African leader calls for peace in Somalia at theology forum

By staff writers
January 17, 2007

The general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the Rev Dr Mvume Dandala, has used the occasion of a major theological conference to call for practical steps towards reconciliation and peace in conflict-torn Somalia.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Forum on Theology and Liberation at the Carmelite Centre in Langata - Nairobi, the African ecumenical leader described greed as the centre of the struggles in Somalia, greed for both material wealth and political power.

He added that the theme for the forum - 'Spirituality for another possible world' resonates with the mood of the continent of Africa which is on the throne of celebrating increased democratic space, peace and stability in most areas. However, he secured the political situation in the Horn of Africa.

Dandala noted that the future of Africa depends on reconciliation and peace being given a genuine chance after years of bloodshed. He called for reconciliation between people across the varying divides that separate humanity, including religious ones.

In a further interview Dandala pleaded to all parties involved in Somalia to put a stop to the loss of human life, including revenge killings and suffering visited on the people of Somalia. He called for processes that would seek to lead all in accommodating each other and to fend a common and lasting solution for all Somalis.

In this regard he indicated that the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), together with the Inter-religious Council of Kenya, will hold a consultative meeting on the 3-4 February 2007 in Dar-es-Salaam. "This meeting will seek to bring our Christian and Muslim brothers together to reflect on the situation in Somalia," he said.

Due to the fast changing scenarios in Somalia, the Bishop called for the deployment of neutral peace keeping forces from African Union (AU) countries preferably outside the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states, due to the deferring positions taken by IGAD member states on the situation in Somalia. He urged foreign groups that are involved not to seek victory for any single side but rather to seek processes that make co-existence possible.

Using Somalia as an example of all that is needed in the continent for self renewal, he called on the World Forum on Theology and Liberation to challenge the churches to be the corner stone of reconciliation in Africa for a new Africa to be realised.

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