We, the members of the General Committee of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), meeting at the Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi on the 23rd of April, 2015, have deliberated upon and identified the following issues that are of immediate concern to the people in our beloved continent - Poverty and widening economic inequalities (Oceans of poverty with islands of wealth), the problem of social divisions (ethnic, political and religious); the problem of unemployment among the youth and the role of the Church as an agent of positive societal transformation and peace.
Thanking God for the signs of hope and progress that Africa has made on many fronts in the past few years.
Appreciating and admiring the recently held peaceful elections in Nigeria, we commend the leadership shown by the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in accepting the result and congratulating the winner;
Encouraged by the various positive indicators of economic growth, a growth of our youth population which if well harnessed could propel our economies to even better growth and the exponential growth of Church which offers us an opportunity to do what God wants for God's people;
Appreciating the development of Agenda 2063 by the African Union as a development framework for the “Africa we Want” with sustainable peace, security and development;
Recognizing our continent as entailing multiple diversities – religious, ethnic, historical – all which together give us the African identity;
Having established that elections in Africa have always been a reason for uncertainties, fear and unnecessary deaths because of aftermath that is typified by a ‘cling’ to power by defeated incumbents;
Recognizing the need to make religion speak out loudly and clearly against voices of hatred, exclusion, chauvinism and extremism;
Recognizing that the war against poverty is yet to be won and that we now have an expansive ocean of poverty that is punctuated by only a few islands of wealth, as our reality in midst of the much touted economic growth;
Having established that poverty, the gap between the rich and the poor, and unemployment among the youth, force them to migrate in search of a better life, sometimes embarking on desperate voyages that put their lives at great risk and many perish in scandalous ways in the Mediterranean Sea;
Noting with grave concern that bad governance, poverty and unemployment disposes our people to human trafficking and radicalization, both of which make grounds for eroding the respect for human life and dignity;
Acknowledging that our diversities have been a source of suffering, bloodshed and death than a source of blessings to one another;
Do hereby call on:
- All political leaders in Africa to take personal charge in establishing a culture of peaceful elections and constitutional transfer of power in their respective countries;
- Respective leaders to avoid dragging religion into politics
- All African governments, civil society, faith based organizations, the AU and UN agencies to work towards ensuring that the dividends of economic growth are shared more equitably, especially towards giving the youth of Africa self-esteem, hope, and a future they deserve within their own continent and their own countries;
- African Ministries of education to introduce peace education as part of the school curriculum;
- The media to be objective in their coverage and reporting on occurrences in Africa;
- All people/communities of faith to co-operate and work towards a society that protects the environment (including climate change), social justice and economic inclusivity as a means of combating crime, conflicts, extremism and radicalization in our nations and Africa as a whole;
As Church leaders, we:
- Vehemently condemn the recent loss of life as a result of senseless hatred as well as xenophobic attacks in South Africa. We express solidarity with the affected families and respective communities.
- Are reminded of our divine mandate and an inescapable responsibility as Christians in healing and reconciliation as prescribed to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ. A mission which calls on us to stay away from partisan politics;
- Commit to mobilize our members to participate fully in defining the “Africa we want” and in developing programmes for actualizing and fulfilling this vision both at the national and at the continental levels;
- Commit to increase our democratic engagement at the national, regional and continental levels;
- Affirm and commit to actively understand and engage in the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Agenda 2063 at all levels towards a well-governed, peaceful, secure and developed Africa;
- Commit to promote the teaching of the Golden Rule which says “Treat others the way you want to be treated” as a practical action to promoting a culture of peaceful co-existence among people of various faiths, cultures and ethnic identities.
23rd April, 2015