Tanzanian president praises Eastern African Bishops’ focus on environment
By Angella Rwezaula – Dar Es Salaam
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan told the Bishops of Eastern Africa that she was pleased to discover that Pope Francis stresses the issue of environmental protection.
She addressed participants in the 20th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) on Tuesday, 12 July.
"It should be part of your mission and strategic plan to be more inspiring, and as the Holy Father stated, the Earth is our common home. Certainly, we here in Tanzania value the social life that is in line with the Catholic Church's strategy, that we now build our own home."
The 20th annual meeting of AMECEA is taking place on 10-18 July in Julius Nyerere Hall in Dar es Salaam.
Peace and environmental protection
The President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, called on religious and political leaders and Catholic faithful in the region to ensure that they maintain peace and take care of the environment everywhere.
President Samia said the presence of peace in the country helps to preserve ecology and protects against environmental degradation and deforestation, as well as reducing sea pollution.
It is therefore everyone's responsibility to protect the environment and not jeopardize overall development.
President Samia also said Tanzania must take care of water sources and forests, and plant trees to ensure that the environment is clean in all cities, as outlined in the National Environmental Policy.
On the other hand, President Samia said that the Government of Tanzania is pursuing an integrated development policy, and is therefore ready to work with non-governmental organizations, including religious and social organizations to achieve a better future for human life and development.
"It is great to think and implement the goals of sustainable development which do not concern only the world but also they are our goals in the African Union. So, congratulations to all the Bishops, Cardinals and Religious Leaders,” she said.
President Samia lauded Pope Francis’ desire to address the issue of environmental protection "as part of your mission and strategic plan to be more inspiring. It is for this reason the Holy Father stated, the Earth is our common home."
“Certainly, we here in Tanzania value the social life that is in line with the strategy of the Catholic Church, so we agree that we should now build our own home.”
In this regard, President Samia called upon religious leaders to continue implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the world at large, but also in the African Union (AU), including environmental protection.
“As you know, our government is a responsive and receptive government,” she said. “Bring your feedback on environmental stewardship, so that we can set up forums. Today, as you are discussing the issue of the environment, we would like to get your resolutions and see how we are integrating them in our national policies. We all want to protect our treasure, our home that God created for us.”
All bishops and participants in the 20th AMECEA Confederation Conference had been invited to dinner at the State House.
The meal was also attended by political leaders and council elders.
After the reception, the prayer before the meal was led by Bishop Flavian Kasala, Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of Tanzania.
The meal was followed by an exchange of gifts, among which were those given by the AMECEA Cardinals, Archbishops, and others.
President Samia reiterated her message to bring their views on environmental protection so that together they can come to a common agreement.
The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) is a regional institution of Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa with nine member countries, namely Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.