Religion is the highest denominator in many regions of the world, irrespective of the cult or leaning. Many countries are torn apart by belief, even those who share the same religion. It was the same in Northern Ireland where Catholics and Protestants were at each other’s throats until recently.
In Iraq the Sunni and the Shias are always on the war path with both claiming to be the true followers and practitioners of the prophet’s teaching. The same cycle is repeated in Yemen and recently in Northern Nigeria and neighbouring countries where adherents are killing in the name of God.
In Rwanda, religion also played a pivotal role from the word go. Catholicism was institutionalized. The Church ran the country, its schools and future. It held all the strings.
As we enter that fateful and month of April, around the same time as Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is difficult to distinguish between true belief and practice.
This rainy time 24 years ago, many Rwandans put their belief in the Church, put their lives in the hands of priests and nuns hoping to be saved from marauding militia and government soldiers hunting the Tutsi ethnic group.
It turned out that many of the so-called guardians of faith, ambassadors of God and moralisers were nothing more than charlatans. They were the first to pick up the sword against those who had fled towards them for succour. They were part of the executors of the Genocide of the century.
A couple of weeks ago, thousands of churches and worship centres were shut down for not meeting the required standards. In fact the government was very generous in not saying the concerned institutions were nothing more than bogus firms that prey on the gullibility of their followers.
That is the situation we find with us during this Easter period. 24 years ago the Church failed its followers, today they prey upon them. It is our prayer that tomorrow religious organisations will fulfil their true calling of guiding souls, not killers or con men.