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Prohibition of Preaching in Buses in Tanzania


Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Publisher Founding: September 1, 2014

Location: Fort Langley, Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Journal: African Freethinker

Journal Founding: November 1, 2018

Frequency: Once (1) per year

Review Status: Non-Peer-Reviewed

Access: Electronic/Digital & Open Access

Fees: None (Free)

Volume Numbering: 1

Issue Numbering: 1

Web Domain: 

Individual Publication Date: May 10, 2023

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Author(s): Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge

Author(s) Bio: Lucas is Assistant Editor African Freethinker/ (Tanzania), an Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania, a Notary Public Officer and Commissioner for Oaths. Researcher and Writer in Constitutional Law, International Human Rights Law, Information and Communications Technology Law.Also, a Freethinker activist in Tanzania. (E-mail:

Word Count: 1,550

Image Credit(s): Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge

Keywords: born again, choice, Christian, church, government, Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge, motor vehicle, preaching, religion, Tanzania, Transport Licensing Act.

*Please see the footnotes and bibliography after the article.*

Prohibition of Preaching in Buses in Tanzania

Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge.

Dar es salaam, Tanzania – East Africa.

It is indeed an ambiguity as to whether Tanzania is a secular state as it is enshrined in the constitution or it is a religious state?  This habit of pretending to be a non-religious state but with a lot of double standards of favoring religionism, while the status of secularism is strangled and be left to suffocate every day is growing so fast. Still for the sake of this discussion the essential theme is going to be in the law which is responsible in regulating matters of public transport in the cities and inter-cities which is the Transport Licensing Act, Chapter 317. with its two issued regulations.

In 2017 the government of Tanzania reached a decision to ban all kinds of preaching including the religious ones, business undertakings, political activities or any kind of provisions of entertainments in urban public service vehicles. This was done through the Transport Licensing Act, Cap, 317 under the Transport Licensing (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2017.Specifically Regulation 25(b) (iii). this part of regulation stated this…

No person does business, preaches, conducts political activities or provides entertainment which is contrary to regulation 23(2) (c) in the urban public service vehicle

The Transport Licensing (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2017, defined Public Service Vehicle as a motor vehicle which carries or is intended to carry passengers for hire or reward, whether used or construed solely for that purpose or not, while the term “passenger” is defined as any person who is travelling in a vehicle with valid bus ticket and includes a child. While Regulation, 23(2) (c) stated this…

The entertainment provided in a public service vehicle in the course of a journey comply with norms and culture of Tanzania and with low volume,”

Very unfortunate these cited regulations did not define the term “preaches” but the Cambridge International Dictionary of English, 1995. defines the term preach as speak in church especially a priest in a church or to give a religious speech. Also, the dictionary continues to define the term preach as to try to persuade other people to believe in a particular belief or follow a particular way of life. Thus, a straight meaning of the term preaches is someone’s attempt to persuade somebody to believe something in which the preacher himself or herself believes.

This legal restriction described under regulation 25(b) (iii) got established with an intention of ending a practice of preaching religious sermons and shouting by prayers in buses and other public transport vehicles, which was incontrovertibly becoming a pandemonium that was growing very quick. For instance in urban public service vehicles in the cities like  Dar es salaam  there are a lot of religious preachers especially Christian evangelists, they are also known as  the born again ones mostly are from Pentecostal and Lutheran churches, scrambling among themselves boarding in buses as if they are real  passengers, they wait till the bus starts moving, then they start by introducing their names and their faith…then they start preaching gospel of Jesus Christ by shouting and screaming in buses, they talk news of receiving Jesus as the savior, they conduct prayers  to youths who are desperate looking for jobs since the unemployment rate is high in the nation, pray for success in business, praying for those who are hunting for marriage and husbands to marry them, pray for those who are barren, casting demons and pray for protection from all satanic bondage and  against witches, praying for blessings in general, preaches about heaven and hell. Then at the end when the busses are about to reach the  main station, they ask passengers to contribute tithes to them, mostly they prefer collecting cash to other offerings, but sometimes they also accept other precious gifts which are offered to them, they normally insist that they deserve getting those donations since they are the servants of the living god, after that  then  they quickly get out of the bus, looking for another bus, it is an activity of the whole day and all days of the week, it is like a self-styled employment to them. This became chaos, genuine passengers could no longer enjoy the quietness they used to enjoy before this peril emerged in the urban public service vehicles.

I  got a chance to speak to one of the senior Pastor of Lutheran church who is also a senior lecturer of Christian theology in Tanzania, I asked him why such habit of preaching in public transports in cities was growing so fast? and what was the position of the church on that, he said that he was happy about the  situation of people preaching Christ in urban public services vehicles, he further added that this is part of the Christian ambitions of preaching Christ to the whole world…he said this is what they call a motor vehicle evangelism. It is a new way of spreading Christianity and Christ news to the public.

 In preventing an increase of those unorganized religious preaches in urban public services vehicles the government was pushed to regulate the situation, that is why the state introduced the Transport Licensing (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations,2017. Particularly regulation 25(b) (iii), to abolish these dishonest preaches in public transports, and it was a big relief. Though some people tried to oppose the law with an argument  that, preaching religion in urban public services vehicles loudly, it is part of utilization of  Constitutional rights of freedom of expression which is provided in article 18 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania,1977, the article reads as follows “every person has a freedom of opinion and expression of his ideas” and enjoying a right of freedom of belief which is  in article 19(1),the article states that Every person has the right to the freedom of conscience, faith and choice in matters of religion, including the freedom to change his religion or faith.”  

Nevertheless, these rights are to be enjoyed subject to obedience of other laws which regulates the modus operandi of enjoying those rights. For instance article 30(1) of the same Constitution, maintains that human rights and freedom which is enshrined in the constitution should not be enjoyed by a person to the extent of causing interference to freedom of other persons or interfere public interest, while article 30(2)a, provides that while enjoying the rights of freedom of conscience, faith and religion as a human and constitutional right then there must be an ensuring measures that…the rights and freedoms of other people or of the interests of the public are not prejudiced by the wrongful exercise of the freedoms and rights of individuals.” Thus article 30(1), and (2)a, of the constitution provides some observations that need be adhered so as to avoid the abuse of the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of some one’s beliefs. These Christian evangelists preachers who shouts in urban public service vehicles cause inconveniences to genuine passengers.

A big surprise was in the year 2020, when the government officially brought the Transport Licensing (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations,2020. (Government Notice No.76 Published on.7/2/2020) made under section 45 of the Transport Licensing Act, Chapter 317.These new regulations revoked the 2017 regulations and have completely removed the part which stated that…

No person does business, preaches, conducts political activities or provides entertainment which is contrary to regulation 23(2) (c) in the urban public service vehicle

This is a legal dilemma, an act of removing the part which restricts unorganized preaching in public transport in cities it is an intolerable decision, it is as if the state is trying to buy cheap popularity from Pentecostal Christians, while forgetting that the state authorities are frustrating the constitutional commitment that Tanzania is a secular state. Why these double standards are being played by the state authorities? Just a piece of advice to the authorities… let that prohibition of preaching in public transport section be brought back in these 2020 regulations, because its removal was an unconstitutional action. These religious influences to state affairs must stop instant. 

It is an undisputable fact that the Transport Licensing (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2017, Regulation 25(b)(iii), was part of government’s efforts to make sure that while  a person is enjoying  constitutional rights of freedom of opinion and expression of ideas and the right to freedom of conscience, faith and choice in matters of religion, including the freedom to change his religion or faith, then these rights are to be utilized  without denying passengers in urban public service vehicles the right to be left free out of noise pollution caused by these unauthorized Christian evangelists who shouts in urban public services vehicles very emotional contrary to the laws. Yet regardless of the presence of those 2017 regulation, still illegal evangelism went on in urban public service vehicles till the moment and bus drivers, conductors and a number of passengers entertains this habit, while law enforcers and responsible authorities were so lenient to enforce the is advised that these religious preaching are to be carried out in their legalized places. Preaching, screaming and shouting in public service vehicles must stop because they cause inconveniences to genuine passengers. 






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