Leaders of different religious denominations in the Eastern Province met on Monday to discuss ways to promote harmony in families, saying it is the foundation for sustainable peace in the country
In a meeting chaired by the provincial governor Judith Kazayire at the provincial headquarters in Rwamagana, the clerics agreed to include calls for mutual respect in families as part of their homilies.
Kazayire thanked the religious leaders for their role in unity and reconciliation efforts which she said, among other factors, has resulted in development the country is enjoying.
“As religious leaders, you command a big audience and you are quite influential in communities. You must, therefore, use that commanding position to preach about harmony in our families,” she said.
Kazayire added that “with collaboration between religious leaders and authorities, domestic violence can be minimised as well as drug abuse.”
Bishop Alexis Birindabagabo of Gahini Anglican Diocese, who is also chairperson for Peace Plan Rwanda, said religious leaders are committed to collaborate with authorities for national interest.
“We shouldn’t be told to play a role in fighting drug abuse or domestic violence. It is rather our responsibility because God calls everyone to work for the wellbeing of everyone,” said Birindabagabo.
The meeting also talked about cult-like churches that are sprouting and led by individuals calling themselves “prophets.”
Sometimes, these people concoct false prophesy, which could lead to insecurity in communities, said the Regional Police Commander Assistant Commissioner of Police Dismus Rutaganira.
“We have heard some individuals calling themselves prophets, lying to families to evacuate their homes and go into hills within and outside the country in the name of prayer,” said Rutaganira.
He pointed out a case in Nyagatare District and Bugesera where “people cease to work in the so-called search for God, causing great misery and famine”.
The clerics asked authorities to help organise a thanksgiving ceremony in the province.