In the costly war of attrition on crime and injustice, the spiritual crusade is usually the option of choice after all other recourses have been tried but to avail.
Pie Ntukamanzina, Archbishop of the Bujumbura Diocese of the Anglican Church of Burundi, acknowledges this fact and is determined to see greater efforts made to sweep society clean of crime and injustice.
That these vices are among the factors constituting the roots of poverty amidst plenty is no longer subject to debate – and John F Kennedy aptly stated half a century ago that if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it also automatically cannot save the few who are rich.
The gist of the high-profile cleric’s message of good hope is that it is incumbent upon the clergy across the globe “to lead their followers towards attaining ethical values” as one of the surest ways of rooting out corruption and other anti-social behavior and practices.
Tanzanians have an immense lot to learn from the Burundi cleric’s clarion although it is well known that the word he is preaching is not the first of such summons.
This is particularly considering that it is common practice in our country for religious leaders to address or otherwise add weight to even the most secular of ceremonies by reiterating the importance of leading lives that value and have respect for human dignity and the rights of the individual.
The cleric says Africa is the midst of a serious crisis in that it is faced crippling problems resulting from the high and stubborn incidence and prevalence of corruption, poverty and a leadership that many find badly wanting.
He does not start and end with lamentations with a bearing on the existence of these stumbling blocks on the road towards meaningful social, cultural and economic development.
Rather, he stands convinced that religious leaders are vested with unique powers that could be easily harnessed to build morally upright and therefore God-fearing individuals, families or households, communities and, by logical progression, nations.
Yes, religious leaders ought to feel obliged to play a central role in so “taming their flocks” as to build nations that together form a world community where sense means sense and there is no chance of ethical, cultural and other values being turned upside-down and still that being taken as the normal way things should go.
To be fair, law-enforcement agents has been working hard often in collaboration with the larger public to make our country an increasingly better place to live. Yet, it would be foolhardy arguing that such interventions have turned Tanzania into a crime-free zone.
We are no strangers to the sad fact that some elements in our very midst just won’t reform and continue perpetrating all manner of criminal and other abhorrent activities and practices as if they don’t know or care about the penalties doing so attracts.
We should count ourselves very fortunate seeing that, despite all odds, there are still people in their hundreds if not thousands determined to use dialogue to help end the decadence threatening to strangle us. They both need and deserve public support.