Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

3 December 2012

Rwanda: President Kagame Challenges Clerics to Strive for Solidarity

President Paul Kagame has called upon all members of the clergy to strive for solidarity and complement each other through good actions. "Working for God means working for your betterment because God wants us to be in good conditions," he said. "That should be integral to our daily practice."

The President was on Sunday addressing members of the Pentecostal Church of Rwanda (ADEPR) who had gathered in Petit State, Remera to conclude a one-week retreat of 370 ADEPR members held in Nkumba of Burera district.

The retreat, according to Pastor Jean Sibomana, the spokesperson of ADPR, was an opportunity to reflect on their role in the development and reconciliation. The retreat was organized after a period of leadership disputes, embezzlement of funds, ethnicity and genocide ideologies that even threatened to split the church.

"The retreat was an opportunity to discuss our role in national reconciliation, fighting against genocide ideology and divisionism, and think about Rwandan values. This will help us to move ahead," Sibomana told the President.

The difference of opinions should not create disputes and conflicts, according to President Kagame, but should be a starting point to consolidate unity as they all work for and go towards one God. "There are different paths, but all converge in the same direction. They all lead to God and we have only one God," he said.

The President put the ADEPR's experience into the general context of Rwandan society, saying that people may have different views, but the shared aim remains to achieve the prosperous of their country. Therefore, he called all Rwandans to stand up for who they are and fight for their rights by denying injustices practiced against them.

"We will overcome all challenges if we continue to uphold the truth and value ourselves," he said, adding that Rwandans overcame many challenges over the time.

For Kagame, there is no doubt Rwandans will even overcome the current challenges as they did in the past, "Nothing can be worse than what we went through in 1994 Genocide against Tutsi," he pointed out.

In the same context, the President thanked the ADEPR new leadership for having resolved their wrangles and for their will to continue strengthening their church and contributing to the country's development.

The spokesperson of the church remarked that they have pledged over Frw 63 million to Agaciro Development Fund. The church also has many programs to contribute to the government's agenda, including education, health and welfare programs.

The church's adult literacy program has so far trained 408,601 people, which earned them the Unesco Literacy Prize.

The Pentecostal Church of Rwanda was established in 1940 and has now about one million members.

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