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4th CONGRESS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM - RWANDA

Posted on Oct 01 2018

4th CONGRESS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM - RWANDA

More than 30,000 people at the festival.


[Photo: Family picture - wad delegation]

The Amahoro stadium in Kigali was full this Saturday, September 15, 2018 for the closing of the 4th African Congress of Religious Freedom in the land of a thousand hills. The special guest speaker was Chief Justice David Maraga, President of the Supreme Court of Kenya.

The crowd stormed the Amahoro stadium very early and in less than two hours, all the terraces were filled including the VIP stands where delegates from all over Africa were. In the front row were the special guests: the personal representative of the President of the Republic of Rwanda, the Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye; Adventist World Church Vice President Abner De los Santos; the General Secretary of the International Association for Religious Freedom, Ganoune Diop and the Chief Justice, David Maraga who were the main speakers of the day.

The delegates as well as the crowd composed of men, women and children who came for this celebration, enjoyed the beautiful demonstrations of choirs’ talents, parades of Adventist youth, at the sound of the Adventist youth band from Kigali and Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

[Photo: the General Secretary of the International Association for Religious Freedom, Ganoune Diop]

After a brief conclusion of the two days of the presentations and workshops, on the theme: “Religious freedom: the hope to build a tolerant and peaceful continent”, Dr. Ganoune Diop urged all to accept each other despite the differences while keeping his convictions. A plea in spotlight that he has constantly launched by inviting delegates to love, tolerance and recalling the model of Rwandan reconstruction after the 1994 genocide.

This thought, Dr. Diop once again mentioned it when they all went to the "Kigali Genocide Memorial" where is the communal grave of the victims of the genocide. Each participant should have in mind a message, that of constructing an identity; not the one that others dictate to us, but the one we choose and which is ours. "Never again in Africa and in the world" hammered Pasteur Diop.

One of the highlights of this meeting was the presentation of Mrs. Judith Uwizeye, Minister / Director of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Rwanda, who officially opened the session of the Congress. Indeed, she did not fail to note that "The foundations of success of any person rest on a sovereign state in which citizens, in their diversity, exercise and enjoy their cultural, socio-economic, religious and political rights. One of the special guests, David Maraga, recalled at the closing of the congress, "Freedom of conscience is fundamental in the quest for happiness. »

Another highlight moment was the remarkable exhortation by Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, Director of Kenya School of Law, who candidly underlined the vision of the founding fathers of Africa. Using the image of the little eagle fed among the chicks, which one day flew away to join the birds of the high court, so Africans should go beyond prejudices and rise to noble destinies.


[Photo: Dr. Elie Weick-Dido, President of the West-Central Africa Division of the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists]

The experience of the delegation of the 22 countries of West-Central Africa Division has been wonderful. Indeed, Dr. Elie Weick-Dido, President of the Adventist Church in this part of the continent, praised the commitment of the participants. He gathered the delegates for a brief consultation followed by a prayer session before the separation. Using this opportunity, Pastor Blasious Ruguri, President of the African Religious Liberty Association and Head of the Adventist Church in East and Central Africa, thanked all the organizers and facilitators of this program.

As a reminder, the West-Central Africa Division organized the previous congress in Yaoundé, Cameroon, in August 2013. The flame brought to the "Kigali Convention Center" will be sent to South Africa for the 2023 edition. The site of this meeting will be determined later.

Abraham BAKARI