For Rwandans to continue consolidating the gains from good governance and security, religious leaders must come together to support the faithful.
Addressing journalists about their first ever election observer experience, the clerics, under their Rwanda Religious Leaders’ Forum, said it was the duty of clerics as opinion leaders to manage people and their property, to protect them and to help them become better.
Retired Bishop of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and president of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), John Rucyahana, said religious leaders are expected to primarily provide divine guidance to their congregations but should also facilitate their respective flocks to do better for themselves and their country.
“The people should be secure and they must be living in peace with their neighbours and within the community,” he said.
Rucyahana said that, just like politicians, clerics shepherd the faithful beyond spiritual realm.
“For us to be able to achieve that, we must first get rid of the colonial mentality where we are taught about going to heaven without working on it. There is no reason people should starve, be insecure, be poor yet we are here to lead them to a better life,” he said.
Remera Miracle Centre’s Bishop Theobald Samedi said last Friday’s election was proof that Rwandans had reached a level where they know exactly what they want.
“There is nothing that anyone can do to mislead us right now and that’s why foreigners are confused that after elections, instead of chaos, there is celebration. As leaders, let’s use this as opportunity to build our followers’ confidence in participating in such activities,” he said.
Rev Corneille Gato Munyamasoko, of Baptist Church of Rwanda, commended the election presiding officers and volunteers for making the exercise easy and facilitating millions to vote.
“The turn up of voters as early as 4am indicated that Rwandans were eager to make their choice and continue with their day-to-day activities,” he said.
The Mufti of Rwanda, Sheikh Salim Hitimana, said the just-concluded election was an indication that there is a lot that other countries can learn from Rwanda.
“We have made big strides and from what we experienced last week, this country has a lot to offer in terms of good practices when it comes to organising elections, he said.
Last month, the religious leaders attended a workshop organised by the National Electoral Commission and the National Commission for Human Rights that focused on their role in sensitising their followers about the presidential elections.