KIGALI - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, said that both the church and the government, whether in Rwanda or elsewhere, have the same objective - improving the livelihoods of the masses and ensuring that the country is moving forward.
The President, made the remarks while speaking as the guest of honour at the ceremony to officially consecrate, Rt. Rev. Dr. Onesphore Rwaje, as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the first Bishop of the newly created Gasabo Diocese.
Kagame pointed out that what the government or church does, is in fulfilment of God’s wishes, noting that God does not wish to see his people poor, sick or needy. He added that the two complement each other.
Rwaje, who was elected Archbishop by the House of Bishops in September, last year, received the instruments from the outgoing Archbishop, Emmanuel Kolini in a ceremony at Kigali Independent University campus.
In his speech, President Kagame described the two church leaders, Rwaje and Kolini, as “two-in- one” due to their outstanding commitment towards building the church and improving the lives of the Rwandan people.
President Kagame said that he has no doubt that Archbishop Rwaje will continue building on the successes of his predecessor, because his track record in the Northern Province Diocese of Byumba speaks for itself.
He noted that Rwaje is, not only, a committed servant of God but a devoted supporter of government programmes and someone who is determined to see the lives of Rwandans improve tremendously.
He hailed the outgoing Archbishop for a job well done during his 10 years of service, particularly his efforts to rebuild the Rwandan society and his role in the development, unity and reconciliation process.
The President added that, even though Archbishop Kolini has retired, he is not tired, and will continue serving in various capacities, spreading the message of unity and reconciliation as he always done.
Kagame, pointed out that, leadership is important for both the church and government to fulfil their objectives, because good leaders are the ones who impart good and positive ideas. He added that he has no doubt that such qualities are available within the Government and the Church.
The President stressed the importance of human value, reminding his audience that value can only come from within ourselves and value is what we deserve and it is what God wishes for us.
On his part, the newly crowned Archbishop pledged to continue building from where his predecessor had reached, promising that he will not “disappoint” those who chose him to lead the Anglican Church in Rwanda and Gasabo Diocese.
He said that the he will serve by God’s will and ensure that the church serves the people it is meant to, adding that he will emphasise “involvement” of the lay people in the church, particularly the youth, women and the less privileged.
He vowed to continue using God’s will to eradicate poverty, fight illiteracy and HIV/AIDS. Archbishop Rwaje said that he will be preoccupied with promoting core Christian values in the church and in families.
The outgoing Archbishop Kolini recalled his long life serving God, from the challenging 27 years in exile in Uganda and DRC, returning home, and starting from scratch to rebuild the church as well as the country.
Kolini said that Rwanda is a blessed country, looking back from where the country was in 1994 and where it is today.
Religious leaders from neighbouring countries, Europe and beyond graced the occasion. The Archbishop of Burundi, Rt. Rev Bernard Ntahoturi, delivered the sermon of the day.
Born in 1953 in Burera District, Archbishop Rwaje was consecrated as a deacon on July 28, 1985. He was ordained Bishop in 1991. He holds a Masters Degree in Theology and Development Studies as well as a doctoral degree in Theology (leadership). He is married with 5 children.
President Kagame pledged the support of the government to the newly crowned Archbishop.