Religious leaders’ role critical to national development

Religion in Rwanda has, since time immemorial, been an integral part of people’s daily lives. Religious leaders command enormous respect among, not only their followers but the general public, and wield significant influence in communities.

Religion in Rwanda has, since time immemorial, been an integral part of people’s daily lives. Religious leaders command enormous respect among, not only their followers but the general public, and wield significant influence in communities.

That some members of the Rwandan clergy betrayed their calling and public trust by participating in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi simply defeats logic. It is an indelible stain on religion in Rwanda.

Nonetheless, the past 16 years have seen emergence of a new breed of religious leaders who are committed to the unity and harmony of Rwandans.

They chose not to become wolves in sheepskin, as was the case with many of our clerics in the past, and are doing everything expected of a true shepherd.
Many of them did not only join hands with other Rwandans in constructing schools, hospitals and water facilities, but also played a part in fighting post-genocide trauma, and in rebuilding a resilient and God-fearing society.

They moved from prison to prison, preaching repentence to inmates and encouraging them to seek forgiveness. Their efforts have paid off, and they deserve commendation.

However, some of them have reached retirement age, and are giving way to young blood. They include the outgoing Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Emmanuel Kolini, and the outgoing Anglican Bishop of Shyira Diocese, John Rucyahana.

Both men have been credited for their development-oriented leadership approach, and their rich experience and accomplishments should help their successors, and all other younger clerics, register even greater achievements.

Our religious leaders, in general, should work towards having a healthy and wealthy population. They should understand that they were entrusted with authority and should use it to the benefit of the general public.

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