A RWANDESE clergyman says it is embarrassing that African leaders have never laboured to promote the well-being of their people, their human respect and dignity after the hard-earned political independence but rather have worsened things through corruption.
Retired Right Reverend Bishop John Ruchyahana of the Anglican Church Shyria Diocese of Musanze City in northern Rwanda said instead of providing leadership with vision, purpose and strategies for the transformation of Africa, the African leaders have been championing corruption, violation of human rights and running governments that do not respect the rule of law.
In his keynote address at the three days Continental Advocacy Framework Workshop organised by the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) which opened on Tuesday at Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, Bishop Ruchyahana said instead of working towards improving the welfare of their people and developing their countries, African leaders have been preoccupied with violence and conflicts leading to economic instability and ultimately hunger and poverty.
His address was themed ‘Conflicts in Africa and the Theological Basis for the Churches/Faith Engagement in Advocacy.
Bishop Ruchyahana accused the European colonialists of having been behind conflicts and instability in Africa in that they kept Africa under fear so that they can continue to fragment the continent for colonial purposes.
He said superpowers have kept their heavy hand in various corrupt regimes and dictatorships in Africa for their exploitative purposes, sometimes with financial and military support.
Bishop Ruchyahana expressed sadness that African leaders have not taken deliberate commitment to establish the course of the African development recovery and destiny.
He said there was a need for preparation of Africans for their role in setting and keeping strategies to revive African identity and unity for development.
Bishop Ruchyahana said Africa’s dignity, rights and development could not be donated or bought in any store but that Africans have to earn it themselves.
He said it was unfortunate that Africans have been forced and surrendered to being inferior by their colonialists in all aspects of their well-being.
Bishop Ruchyahana called on religious leaders in Africa to mobilise and begin to reeducate the masses for change in order to understand who they are.
He said the ultimate purpose of religious leaders in Africa was to advocate and pave ways that would enable African societies live, and not just exist in peace, harmony, and support of each other.
Bishop Ruchyahana emphasised that Africans needed to reestablish their identity to stand for their rights by recognising the need for truth, love, transformation, and prayer for power to change their fellow Africans who have been migrating from the continent to go to Europe where many end up drowning in the oceans as they get closer to those countries.
He questioned why migrants only drown when they are about to enter the European countries they desire.
Bishop Ruchyahana said religious leaders across the continent must begin to advocate the rebuilding of nations and setting the continent’s identity through the revival of contextual religious concepts.
He said this may include the revival of the African leaders’ roles in their States and contextualise their problems.
He said although that was complex it was doable.
Bishop Ruchyahana said the restoration of people’s confidence, worth, and identity was primary priority and that it was very different from just building forms of infrastructures.
He said it required leaders in Africa to commit themselves to a deliberate vision and sure strategies to unite their people through the “we do it together.”
And All Africa Conference of Churches deputy general secretary Reverend Bright Mawudor said Africans needed to decolonise their minds and begin to think independently.
Rev Mawudor said Africa had a lot of resources but was lagging behind in terms of development.
He noted that Japan which built on rocks without much resources was the world’s third largest economy because Japenese had no colonised mindsets and were independent.
Rev Mawudor said there was a dire need to advocate and ensure that African leaders begun to do the right things failure to which the continent would remain underdeveloped for generations to come.
The Continental Advocacy Framework Workshop runs up to tomorrow and is attended by delegates from Council of Churches and other relevant organisations from 22 African countries namely Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Egypt.
Others are Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Togo, South Sudan, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Swaziland and Burundi.