I am not what one may call an avid church goer but once in a while, on a sunny Sunday morning I join fellow believers at a nearby local Pentecostal church for a dose of spiritual nourishment.
My good old ‘man of God’ at the Zion Temple in Butare town as usual did not disappoint; not with those prophesies about ‘children of God becoming rich without toiling! But just one thing sent my ever curious mind into overdrive.
The ‘produce and fill the world gospel’ is what I found disturbing. The bald head Kenyan unconvincingly explained how Christians are facing a serious threat from the ever increasing population of the Muslim world.
As he put it, Islam allows for a possibly of a man to marry a maximum of four women, this he said has ensured the growth of Islam in Europe and America.
The good Pastor’s message and prayer was that Christians should produce as many children as possible for the church to grow.
If this is not disturbing, what is? Pastor Edwin Kinuthia Waweru is an educated man, a man of high standing in the community he leads and that is what makes his comments more disturbing.
Just seated next to me on the front pew on that Sunday was a rather ragged pregnant mother with two tots whose loud screams were making it difficult for everyone around to concentrate on the service.
The stench of urine emanating from one of the kids diapers clearly showed that the young woman was struggling to provide for her children.
Experts tell us that the Rwandan population was estimated at about 8 million people in 2000 with one of the highest population densities in Africa and a high population growth rate close to 3percent per annum.
They portend that The Rwandan population is expected to double to around 16 million by 2020, unless family planning improves, in which case the population is projected to reach 13 million.
To achieve this, according to the Country’s Vision 2020, Rwanda projects to reduce the fertility rate within 20 years from 6 to 4.5 children and the population growth rate to 2.2 percent.
This feat will not be achieved through mere rhetoric but more concrete measures with the involvement of all stakeholders, faith based organisations which include Churches featuring prominently here.
The Catholic Church does not allow family planning services within their health facilities but have encouraged the setting up of units near health centres and hospitals to provide family planning services to those who need them.
The million dollar question is how will the mushrooming Pentecostal or born again Churches be brought on board? A ballooning population that is not in tandem with the Country’s growth is one of the major causes of the depletion of natural resources and the subsequent poverty and hunger.
We should all be singing from the same hymn book on this sensitive population explosion issue least we risk leading astray the flock we are charged to lead in all our different social or spiritual standings.
The author is a journalist with to The New Times