President tells Religious Leaders that Prayer is a Priority
5th September 2005
The President of Burundi, Peter Nkurunziza, requested a meeting on 5th September 2005 with religious leaders as he had promised to do at his investiture. He addressed a large gathering of Christian and Moslem leaders.
He said that his first purpose was to thank the Churches for their prayers for the country over the past years. He spoke of the miracles that God had brought about, especially in bringing peace to Burundi.
It is his intention that each Monday he will announce the programme and concerns for the week and that he will join with his two vice Presidents and Church leaders to pray about them.
He spoke of the willingness of the new government to work with the churches because "God has given us this country". He requested unity among the different denominations and asked that they should find occasions to meet together as a sign of that unity.
He emphasized the importance of forgiveness, reconciliation and truth, and said that it is the work of the Church to reconcile Burundians and to teach the importance of truth.
He indicated that people need to change in order to live in peace and the Church must show how that change is possible.
He outlined his priorities and programme for the next two years. He particularly emphasized the issue of education, encouraging the Churches and government to work together.
He confirmed his announcement at his investiture that primary education for the academic year 2005-2006 would be free. He stated that one of the consequences of this is that there are insufficient classrooms for the vast numbers of children that are eligible. He asked for use of churches so that pupils could be accommodated. He said that the government is committed to building many primary schools in 2006 in order to deliver free education as promised, especially for orphans and street children. In 2007 technical schools would be built in order to broaden the range of courses available to students, and he hoped that the churches would engage with that. Also, from 2007, English and Swahili, the two common languages of East Africa along with French, would be taught in secondary schools.
The President concluded by saying that he wished the Church leaders to be his advisors. He also requested prayer for the FNL - PALIPE-HUTU, the last fighting rebel group, that they would be willing to negotiate with the new administration.
In response, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bujumbura, the Anglican Archbishop of Burundi, and the General Secretary of the Moslem Council, spoke. The President was thanked for calling the meeting as he had promised, and for his vision for the country.
Anglican Archbishop, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, assured him of the prayers of the Church, especially that God would give him wisdom and long life. He emphasized the importance of prayer and action.
The meeting finished with prayers led by a representative of the Protestant Churches and the Moslem community.
Continue to pray for Burundi and the President as he starts to work with the new administration to secure peace and encourage the development of one of the poorest countries in the world.
"I urge that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone " for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God.." 1 Timothy 2 v 1-3
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