By Justus Waimiri in Nairobi
19 January 2005
Africa must set its own agenda, which should be relevant to the prevailing circumstances, the Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndugane has said.
"I believe the Christian message and faith is powerful to confront issues affecting Africa and we must focus on serving our fellow men and women instead of dwelling on issues that are really not pertinent to us," he said. He gave the example of the ongoing Sudan peace process saying the Church in Africa must take an active role in strengthening the process.
He also singled out HIV/AIDS and debt relief as issues that the church should push aggressively. He disclosed that in 2000 he was among top leaders who had petitioned the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Gordon Brown, on debt relief and was happy that strong consideration was now being given to debt cancellation.
Archbishop Ndungane made the remarks when he met the General Secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), the Revd Canon John Kanyikwa, in Nairobi. The Primate is in Nairobi enroute to Somalia where he will hand over his church's donation of $75,000 to people affected by the December 26 Tsunami in Somalia. He will also hold talks with the Somali President Abdullahi Ahmed in Nairobi.
Archbishop Ndungane said he had been moved by the plight of those affected by the Tsunami in Somalia even as the world focused on Asia, which was worst hit. Over 300 people were reported killed in Somalia and hundreds of others left homeless and without basic necessities. He expressed hope that interfaith dialogue would be enhanced in Africa adding that a good starting point would be to come to the aid of those suffering regardless of their faith.
Earlier, the Archbishop paid a courtesy call on the office of the Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya - the Most Revd Benjamin Nzimbi - and was received by his personal assistant, the Rt Revd William Waqo, as the Kenyan Primate is currently outside of the country.