URUGWIRO VILLAGE - A team of 47 inter-religious leaders from various countries in the Great Lakes region yesterday pledged to play their role in peace building, sustainable development as well as foster reconciliation amongst people in regional countries.
Under their network, African Council of Religious Leaders, the group made this promise at Urugwiro Village where they had gone to pay a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame.
According to the Mufti of Rwanda, Sheikh Saleh Habimana, who is also the head of the network, the leaders visited the country in a bid to stand in solidarity with the Rwandan community as the country prepares for the 16th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“During our discussions with the President, he advised us to have ownership of our continent and operate with dignity.”
“He also emphasized that before donors get tired of giving us (religious groups) assistance, we should have already broken the cycle of begging so that at one point we can sustainably finance our activities,” Habimana said.
According to the official, Kagame highlighted that when political and religious leaders seek funding from the same donors, then they (donors) are bound to get tired at some point.
The Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Mubaje, also added that the Council was established to work hand in hand with stakeholders around the continent to positively change the situation in Africa.
“We as inter-religious leaders have a strong message from the Almighty God which forbids bloodshed and hatred, encourages love and peaceful co-existence among all people,” he said.
“It is therefore upon us to use this tool to deliver the message to our followers and promote peace - a shared vision with political leaders and other organisations,” Mubaje noted.
The council was formed in 2003 with an aim of mobilizing other religious leaders across the continent to transform conflict into peace building as well as advance sustainable development.
“We will do whatever it takes to achieve this and as a result this continent will be peaceful,” officials added.
The team which has representatives from Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, South Africa, Angola, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo also congratulated President Kagame upon the excellent achievements during his first term in office.