African Clergy: Coming of Age

Published on 19th July 2005

The leader of the 72 million troubled Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams, is on his second visit to Africa, after visiting West Africa last year. The Archbishop who is out to meet bishops from the Great Lakes Region witnessed a Bishop’s coronation in Burundi and will visit Kenya for one day. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s first visit ever to East Africa comes on the wake of vexing issues such as the venue of the 2008 Lambeth conference, the doctrinal and canonical issues and a call from the World Council of Churches (WCC) to have economic boycott on Israel. Other concerns include the ordination of women bishops which is currently being debated in the UK. Of special significance to Africa however is the Gay debate in relation to funding.

The African clergy is  giving a resounding No! to ideology brewed abroad and imposed on them. Kenyan Bishops represented by Archbishop Benjamen Nzimbi have publicly affirmed that on issues to do with electing gay bishops and honoring same sex marriages, they disagree with the Church of England even if it means forfeiting the aid (in millions) that they have been receiving from overseas. This stand has been echoed by Peter Akinola, the Nigerian Bishop. Nzimbi and Akinola say that they are willing to do without money to remind the church of its mission.  “If money is being used to disgrace the gospel, then we don’t need it!” remarks Bishop John Rucyhana of the Diocese of Shiya (Rwanda).

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Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, while addressing heads of the African Union recently, shares his dream of a united Africa. A dream that leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana had:  “We have to be united. We do not have to compromise our sovereignty, in large and small matters. This is imperative if we have to achieve total liberation for our continent. Lack of unity has resulted to the average African paying a price in the form of subjugation to disease, exploitation, backwardness and blackmail. Our national autonomy is violated by lack of African unity. That is why we agree to compromise it with foreign powers.”

 According to Gaddafi, “We have to adapt our lives in a way that is different in terms of social and economic matters but not to reject cooperation with the international community. Such cooperation should be based on mutual benefit and respect.”

The Libyan leader explains that Africans are being subjected to a double faced phenomenon which is benign on the surface and malicious underneath. There is an attempt to promote proposals aimed at extending support to Africa, he agrees, but when such proposals are linked to humiliating conditions that call for compromise, Africans should reject them.

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