minister from the North area and other long serving politicians from the ruling party are behind the conflict
    • There are also high ranking political figures that are loyal to the ELCT- making the negotiation and government intervention difficult (Mmuya 2001)
impact of pare saga
Impact of Pare saga
  • Excommunication:
    • “trouble makers” –were excommunicated
  • Destruction
    • Properties- Crops, schools, churches and houses of loyal pastors and other members)
  • Scramble for church buildings
  • Displacement- someloyalpastors had to permanently move from their original homes to other areas for security.
  • Injuries
    • People were injured- no death has been reported
the current situation1
The Current Situation
  • To date the conflict is not yet resolved
  • The ELCT administration has ruled out that the creation of new dioceses across the country will be considered after 2025
  • As a result those who demands for a new diocese have decided to worship at home using the illegal name of ELCT Mwanga Diocese instead of ELCT Pare Diocese (Mmuya 2001).
  • Some have joined AMEC
lessons learned from the two cases
Lessons learned from the two cases
  • Many observers have suggested that the conflicts within ELCT are combination of the following factors
    • Poverty in the country -Fuller 1995 & Appleby 1996 said that “conflicts follow the economic decay”
    • Resource distribution within the church
    • Power struggle- marginalized group
    • Political interest of individuals
    • Leadership weakness - favouratism
    • Ethnicity ??
  • Ethnicity in Tanzania is not a cause but is often used as a vehicle (bond) to unite people in case of discontent
  • Due to tribal nature of the Diocese it is difficult to separate between religions, socio-economic and ethnic conflict.
  • Studies on religious conflict in Tanzania shows that the vast majority of religious organizations (Muslims & Christians) have essential elements to the culture of democracy and peace:
    • 87.5% have constitutions
    • 70.5% select leaders through elections by followers or representative bodies
    • 67% have mechanism to remove leaders

(Tambila & Sivalon 2006).

  • Fighting Ethnicity: There is an ongoing debate that Bishops and district pastors should not necessary work in their place of origin. The system is currently operating at parish level. (Nyerere’s Model- against tribalism)
  • Social Infrastructures:used as peace building centers-
    • propagating and practice the culture of tolerance
    • Dialogue, ecumenism, unity
    • Eg. Muslims are studying and work in Church institutions
  • Formation of Muslim-Christian Commission for Peace, Development and Conflict Resolution to restore national heritage (Peace and Unity)
  • The sources of conflicts processes are complex
  • With increasing poverty and inequality inter and intra religious conflicts are gaining momentum
  • Kadhi court and OIC debate
    • Between Muslims and Christians
    • Among Christians denominations
    • Among politicians
  • Disconent with state interventionfelt that the Government is not fair in dealing with the matter
  • Equal opportunity policy within the religious constitutions
  • Open and participatory processes in decision making, management and conflict resolution.
  • The state to be consistence and wiser in dealing with religious conflicts
  • Encourage open interfaith dialogue to address underlying causes rather than dealing with symptoms
  • Capacity building and deliberate action to empower religious leaders with skills and knowledge of contemporary peace building theory and practice.
  • Religious leaders should foster economic "growth with distribution" in order to improve the economic and social situation within and outside the groups concerned.
  • The EED Alumni conference should challenge us to be part of the peace builders. The Bible says “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called children of God” Math 5.9.

How can we become peace makers?