Repent, signatories of 'bad' contracts told By Felix Mwera, Tarime THE CITIZEN People involved in the signing of bad contracts with foreign mining companies operating the North Mara in Tarime District need to confess to God immediately, a top cleric has declared. Bishop Alex Malasusa, the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) said on Thursday that "the laws might not see them but God will see them and I ask them to confess immediately." The cleric made the remarks shortly after meeting with local leaders and prominent people from the five wards surrounding mine. The mine is operated by Barrick Gold Tanzania Ltd, whose work area stretches several gold mines in the country especially in the lake zone area. The cleric also urged villagers living near the mine to refrain from accepting what he described as sweets from the Canadian giant mining company. "Let us have solidarity, unite and have one voice and cry to God," said Bishop Malasusa. The cleric said that he was shocked with the kind of suffering the communities surrounding the mine encounter, instead of reaping the fruits of mining industry in their own land. The mining company is said to have been forcibly relocating the villagers without giving them reasonable compensation. Mining activities had also caused high rates of pollution as harmful chemical leak from the mine's tailings dam into natural water sources, villager leaders said. One person died in the area after he was affected by the harmful chemicals from the mine and several more were affected, with their health conditions deteriorating. "We will not only tell our President about what we have seen here but we will also tell God because he is the one who gave us this land," the Lutheran top cleric announced. People can't allow a situation where another person makes them suffer while holding the land we are given by God, he said, noting further that "this is challenge on which we must intervene as religious leaders." Speaking at the same occasion the National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata) secretary-general Sheikh Ali Mzee also expressed concern over the suffering the villagers surrounding the mine have been facing. "It is indeed disheartening to see how our own mechanism that we put into power can change to be a problem, and this is undermining our humanity and the dignity of our country," the Bakwata official declared. The religious leaders were on a two day trip in the area to come up with a report on an alternative way of mining operations in the country. Dr Leonard Mataita, secretary -general of the Christina Council of Tanzania (CCT), said they will submit their findings to President Jakaya Kikwete after compiling it. Dr Mtaita was leading the delegation to the gold mining area, where they faced protocol difficulties upon arrival at the North Mara mine gate. The clerics decided to embark this initiative due to on- going complaints that the mining sector isn't helping to uplift Tanzanians from rampant poverty. "Our president promised to include religious leaders in the mining review commitee that he formed but he didn't do so. That is why we have decided to visit a number of mines in the country inluding North Mara so that we can also compile our report and submit to him," the CCT secretary-general said. The delegation also included the Bishop Hilkiah Omindo Deya of the Mara Diocese of the Anglican Church and a number of activists from Dar es Salaam.