Jenerali Ulimwengu in a very thoughtful piece, argues that Churches in Tanzania are under pressure and possibly under attack from political authorities. And though he does not explicitly say, Ulimwengu means that there should be a separation of state and church and that the state should not infringe on the churches’ rights or duty to serve God.

In this respect Ulimwengu, who is an exceptionally smart and sophisticated and brave journalist, is absolutely right.

But we have the impression that he overlooks a detail that is far from being negligible: the state does not want prevent religious organizations from spreading God’s word, they simply want to prevent Churches and religious organizations to use their (God-derived) authority to meddle in political affairs.

And one has the impression – as we have documented in various posts– that in Tanzania, as in many other countries around the world, religious organizations are more interested in politics and socio-political-economic agendas than in their own specific missions.

The division of state and church means that the state must respect the freedom of religion, but the religious organizations should avoid playing, as they often too, a purely political role. And it is precisely because religious groups play or want to play a political role, that the state has to intervene. And this is why, very respectfully we have to disagree with Ulimwengu.