In March 2018, an estimated 6000 churches and 100 mosques were closed down in Rwanda on the orders of President Paul Kagame in a legislation that was to regulate faith based organisations differently from civil society organisations.
Recently President Kagame via his Twitter handle claimed that he had closed down the churches and mosques so that religious leaders could "stop playing with people’s faith and making it a business." In the established regulation a degree of theology must be presented before pastors start up pentecostal churches and the same is to applied to muslim religious leaders.
“I believe what Kagame is doing is high handed, draconian, and I think it's mocking to say that the religious leaders are playing with people’s faith,” said Pastor Martin Ssempa a friend of The Fatboy Show during an interview with James Onen aka Fatboy on RX Radio.
“How does Kagame know faith? How does he define faith? Who gives him the right to decide what is faith and what isn't? Freedom of religion is like freedom of speech, at times I might not agree with people but I let them,” said the pastor.
Further commenting on the closure of mosques, Pastor Ssempa noted that closing down mosques goes together with closing down Arab trade with the country yet Arabs are the strongest trade partners of the country.
“I want to predict for you that when you push two major players together (the christians and moslems), President Kagame is creating an alliance between the Arab states of Dubai, Abudhabi, and Saudi Arabia to find friendship with christians to deal with the religious persecution in Rwanda,” said pastor Ssempa.
“The major investments in Rwanda are made by Islamic states, Dubai, the Prince of the Emirates and I can predict that if the wealthy princes of Abudhabi come and put up their loud speakers and make a prayer in Kigali, I can assure you that the Rwandan police will find an excuse to allow them pray,” the pastor said.
But Fatboy told the pastor that his argument meant that people should not be denied the chance to be led by well educated clerics because of the Arab countries who contribute significantly to their trade and yet some will be exploited by false preachings and doctrines.
The pastor admitted that although there might be 10 percent of “freaks” in any kind of society, it is not justifiable to trample on the rights of the rest of the 80 percent normal people especially in a democratic society.
“So you need to give freedom of speech, worship. Some people like James Onen and Paul Kagame might find it annoying but in a democratic society you cannot control all of them and say you can't have prayers. Am predicting that once the organisation of Islamic states comes in , President Kagame will find the occasion to scale back and give allowance to the mullas and sheikhs to call muslims for prayers,” Pastor Ssempa concluded.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive and Sarah every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.