Killing in the name of God and Government: The Paradox of Living in the Great Lakes Region.

by admin on January 21, 2015

Africans1                       ak47

 God is everywhere present in the Great Lakes Region of Africa in the countries of Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Life for political elites and ordinary citizens revolves around places of worship. God’s presence envelops and embodies both time and space. Long before the arrival of Christian and Islamic missionaries, God was manifest in this region, expressed in a variety of symbols and mediums, including artistic and musical forms. No one in power, in eons past or now, has ignored God’s presence. Rulers may have rebelled at certain points, but were obliged, eventually, to recognize God’s sovereignty. God’s presence has been, is now, and will in future be felt in this region.
How does a realization of this presence influence the politics and policies of those serving in government? The answer must be lodged within and must be integral to the accepted concepts of governance.

Government and governance must be exercised for the common good; government and governance must not be exercised to benefit a
privileged minority. Governance or government is, first and foremost, about values. Values that guide common behavior can be learned or acquired. Each society or community of people embraces a hierarchy of values. It is now commonly accepted that values are learned and absorbed from the human community around us; values are also recognized to be inherent to the biological constructs of which the human community is part.

Guns, small arms, weapons or firearms have added misery to the human tragedy already existing within the daily lives of communities living in this region. There is a negative correlation between the omnipresence of guns, mainly on the hands of violent non-state actors, on the one hand, and peace and development, on the other. If not
controlled by responsible state structures such as the security forces, including the army and the police, guns cannot maintain the peace. The absence of proper gun control of makes everybody feel insecure. The endemic poverty characterizing communities in this region contrasts sharply with the presence of natural resources with which the region has been blessed.

God has been invoked to justify killing. In Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony and in Rwanda, crimes against humanity have been committed and are still being committed by actors such as the LRA who invoke God’s ten commandments as justification for their actons. In Burundi, Rwanda, and DR Congo, government forces such as the army or the secret police have been identified in multiple reports from the United States or from Non Government Organizations
as perpetrators of mass killing, causing the disappearance of opposition leaders or those with divergent views.

One cannot expect to stop the killing of innocent people in this region without rendering the action and the function of governments more predictable and faith-based organization more reliable.
Because of their positive and negative impacts on our lives, together these two social constructs constitute a segment of reality that is difficult to ignore.

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