Peace, unity and hard work by Rwandans are key themes in New Year messages by religious leaders in the country as Rwandans usher in 2018.
Mufti Sheikh Salim Hitimana, leader of the Muslim community in the country wished Rwandans a good and peaceful start into the New Year, bearing in mind that “they all have and need to work hard” so that the country’s development agenda and progress is sustained.
Sheikh Hitimana said: “My very first message to Rwandans is that I wish them all a happy and prosperous new year. I wish for the nation to have peace and harmony, with all my countrymen bearing in mind that we need to work even harder to sustain our development gains.”
“This really means that people need also to understand that they must sacrifice a lot or forego many things. And in this, people need to also bear in mind that we must do everything in an environment of unity as well as each one of us citizens supporting the cause for peace and security of the country.”
To the faithful, and the nation at large, Sheikh Hitimana said, peace and security are key to development.
“As religious leaders, we also have a vital role to play in mobilizing and sensitizing the population to stay the course and we all build this nation. The population has a big role to play but more so, us the religious leaders, and this is, by and large, my New Year message.”
The head of the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops of Rwanda, Bishop Philip Rukamba, noted that they have had special areas of focus in the past three years, and lately wanted to especially put emphasis on Rwandans’ unity.
He said the New Year message will be about Rwandans accepting reality or the truth of their situation, forgiving, and unity.
“This will be our main message this New Year. We wish all Rwandans a happy and prosperous new year. We wish them peace, wellness and good times. And, as always, we emphasize on everything that goes in the line of nurturing and growing good children and the youth, as well as having peaceful homes and families.”
According to the Bishop of Butare Anglican Diocese, Reverend Nathan Gasatura, God is truly and perfectly faithful and “will always fulfill whatever He has promised if we take Him at His Word without any wavering and doubting.”
Considering all the nation’s achievements in the 2017, Bishop Gasatura said “we do not only need to continue praying for God’s divine wisdom” but constantly encourage and support pro-poor programmes, among others.
Bishop Gasatura is also, among other things, aware of the importance of the regional integration agenda.
“I want to appeal to, not only Rwandans, but the entire regional family, to constantly pray for and fight for a continued united heart and spirit to leverage our spiritual, social, and economic resources, and to galvanize the east African regional spirit, to grow this region as a model region in Africa.”
“Something that has been so eloquently talked about in much of the global press; about the potential uniqueness and economic model that the EAC region is capable of playing-out as, after all, the closer and more harmonious we get, the better the legacy we as a region will leave.”