Churches in the country have been challenged to inculcate good values among Rwandan youth as future leaders who should contribute constructively to national development.
The call was made by the Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente during a thanksgiving National Prayer Breakfast at the Kigali Convention Centre, on Sunday.
The annual event, organised by the Rwanda Leaders’ Fellowship (RLF), is a prayer meeting that brings together top church and government leaders as well as civil society for fellowship aimed at praying for national leaders and the nation at large.
Themed “Instilling Godly Values in Leadership” the fellowship usually happens once, early in the year.
The premier said the country has a reason to thank God given what it has achieved over the years, particularly in the past year.
Pledging continued support to organisers, he said government values such prayers to thank God for achievements while praying for the next year.
The prime minister hailed church leaders for having come together to contribute to national development despite their different religious beliefs.
“I am also thankful to churches for remaining united, the prayers you always organise together is proof of that despite some differences in beliefs,” he said, urging them to instill this among young followers.
“We urge you, however, to pray more so that the national strategy for transformation and the seven-year government programme will be achieved as planned,” he said.
Ngirente called on churches to invest in youth who he said the government counts on to achieve more and sustain recent national achievements.
The premier said youth constitute about 70 per cent of the total population, and are thus the strength of the nation in terms of human resource needed to drive Rwanda to knowledge based status.
However, quoting statistics from the police, he said over 16,200 people aged between 16 and 35 became drug addicts between 2013-2017, calling for concerted efforts to reverse the trend.
“To achieve this, youth should be trained at an early stage to uphold values that will help shape their vision. Particularly, churches should encourage youth and their church members to match their beliefs with deeds geared towards building the nation, we need to remind one another that faith without actions is dead,” said the premier, quoting scriptures.
“We should all fight this with all efforts and God will be on our side in this struggle as He always wants His people on the right path,” he added.
The prayer breakfast brought together over 1000 public leaders, members from civil society platform as well as 54 guests from various countries.
It was also attended by the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, among other dignitaries.
Francine Havugimana, the vice chairperson of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), said there is a reason to thank God for the past year, citing August peaceful presidential elections and the prevailing peace which she said allows Rwandans to work harder to achieve more.
She cited about infrastructure development such as completion of Rubavu cross-border market, airport expansion works as well as the move to expand national volcanoes park, which would boost tourism.
Over the past year, she said, Made-in-Rwanda products increased up to 50 per cent and imports decreased by 3 per cent, slightly reducing the trade deficit gap.
Keeping citizens at heart
Pastor Didier Habimana, the main preacher, preached about transformation leadership.
He highlighted outstanding leaders in the Bible who, despite having stayed in comfort zones in king’s palaces, they always listened to citizens’ challenges and strived to address them.
Reading in Nehemiah 1 Verse 2, he preached about the heart, practice and prayer of a transformative leader.
“A leader’s heart should not remain in a comfort zone, all changes start from the heart, addressing citizens’ problems requires having them at heart…a leader puts citizens’ interests before self,” he said.
He also challenged them to pray to God and ask for wisdom, stressing that much as they can plan, certain things go beyond certainty and predictability.
“The world has various issues, terrorism, racism and divisionism, among others, most of the issues we deal with are beyond our capacity, we take measures to prevent them but some are unpredictable and uncertain, praying brings in changes, you should ask God to always help you to carry out your plans,” he said.