The president of National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Bishop John Rucyahana, has advised leaders of the Association of Pentecostal Churches in Rwanda to “be on guard” and end divisionism that has been manifested itself in the church for many years.
Rucyahana was addressing scores of senior clerics at ADEPR-owned Dove Hotel at Gisozi yesterday.
The latest NURC annual report that tests pillars of unity and reconciliation in institutions in the country indicated that 20 per cent of over two million believers under ADEPR have ethnic ideology, something the institution contests.
Yesterday it invited Rucyahana to explain the circumstances under which they had been rated low in terms of unity and reconciliation.
ADEPR clergy said that ethnic divisionism was only present among church leaders but cannot add up to the 20 per cent.
“There is no division among our church members. It’s only individuals who seek to use ethnic divisionism to cling on the leadership of the church,” said Rev. Euphrem Karuranga, the church’s Legal Representative.
In response, Rucyahana said that the fact that there were individuals who use ethnic divisionism to gain leadership is a vivid example that ethnicity still occupies a core position in the church’s life.
“If leaders or individuals can still use ethnicity to win a part of the church followers on their side, it means that divisionism still appeals to you,” Rucyahana said.
He urged church leaders to carry out their own survey if they doubt the commission’s findings.
“We have given you the mandate to carry out your own survey and submit it to NURC. We’re sure you will find similar findings if not graver than what we found”.
He commended the church’s endeavours, especially last month when they descended on local churches to help in unity and reconciliation activities.
“The commission appreciates that you’re doing something to restore unity in the church. The current endeavours will be evaluated in another report,” he said.
Divisions usually appear in ADEPR when time for succession comes up. Contestants almost end up dividing the believers into factions.
Currently, over 30 former senior leaders in the church are accused of mismanagement of the church’s funds. Twelve of them, including the former Executive Committee, are in court over economic crimes charges.