KAMPALA– The Archbishop of Church of Uganda the Most Rev Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba has convened a meeting of senior religious leaders from the East African Region to discuss the ongoing conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The meeting was held yesterday under the auspices of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda at Namirembe Guest House in Kampala.
The meeting was attended by the Mufti of Uganda Muslims Supreme Council Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje who is also the Co-Chair African Council of Religious Leaders, Bishop Francis Karemera representing The Most Rev Dr Laurent Mbanda – Primate of Rwanda, and The Most Rev Dr Ande Georges Titre the Primate of Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Provincial Secretary of Church of Uganda Rev Canon William Ongeng and the Secretary General of Inter Religious Council of Uganda Joshua Kitakule also attended the meeting.
Archbishop Kaziimba, the convener and Chairperson of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda said the meeting was to re-affirm their commitment on peace, security and democracy in Democratic Republic of Congo and the East African Community at large.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting by the Senior Religious Leaders agreed that there is need to respect the fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and Constitutive Act of the African Union.
Here below is the full statement issued by the Religious Leaders after the meeting
Considering that respect for Human Rights represents a fundamental guarantee against threats to peace and internal security of states.
A group picture after the meeting
Determined to build on the principles of peace and dialogue found in the Holy Scriptures.
Considering that people in all their diversities are created in the image of God and are equal before Him.
We are deeply troubled by the situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. We are particularly concerned by the loss of life and property that has been brought about by the conflict, including the increase in the refugee crisis, tribal and national sentiments, xenophobic tendencies which could result into a genocide.
The current situation in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo combined with economic downflow characterized by the increase in the prices of goods and services within the region threatens to undermine the aspirations of the East African Community.
As religious leaders, we appreciate the steps being taken to integrate the Democratic Republic of Congo into the East African Community. We urge the political leadership to urgently use this framework to resolve the ongoing crisis. The East African people share the same destiny and everything must be done at our disposal to ensure their survival.
We call upon all those that are caught up in the conflict to embrace dialogue as a means for resolving their aggrievances.
We acknowledge the strains and pressures that the refugee host countries and communities maybe going through but we encourage them in the spirit of good neighborliness to provide a conducive environment for their brothers and sisters who are running for their lives.
We call upon the international community to reach out with humanitarian assistance to those that have been affected by this conflict and the countries where they have settled.
In the spirit of Genesis 4:9-10, “The Lord said, “what have you done? Listen Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground”, we feel challenged to intervene on behalf of our suffering brothers and sisters. We intend to convene senior religious leaders from the region under the auspices of the East African Inter-Religious Council in partnership with All Africa Conferences of Churches (AACC), Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), Africa Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL) and Fellowship of Churches and Councils in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa (FECCLAHA) to discuss a framework for accompanying our political leaders in the region towards sustainable peace.
We pray for our brothers and sisters in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that feel aggrieved and frustrated by this conflict to exercise restraint and tolerance to other ethnicities and nationalities as we all work towards lasting peace.