Clerics call for unity as world ushers in New Year

The faithful should strive to live in harmony as brothers and sisters and avoid anything that may hurt others, various clerics said in their New Year's message.
Thousands of people watched the fireworks in Sydney from some 50 vessels in the water as they ushered in 2015. (Net photo)
Thousands of people watched the fireworks in Sydney from some 50 vessels in the water as they ushered in 2015. (Net photo)

The faithful should strive to live in harmony as brothers and sisters and avoid anything that may hurt others, various clerics said in their New Year’s message.

Monsignor Smaragde Mbonyintege, the president of the Bishop’s Conference of Rwanda and Bishop of Kabgayi Diocese said: “Worldwide, there are people who oppress others, subjecting them to forced labour and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment. We should desist from this and embrace Christianity in its totality.”

Pope Francis in a message dedicated to the Catholic Church and all people across the world dubbed the New Year, a year of peace with a theme: “We Are No Longer Slaves but Brother And Sisters.”

The Pope said the church should build synergy to prevent human trafficking and slavery
Dr Onesphore Rwaje, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, also urged Rwandans to promote peace and unity.

“We want people to love their neighbours and their country,” he said.

He urged Christians to embrace development programmes in the process of building the nation and the church.

Rwaje called on the faithful to support one another and move together for a better future.

This is centered on mutual help among the believers where the haves aid the have-nots.

“We want to reinforce this practice and sensitise the faithful across the country to fully embrace it,” he said.

The Mufti of Rwanda, Sheikh Ibrahim Kayitare, urged Rwandans to promote peace and harmony and avoid anything which can trigger conflicts among Muslims and other believers.

Stressing the need for unity among all religious groups, the Mufti said no Holy Scripture book teaches conflicts.

“Islam tells us to live in harmony with others as long as they also live in harmony with us because we are sisters and brothers by creation,” he said.

He said the end of year is an opportune moment for us to examine ourselves, see where we went wrong and mend fences with Allah (God).

Meanwhile, starting with Australia and New Zealand, yesterday – due to the difference in time zones – revellers around the world ushered in 2015 in a style like never before.

Samoa and Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean were also among the first places to welcome 2015.

Australia celebrated the New Year with millions of people flocking to fireworks displays around the country.

In Sydney, alone, the main event at midnight was a sea of colours with silver umbrellas with crackling centres and gold palms with tips.

Later, some of the biggest cities in the world, from New York, London, Paris, Dubai, Las Vegas, to Hong Kong, introduced a lot of firsts, including – reportedly – the first year that Paris organised an official New Year’s Eve celebration on the Champs-Elysées and the first time London implemented a ticketing system for the festivities.

In Kigali, the atmosphere across the city was equally thrilling. People thronged churches for overnight players while revellers also took to the bars and numerous other zones including Gikondo Expo Grounds where the East African Promoters organised two big parties.

Gracing the party, among others, was Tanzania’s Bongo Flava recording artiste Diamond Platnumz.

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