Bishop Mbanda on Western Confusion

Bishop Laurent Mbanda
Bishop Laurent Mbanda

Writing about the pre-genocide Church in Rwanda and the situation at the time that the RPF launched its invasion of the country in 1990, Bishop Laurent Mbanda says that the West was confused:

Some Christians around the world were disappointed in the Rwandan church leadership, while others were morally and financially behind them. From my discussions with executives of Western-based Christian non-government organizations and mission agencies, I have come to learn that many were confused and did not know what to believe about the Rwandan situation. So they continued working relationships with church other indigenous Christian organizations in the country, based on the relationships and trust developed over the years prior to the 1990 war situation.

The same situation prevails today. Most in the West are confused and do not know what to believe, if they have even taken the step of learning about the other side of the reconciliation propaganda. You would hope that Bishop Mbanda would ease this confusion by speaking up about Rwandan government violations of GAFCON’s Nairobi Communique, which Rwanda violates all the time. The Nairobi Communique says:

We commit ourselves to work for the transformation of society though the gospel. We repudiate all violence, especially against women and children;

Are these empty words when it comes to those tortured by the Rwandan DMI?

Prayer Breakfast with the Rwandan Dictator, 2014 Edition

On New Year’s Day in South Africa, a Rwandan defector (Patrick Karegeya) who has spoken out forcibly against the tyrannical nature of the Kagame regime was found in a hotel, strangled to death with a curtain cord. He had been led there by a “friend” visiting from Rwanda. It is reasonably certain that the Rwandan government ordered his assassination as they have multiple dissidents over the years.

At first, Rwandan sycophants and high-ranking government officials took to Twitter to deny any connection to the killing. But lately, they have started saying that Karegeya had it coming. This culminated today at the annual Prayer Breakfast in Kigali, where Church officials came to hear President Kagame essentially defend this extra-judicial murder in glowing terms. He said:

I was elected and sworn in as the leader of this nation so I can aggressively defend it. But each Rwandan has their role to play. My job as President is to confront and defend Rwanda against people who want to destroy what we have been building.

Let’s see some other things he said and see who attended this insane ceremony:
Archbishop Rwaje with the Dictator, Paul Kagame
Kagame continued:

There are those who have forgotten so soon, who were made who they are by this country but turned against it. Our faith should be lived, we should see it in your actions. The God who gave us power to build our nation also gave us power to protect it.

Bishop Mbanda in the rear, Rucyahana of M23 fame in the front

The dictator who recently ended support for the terrorist M23 said:

Those who are actively plotting against this country stand no chance; with God’s grace we have the ability to defend it. Every Rwandan has got a stake in our progress, through quality service. God blesses us but we should be thankful while guarding our progress…

The notorious Antoine Rutayisire with the Dictator

The mass murdering Kagame said:

betraying your country and wishing the worst for it is costly. We should have the strength and courage to do good things and defend your country. There is no politeness when it comes to people who commit treason against their own country. A country makes you who you are you betray it?

Sharing a laugh

According to a news report, the dictator said when news of Karegeya’s death broke; several government officials were “busy on Twitter denying. That was unnecessary. People must be ready to pay for their action.”

Applause for a madman

 

 

Kagame continued:

We should not be blamed for those whose interest is to destroy what Rwandans have built. Those who criticize Rwanda know how far they go to protect their own nation. Those who forget how far they have come from should remember they cannot put themselves above nation and people of Rwanda.

And lest we forget, American bishops have said not a word in protest of this cozy relationship with a wicked regime.
American and Rwandan bishops in the USA, 2013
Rwandan Bishops in Roanoke, Virginia
Rucyahana and Archbishop Duncan
Americans and Rwandans together
Here are some more pictures from this event, which is a testimony in pictures to what I have been saying for almost two years now:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Examining Breedlove’s Defense of Rwandan Anglicans

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Proverbs 28.4

I was going to continue looking at the “Peace in the Great Lakes” effort launched last month in a new post, but instead I will tie that effort to the recent posts of PEARUSA Anglican Bishop Steve Breedlove. While at the House of Bishops meeting in Rwanda, Bishop Breedlove started a blog called exegeomai, and two of his posts to date have been apologetics for the Rwandan Anglican Church. The posts are located here and here.

First a bit of background: I met with Bishop Breedlove in the Fall of 2012 after having compiled a report for him and my local clergy that detailed:

  1. Torture of Rwandan citizens as documented by Amnesty International.
  2. Assassinations carried out by the Kagame regime, such as the murder of Seth Sendashonga and the attempt on the life of Kayumba Nyamwasa.
  3. The totalitarian nature of Rwanda’s ingando camps and the “divisionism” laws which are used to silence all political dissent.
  4. The false nature of the reconciliation narrative that AMiA and now PEAR USA have been spreading in America.
  5. The connections between the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the Kagame regime.
  6. Post genocide massacres committed by the RPA and documented by the Gersony Report.

Prior to our meeting, Bishop Breedlove had apparently put questions to a bishop or bishops in Rwanda. Among other things, Bishop Breedlove told me:

  1. There are several political parties in Rwanda. The bishops are “not sure” if they are part of RPF or not. Breedlove believed they may support RPF in the same way we might support the GOP, i.e. as voters and not participants.
  2. The bishops are calling for everyone to lay down their arms in the Congo.
  3. Breedlove’s personal experience with the bishops led him to believe in their integrity, something he has just repeated in his blog posts.
  4. He said that the Rwandan bishops back the ingando camps, and the divisionism laws as salutary and the only effective alternative to “genocide ideology.” He said that a Rwandan bishop compared the totalitarian ingando camps to ‘going on a Church retreat.’
  5. He claimed that Hutus are scattered throughout all levels of the Rwandan society/power structure.

At that time I asked the Bishop if the Rwandans showed any degree of self critique or criticism for their government and he could not come up with an example or answer of self criticism.
As study after study and book after book can demonstrate, the answers he relayed to me from Rwanda are far-fetched poppycock. For example, Hutus are ‘scattered throughout the power structures of Rwanda’, where, as the US State Department knows, they are “twinned” with Tutsis who hold the real power, see this post. Another example, political parties in Rwanda are a sham and the RPF dominates life down to the household level, as Susan Thomson says, “Kagame abolished real opposition and manufactured a shadow opposition that serves only to sing the praises of the RPF. This “opposition” is active only during election season and is otherwise unknown to the general public. None of the three actual opposition parties – the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, FDU-Inkingi, and PS-Imberakuri – can take part in the elections because their respective leaders are either in prison or banned from registering their candidates on allegations of harbouring genocide ideology.”
Bishop Breedlove’s recent posts are of a piece with his meeting with me last year. He praises the openness of Rwandan Anglican bishops, which he believes is a legacy of the East African Revival, but he may not be aware that this was also a characteristic of the Church prior to the genocide:

Often the rhetoric of the Revival was introduced into the disputes. At high-profile meetings of reconciliation, church leaders confessed and sang Tukutenderza in the old spirit of the Balokole [Balokole means ‘saved‘ – editor] fellowship, but these occasions did not seem to have the power to transform the faction-riven nature of the church.

The House of Bishops meeting several years ago.
Bishop Breedlove then turns to the Peace in the Great Lakes initiative. The initiative was launched by the Roman Catholic Church in the Congo. As I pointed out in my previous post on the initiative, several bishops met with James Musoni from Rwanda about their work. The absurdity of Rwandans discussing peace in the Congo when their nation is the one that invades and supports terrorist groups on Congolese soil should not be lost on anyone. It would be like churches in the United States launching a peace effort for Iraq without addressing the glaringly obvious fact that our nation started the war. If Rwandan Anglicans want to end war and rape in the DRC, they should have adjourned their meeting and walked over to the Paul Kagame residence for a chat on why he continues starting wars with their neighbor.Bishop Breedlove describes the various economic initiatives that PEAR is concerned with, many of which may be praiseworthy, but which I suspect have a great deal to do with RPF pressure for “Vision 2020” goals from the all powerful State. Breedlove says “the government yields the platform of developing and transforming communities to the church” as if we are dealing with any old government and cooperation from the Church is just fine, but this is not the case! We are dealing with a government that tracked down and slaughtered Hutus in the DRC and inside Rwanda, that tortures dissenters, imprisons clergy for speaking up against it, and rules with an iron fist. Cooperation with such a government to advance its economic policies cannot be separated from the intrinsically evil acts it commits.
Bishop Breedlove tells us that Bishop Augustin Ahimana is one of the Anglican representatives for this initiative. Bishop Ahimana is the very man who defended Rwanda’s two murderous wars in the DRC! He wrote in Christianity Today:

It is also our duty to inform American Christians that there has been a malicious campaign to demonize Rwanda’s leaders, distorting the political situation. This distortion emanates from people often hiding behind so-called humanitarian organizations. Some have a hidden agenda of distracting the international community so that their own role in Rwanda’s tragedy cannot be exposed.

When Rwandan troops decided to pursue the genocidal forces and their sponsors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1996 and 1998, they did so in the light of day. The peace we enjoy today in our country is mainly a consequence of that action.

The hypocrisy of having Ahimana talk about peace when he defended the Kagame invasions of the DRC is unfortunately par for the course. Bishop Breedlove would have us believe that the Anglican Church is a force for peace and justice in the region when in fact two retired bishops were fundraising and recruiting for M23, the latest incarnation of evil in the DRC. In fact, while he was in Kigali he could have walked over to a nearby court (had he been allowed in) and seen Joel Mutabazi, recently kidnapped from Uganda, forcibly repatriated to Rwanda and tortured into a false confession. This kind of thing happens on a regular basis in Rwanda, and has the Church done anything to address it at all?

Joel Mutabazi, political prisoner.

Where have Anglicans been while Hutu Victoire Ingabire has languished in prison on trumped up “divisionism” charges? The day after Bishop Breedlove left Kigali, her sentence was *increased* by the Kagame Supreme Court. Can you imagine Mitt Romney in handcuffs and in jail for the ‘crime’ of daring to run against President Obama? That’s what this equates to in the Rwandan dictatorship.

Ms. Victoire Ingabire, political prisoner.

And yet Bishop Breedlove wants us to believe with Archbishop Rwaje that the Anglican Church is “the conscience of society” in Rwanda. I take ‘conscience’ to mean the sense of right and wrong for Rwandan society, and that should indeed be one of the roles of the Church, but it is a role that the Rwandan Church has utterly failed at when it comes to actions of the Kagame regime in many arenas. Any person or institution can have an erring conscience, which Aquinas would say is not formed correctly. Aquinas called acting on what your conscience tells you prudence. If your conscience is not correctly formed to understand good and evil as God delineates them, you have an erring conscience and the judgments you render are likely to be wrong.

Anglican bishops listening to their dictator.

In the case of the Rwandan Anglican Church, its judgments are clearly wrong on many issues. It should speak up against ingando camps, against Hutu oppression, against RPF domination of society, against all forms of torture and murder, against Rwandan meddling with the Kivu Provinces of the DRC and against the misused divisionism laws.
We should ask when have we ever heard a Rwandan Anglican bishop have anything but praise for their nation and its leaders? When have they ever asked for prayer for the oppression in the nation? When have they ever spoken publicly about the repressive nature of the regime? When have they ever mentioned its human rights abuses? Instead, what we see in America is Rwandans heaping praise on the nation, in the case of Bishop Mbanda, calling its maniacal leadership “visionary” and so on. This is an example of “praising the wicked” which the Proverb refers to.
In perpetuating the idea that all is well in Rwanda and we need to “learn from them” PEAR USA makes itself an accomplice with a false narrative, afraid to stand up for truth, content to accept tall tales from friends inside the country without reviewing the vast amount of critical literature about the situation. And in turn, maintaining relationships with African Churches that are compromised with wicked states brings the Anglican Church in North America into disrepute and is Biblically unfaithful. Ethics applies to sex, yes, but it also applies to every relationship we find ourselves in: institutional, governmental, and ecclesiastical. I am all for Church – State cooperation, I believe in nations being regulated by Biblical law after all, but this does not mean that the Church meekly listens to a dictator, no! Instead, the Church follows the example of St. Ambrose who rebuked the Roman Emperor for a massacre of his people. Such faith is not currently seen within PEAR, PEAR USA or ACNA.
Bishop Breedlove may simply be suffering from a lack of information, he needs to talk to the Rwandans, and by this I don’t mean clergy who are aligned with the State and can’t speak publicly for fear of prison or death, but instead those who have escaped the country and can tell him about the reality outside of the bubble that Westerners are allowed to see. There are many of them whom I could connect him with, and who the Rwandan bishops should meet on their many trips to the United States. Do you think that will happen?

Rucyahana Makes Silly Claims at Ndi Umunyarwanda

With the M23 campaign in shambles, many Bagogwe dead, and the Rwandan government feeling brittle, John Rucyahana’s role has shifted lately. In his government role as head of NURC, Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana is leading the Ndi Umunyarwanda campaign that resurrects Hutu guilt on behalf of the regime. According to accounts on Twitter:

Bishop Rucyahana accuses exiled politicians of being single biggest obstacle to reconciliation in Rwanda

Rucyahana performing Kwicazwa ku gatebe
Perhaps Rucyahana reads my blog (I have readers in Kigali and Butare) and is getting tired of posts like this, which show how the stories told by Rucyahana and many others are government-imposed fables, and so now he is lashing out on behalf of Kagame at Rudasingwa, Gahima, and many others. All of them are former insiders who tell the truth when they flee the dictatorship, but now that they are outside of the country, THEY are supposed to be the “single biggest obstacle to reconciliation”? Not RPF domination of Rwanda? Not torture of citizens? Not policies which favor a Tutsi, English-speaking elite of returnees like Rucyahana? Not evil wars to keep the Kivus unstable and rape the DRC?
Rucyahana can spin tall tales like this to the naive or captive audiences in Rwanda, but the time of his getting away with it in the West where we can speak our minds without fear of retaliation (albeit unless you are part of a church that tries to censor you), are fast drawing to an end. As Solomon wrote:

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

Rucyahana and many other Anglicans have told a story for over thirteen years, but that story is unravelling in the face of the truth

Anglican Bishop Muvunyi at Umushyikirano
Rucyahana

New Torture in Rwanda, Where is GAFCON?

Yesterday, a report came from Rwanda that Joel Mutabazi has been tortured into making a false confession by the Kagame government.

Joel Mutabazi (with a beard)

The report says in part:

He was beaten so bad that he sent a message to his family through an intermediary that he might not even recover from his injuries. During those beatings, he was told to plead guilty,” said an activist, who asked to remain anonymous.

“He decided to plead guilty because he’s tired of being beaten and he’s afraid of dying,” the activist said.

Mutabazi’s wife, contacted in Kampala, confirmed that her husband had been tortured but said she was afraid to elaborate further on the matter for fear of more reprisals. She and her two children are under guard at a UN safe house in Uganda.

Mutabazi was kidnapped by Rwanda from Uganda, where he had fled for his life, as you can see in this story.

Joel Mutabazi, an Israeli-trained commando, had fled his own intelligence service after suffering 17 months of solitary confinement and torture and was about to divulge his government’s darkest secrets.
But it wasn’t Mossad who were after him. Nor was it the KGB or China. The killers, he claims, were from one of Britain’s closest African allies. 

Mr Mutabazi, who served for 20 years as President Paul Kagame’s bodyguard, said that the men who came to kill him were, like him, Rwandan.  “Kagame has no mercy,” he told The Times. “He is a killer. He is a dictator. He can’t stand any opposition.” The gunmen shot twice but missed, and ran off into the night.

If you expose Kagame, he will kill you, or try to kill you. For me, the question is where is the church, particularly the Anglican Church, in the midst of this?

Where is GAFCON?
Last month, GAFCON issued the Nairobi Communique which said in part:

We repudiate all such violence against women and children and call on the church to demonstrate respect for women, care for marginalized women and children around the world, and uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

We are conscious of the growing number of attacks on Christians in Nigeria and Pakistan, Syria and Egypt, Sudan and many other countries. Where our brothers and sisters are experiencing persecution, we must all call on governments and leaders of other religions to respect human rights, protect Christians from violent attack and take effective action to provide for freedom of religious expression for all.

The Rwandan delegation signed on to this Communique. Presumably, the sanctity of human life precludes torture of innocent citizens, and presumably, violent attacks on kidnapped citizens are of equal value with violent attacks on Christians. So where is the Anglican Church of Rwanda when Rwandans are tortured? So far, they are right in Kagame’s hip pocket, that is where.

State and Church United
Bishop Rucyahana with Caesar Kayizari
Pastor Antoine Rutayisire with the Dictator
Bishop Gasatura at a Kagame Prayer Breakfast
Archbishop Rwaje with the Dictator
Bishop Mbanda with President Kagame
Retired Bishop Rucyahana with RPF Notables
What we see from the American branch of the Rwandan Church (PEAR USA) is platitudes about the greatness of Rwanda, such as this from Bishop David Bryan:

Whenever you are asked why we are still connected with the Anglican Church in Rwanda, one obvious answer is “we still have a lot to learn from them!”

The continuing silence of GAFCON, Rwandan Anglicans and American Anglicans canonically resident in Rwanda shows that the Gospel for them does not involve speaking up against dictators who torture and kill their own people. It is shameful and time will not judge them favorably.

Archbishop Wabukala’s Address, Part II

Archbishop Wabukala uses the “alones” in his definition of salvation, “Set against this dark backdrop, the gospel of grace alone through faith alone shines in all its glory.” It would be hard to imagine a more thoroughly Protestant statement then what Wabukala has offered. He goes on to praise the confessionalism of African missionaries versus the moralism that took over in England:

For many of us the writings of John Stott and J.I. Packer simply were normal Anglicanism and too many of us assumed that the rest of the Communion thought the same way! 

I must point out that the Keswick origins of the East African Revival involve a good deal of Semi-Pelagiansim and that element of theology is not missing from the current GAFCON churches. Having said that, Stott and Packer are in a completely different orbit and referencing them is encouraging to me.
Wabukala maintains his focus on sexual ethics when he says:

The root cause of our problems is that strand of Western Anglicanism which has never been able to shake off the moralistic tendencies of the seventeenth century. It has too often chosen to justify its existence by various forms of moralism, but the indifference to doctrine which goes with this mindset means that it has a persistent tendency to adopt the morality of the prevailing secular culture — and it is ironic that bishops who are called to be guardians of the faith are often the leaders and catalysts in this process.  

But it is here that I must fault him for not going far enough. Sexual ethics are not the only ethics the Bible talks about, and while he is correct on those matters, he does not mention the approval of murderers like Uhuru Kenyatta and Paul Kagame that Romans 1:32 says we are not to give. Many GAFCON bishops have said not a word against the murderous wickedness of their national, but have said a great deal about homosexuality. Unless this is corrected, GAFCON will lack credibility in its notional re-evangelization of the West.
Another unfortunate aspect of Wabukala’s presentation is his identification of women’s ordination as a second order issue:

Following the spirit of the Articles, we respect diversity on secondary matters and the GAFCON movement models this in the variety of traditions it embraces and the recognition of principled difference about the role of women in church leadership. However, on those matters which touch the central message of the Church’s mission we need to also follow the spirit of the Articles, reinforcing the great positives of the gospel by stating the necessary negatives, especially in an intellectual environment dominated by post modernist relativism where it is assumed that truth claims are merely preferences. 

Women’s ordination has not been a secondary matter at all. It has indeed been the leading edge of the attack on Scriptural authority from at least the 1960’s on in the West. As Patrick Reardon said:

I trust it will not be a matter of indifference to Torrance that our opposition to women’s ordination springs from a deeply held conviction that the practice itself is a grave act of disobedience and a first, but firm, step toward apostasy. In fact, this was the assessment explicitly asserted by C. S. Lewis several decades ago in a passage that is well known. Lewis argued that ordaining the male sex to minister at the Eucharist has to do with the “correct appearance” (“orthodoxy” in Greek), the proper iconography. Change that appearance, alter that icon, he reasoned, and in due time you are worshipping a different god. That is precisely what we are witnessing today in congregations that were still Christian back when C. S. Lewis spoke his mind. 

I see the matter to be every bit as serious as that tiny but notorious fourth-century iota that Athanasius would have died to keep out of the Creed. The adoption of female ordination is regarded by some of us as an implicit but definite challenge to the lordship of Christ and the finality of his word… 

As with many things related to GAFCON, we have a mixed bag. Wabukala’s helpful re-centering of doctrine on the Articles of Religion gives way to a capitulation on Biblical principles of ordination and a failure to confront the oppressive regimes of several GAFCON nations. 

Archbishop Wabukala Defends the 39 Articles

Archbishop Wabukala

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala recently delivered an address where he outlined the role of the Anglican Articles of Religion in relation to the GAFCON movement. Wabukala delivered this address on American soil, which is significant given the overrepresentation of Anglo Catholicism in the leadership ranks of ACNA. 
Archbishop Wabukala described the origin of the Articles as follows: 

Thirty-nine Articles which were themselves intended by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer as the articulation of that which had been buried beneath layers of mediaeval scholasticism. 

This take on the Articles is refreshing to hear given how accustomed we are in America to seeing the Articles swept under the proverbial rug, even amongst the ‘conservatives’ of ACNA. Wabukala himself points out that the Articles have been given short-shrift globally: 

Until recently, the default position throughout the Communion seems to have been to treat the Articles as of merely historical interest. In the Church of England itself, although the Articles still have legal status in defining doctrine, the clergy are not required to subscribe to them and in my own Anglican Church of Kenya our constitution merely gives individual dioceses the option of require subscription to the Articles. 

Thanks to GAFCON, there is now renewed awareness of the Articles. It may seem strange to you that I as an African Primate am advocating a document that emerged out of the ecclesiastical and political crisis of sixteenth century England, but simply to dismiss the Articles because of their distance from us in time and space would be a superficial judgment. They are not of course on the same level as Scripture — indeed perhaps their greatest value is the assertion that the Church and its Councils are always themselves under the authority of Scripture — but like the Scriptural text, we must approach the Articles on their own merits and seek to understand the mind of the author, not impose our prior assumptions and prejudices. 

Wabukala’s position stands in sharp contrast to that of voices such as that of Father Kevin Donlon who said, “the Articles of Religion are to be given their due place with regard to some conflicts of the 16th century, but not the 21st century.” This is essentially the Anglo-Catholic position for obvious reasons.  
Archbishop goes on to stand by a firmly Augustinian position on regeneration as laid out by the Articles: 

In his loving mercy and grace, God calls the dead to life through Jesus Christ. The Gospel is not a call for moral reform and improvement. We are utterly unable to help ourselves and the power of God is displayed in the gift of new life as he reconciles lost humanity to himself in Christ. The influence of Augustine is very clear in the recognition given to the bondage of the human will. 

Can you imagine the majority of ACNA bishops or clergy talking like this? Arminian views of grace run rampant in the segments of ACNA that I am familiar with. With this said, the problem is that there is no method for enforcing doctrinal cohesion in GAFCON or ACNA. Perhaps on paper a method exists somewhere, but short of outright flagrant heresy I cannot envision ACNA or GAFCON *ever* enforcing the views which Wabukala laid out. Anglicanism as it exists on the ground in ACNA is simply a believe what you want affair, within certain parameters. As encouraging as Wabukala’s views are, they probably stand in contrast to the very Archbishop of ACNA who is a known Anglo-Catholic. 
I will continue blogging through his address in the future.

Anglicans Working with the Rwandan State

Rutayisire at GAFCON
Fresh off a trip to GAFCON, Anglican Pastor and Vice President of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) Antoine Rutayisire joined a retreat of Rwanda’s newly “elected” sham parliament. Rutayisire was joined by retired Bishop and NURC President John Rucyahana for the Ndi Umunyarwanda retreat. Ndi Umunyarwanda translates “I’m Rwandan”.


Rutayisire leads prayer at the Ndi Umunyarwanda retreat

The “I’m Rwandan” campaign is ostensibly aimed at at building a nation that is based on trust through honest discussions about the nation’s history but in reality NURC is an arm of the authoritarian state that serves to impose ruling party ideology on the population. As Filip Reyntjens points out:

Another way of hiding control by the RPF is the use of youth and women’s organizations. In 1998 an RPF congress put Aloysia Inyumba, the Minister for Women and Social Services, in charge of building up a national network of women’s groups, using aid funds for women’s empowerment allocated to her ministry. By the first quarter of 1999, Catholic youth leaders were recruited to mobilize the young. Women and youth leaders were promised positions within the future district councils or even seats in Parliament if they supported the RPF. In parallel, the ‘solidarity camps’ organized by the NURC became the training grounds for RPF political sensitization and education, and for the selection of electoral candidates. Although internationally hailed as a model of women’s empowerment, the 24 MPs representing women, elected in an indirect and opaque way, are all ‘RPF-approved’, and they serve to hide the RPF’s domination of Parliament.

Eugenia Zorbas says: “the perception among Rwandans that the NURC is an instrument of the central authorities”. NURC perpetuates the myth of a non-ethnic Rwanda, but our own State Department knows better (see this post). It said:

For all the government’s exhortations to Rwandans to abandon ethnic identities and work in common on national goals, a policy that in fact has much to recommend it, the  political reality is self-evidently otherwise.  People remain  keenly committed to their ethnic identities, and everyone is  aware of which person holds which position and to which group  he belongs.  While the practical end-point for such a project  may be years away. if this government is ever to surmount the  challenges and divides of Rwandan society, it must begin to  share real authority with Hutus to a much greater degree than  it does now.

According to Twitter, “Members of Parliament have been urged to play their roles to popularise the Ndi Umunyarwanda campaign.” “P. Antoine Rutayisire…highlights source of wounds caused by our history that we h’ve 2be released from” and “Bishop John Rucyahana presenting progress made by the National Unity and Reconciliation to MPs at the retreat.”
Also attending this parliamentary retreat was General James Kabarebe, a government minister, Kagame insider, and key leader of M23, the recently crushed terrorist group supported by Bishops Rucyahana and Kolini.

James Kabarebe
Following up on the Parliament’s Ndi Umunyarwanda retreat, Rucyahana joined the actual Rwandan cabinet on another retreatpresided over by President Paul Kagame and the First Lady Jeannette Kagame.” One can only imagine the conversations behind the scenes given the collapse of M23. The picture below shows Rucyahana listening to the Vice President of the ruling party, Christophe Bazivamo:
Rucyahana with RPF’s Vice President Christophe Bazivamo

The evidence of PEAR (the Rwandan Anglican Church) complicity with the Kagame regime is there for anyone to see. What is not evident however is any willingness on the part of orthodox Anglicans in PEAR USA or GAFCON to stand up and put actions behind words such as:

We repudiate all such violence against women and children and call on the church to demonstrate respect for women, care for marginalized women and children around the world, and uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

Taking that statement seriously would mean some real changes to the stance of Anglicans in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.

Sources
  1. Reyntjens, Filip. “Constructing The Truth, Dealing With Dissent, Domesticating The World: Governance In Post- Genocide Rwanda.” African Affairs. (2010): 1-34. African Affairs. (2010): 1-34.
  2. Zorbas, Eugenia. 2004. “Reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda”, African Journal of Legal Studies 1, 1: 30–52.
  3. GAFCON, Nairobi Communique and Commitment.
  4. Tweets



Theological Tensions within GAFCON

Andrew Atherstone attended GAFCON and wrote an insightful review of the conference (here) including this:

Theological tensions were further exposed in a seminar on the complementary charisms of catholicism and evangelicalism by Gavin Ashenden (former chaplain of Sussex University, trained at both Oak Hill and Heythrop), an entertaining but provocative speaker whose comments demonstrated the chasm between the two movements. This is one of the biggest dilemmas for GAFCON – although overwhelming evangelical, how serious is it about bringing Catholic Anglicans on board? The North American contingent, in particular, is largely catholic, since so many evangelicals left the Episcopal Church in the nineteenth century. The Nairobi communiqué welcomes ‘all our different traditions’ (misleadingly caricatured as Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics, and Charismatics) as all committed to ‘a renewed Anglican orthodoxy’. But what does this mean in practice? Is it just a temporary alliance, co-belligerence against the common enemy of radical liberalism, or something more? The Jerusalem Declaration of 2008 famously affirms ‘justification by faith’ (as did the Council of Trent) but not ‘justification by faith alone’. Some Anglo-Catholics at Nairobi were unhappy that the public worship was not more catholic in flavour; but they admitted there are only two viable options as they face an insecure future, GAFCON or the Ordinariate.

His “outside looking in”take on ACNA as largely catholic confirms my supposition that ACNA’s leadership is far more Anglo Catholic than the rank and file are, but it still isn’t proof.
Read the whole thing for what I think is a very balanced reflection on the week that was.
Also, Lee Gatiss wrote a positive review of the conference, but he also noted:

As for GAFCON, it contains its own fault lines and failures. The place of Anglo-Catholics within the broader movement may prove in the future to be problematic (and I spent many hours trying to negotiate some of this territory, with some friendly Anglo-Catholics who were kind enough to give me a great deal of their time). Some delegates expressed concern that justification by faith alone was not asserted clearly and unambiguously, and one senior Archbishop admitted that our fellowship may not be entirely gospel-focused, yet.

Kagame Supporters at GAFCON

Last week’s GAFCON meeting in Nairobi included supporters of Rwandan Dictator Paul Kagame, notably retired Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini and Anglican pastor Antoine Rutayisire.
As the UN Group of Experts reported in 2012, Kolini assisted Rucyahana in fundraising and recruiting for the murderous M23 “rebellion” in the DRC. He also acted as Kagame’s mouthpiece in 2007 when he told an AMiA congregation in Chicago to dis-invite the hero of Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, from speaking at the church.
Kolini seated behind Archbishop Rwaje
Kolini’s presence is also curious given how he thumbed his nose at GAFCON when the AMiA decided to flee Rwandan oversight in late 2011.
Kolini in the crowd
Kolini in the bishop’s picture
Kolini with Kagame
Kolini also functioned in several government roles, showing a close alliance with the ruling party.
Antoine Rutayisire also shows up in this picture at GAFCON:
Rutayisire (left) at a GAFCON session
Rutayisire often appears at Kagame’s side in his role with NURC, a government fuction.
Rutayisire with the Rwandan Dictator

I asked last week if GAFCON would address authoritarian governments and I will have more to say about this later, but allowing clergy who are closely aligned to a dictator is unacceptable. Hopefully GAFCON will mature on these issues and apply the language it just adopted to the concrete situations of government.