ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
TO H.E. Mr AHMADA RWEYEMAMU NGEMERA
NEW AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
TO THE HOLY SEE*
Thursday, 29 May 2008
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Vatican and to accept the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Republic of Tanzania to the Holy See. I am grateful for the courteous greetings and sentiments of good will which you have expressed on behalf of His Excellency, Mr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the Republic, whom I had the pleasure of meeting. I ask you kindly to convey my gratitude and my personal good wishes to His Excellency the President, to the Government and to the Tanzanian people.
Your country, Mr Ambassador, is looked upon with respect and appreciation by people in East Africa for its stability and its climate of tolerance and peace. Tanzania is also held in esteem for the important role undertaken by its political leaders in the process of pacification of the Great Lakes Region and other international peacekeeping initiatives. The generous hospitality offered to refugees fleeing from hostilities in neighbouring countries, in spite of domestic economic difficulties, has also awakened due appreciation for the noble sentiments of the Tanzanian people. Some negative trends such as an increase in the regional traffic of arms and interruptions in important initiatives of dialogue and reconciliation have cast doubts recently on the immediate future of the peace process. It is not surprising in this regard that responsible leaders and many men and women of good will are eager to see this process sustained at all costs and brought to fulfilment. No effort should be spared in order to recreate the indispensable conditions for normal living, development and cultural advancement of the populations affected. The Holy See joins its voice to this appeal and continues to exhort all who hold responsibility in the region not to loose confidence in the value of dialogue, but to explore with an open mind and follow all possibilities that may lead to the conclusion of a lasting peace.
Tanzania can be proud of its inheritance of harmonious coexistence between different ethnic and religious groups handed down to the present generations from founding President Julius Nyerere and other important statesmen. Every generation must continue to cherish and protect this treasure. Care must be taken that the common good of all Tanzanians and the dignity and the authentic rights of all persons may prevail over the particular demands or interests of certain groups. In this regard discernment and decisive action on the part of authorities are needed to curb favouritism or initiatives that would be incompatible with a political project based on universal human rights and the rule of law, and could carry in some circumstances seeds of intolerance and violence. The Catholic Church is committed to fostering positive ethnic relations and dialogue with members of other religions as a fundamental component of her desire to give witness to God’s universal love. It gives her great joy to assist society in establishing an environment of good will between all men and women based on mutual knowledge, appreciation and respect.
Creating the proper environment and structures for the economic development of a country is one of the important goals in the task of good governance. International trust and goodwill towards Tanzania has been successfully generated not least by efforts to combat corruption, and the economy has responded with steady progress. Experience in many developing countries shows that accountability and transparency, especially in the use of public funds, not only upholds the necessary moral integrity of those in office, but is in itself an indispensable economic factor for stable progress. Great care has to be taken in order to continue along this path, together with a clear will to bring the less favoured sectors to a just and active participation in the common economic growth. As your country continues to undertake works of infrastructure and promote investments in support of agriculture and industry, it is my hope that your people will work with confidence for the good of their homeland and that Tanzania will always find openness, trust and effective support at international levels.
I am pleased to note that considerable efforts have been made to promote wider access to education in the knowledge that it is one of the most important factors in development. Training programmes have also been wisely established for teachers and for other personnel in schools and health centres since the construction of adequate facilities cannot be separated from the complementary effort to prepare qualified staff. I thank you Mr Ambassador for your words of appreciation of the service that the Catholic Church offers to the people of your country. Both in education and health services, care must be taken to provide financial resources to the different projects or institutions on the basis of pressing need or merit. Equity and transparency in this area greatly facilitate a spirit of loyal cooperation between private initiative and public agencies. In these same fields of development institutions must continue to expand and improve in quality in order to respond to the needs of the population. I am sure that Tanzanian Catholics will not fail to offer their specific contribution through the Church’s institutions and initiatives, animated by Christian service of neighbour and generous love of their country.
Your Excellency, on the occasion of your presentation as the United Republic of Tanzania’s representative at the Vatican, I have given expression to some of the Holy See’s perspectives and sincere hopes for your country. May your mission serve to strengthen the ties existing between the Tanzanian people and the Holy See. Be assured that the various departments of the Roman Curia will be ready to assist you in your task. With my prayers and best wishes for the success of your mission, I invoke Almighty God's abundant blessings upon you and your family, and upon the people of your country.
*Insegnamenti IV, 1, 2008, p.885-887.
L'Osservatore Romano 30.5.2008, p.4.
L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English n. 23 pp. 9, 12.
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