Economic growth in the East African Community (EAC) partner states could drop considerably if leaders in the region fail to halt the relenting religious intolerance and chaos that is on the rise.
Investors warn that if this is not stopped it could impact on the existing successes made by the region’s integration champions.
Many businesses and other economic activities came to standstill in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar when police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds that had taken part in demonstrations to demand the release of several Muslim demonstrators that were being held by the police in connection with association with Uamsho terrorist group.
This group is pushing for an independent state in Zanzibar.
Some of Uamsho group of Islamic faith in Zanzibar, that were until last week demanding to know the whereabouts of the leader of the Islands Imam Organization Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed, who disappeared in suspicious circumstances on Tuesday last weeks’ demonstration reported to have led to the loss of a police officer.
In Dar es Salaam, police officers deployed heavily armed police patrols in the Central Business District on Wednesday (last week) afternoon in a bid to keep at bay protesters who attempted to march to the Central Police Station in the city demanding the release of the their leader, Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda who was arrested later during (last week) the week in connection with several counts.
Sheikh Ponda, who is the Secretary General of the Muslim Communities and Institutions in Tanzania, was placed under police custody in Dar in connection with the violence in Mbagala that took place two weeks ago where police said Muslims had held illegal demonstration that led to destruction of eight churches of different denominations leading to threatening the country’s peace and security.
Dar’s Special Zone Commander, Suleiman Kova confirmed the arrest saying he was apprehended on Tuesday night (last week) at a venue that police suspect he was using as a hideout following what has been speculated as his attempt to elude arrest.
Ponda is alleged to have been instigating violence by preaching hatred, rhetoric against the rule of law and authority and eventually culminating in the illegal demonstrations in Dar es Salaam that saw several churches vandalized and destroyed.