Kenya: conference examines role of religion in African politics

 Kenyan theologian, Professor Jesse Mugambi has praised the central role played by the churches in the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. Speaking at a conference entitled: 'Role of Religion in Electoral Politics' in Nairobi yesterday, Professor Mugambi said: "Here, the church in a very ecumenical manner played a central role on the long match towards dismantling this unacceptable racist mode of governance." "The likes of the Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu and Catholic Church clergyman, Wilfrid Fox Napier played a tremendous pastoral role in the whole business of dismantling apartheid", stressed the Kenyan Anglican theologian. Professor Mugambi, who was once head of research department of the pan-African All African Conferences of Churches, AACC for Protestant churches and lectured at the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya also said the church had played a major role in other areas such as the end to slavery and thee the promotion of party politics. Summing up he said: "these are no mean pastoral achievements for the Church both in Africa and the rest of the world". Other speakers at this panel discussion organized by The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations, KARA included Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi, the chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum in Kenya, who observed that "if there exists mistrust between Muslims and Christians, the issue is not on the two giant religions-Islam or Christianity but the human weakness of the followers-Muslims and Christians". "The teachings of both the Qu'uran and the Bible are quite articulate on the need for love and respect for each other, for example", stressed the Islamic scholar. "One of the major challenges ahead of both the Christian and Islamic leaders is how best to preach real religious matters as well as for the followers of the two religions to adhere to them", the Islamic scholar further told the panel discussion. The chairman of Hindu Council of Kenya, Mr. Rashmin Chiitnis and the director of the Ecumenical Centre for Justice and Peace, Nairobi, Reverend Jephthah Gathaka also took part.

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