This week on Heart of Africa, Kudakwashe hosts Ugandan Pastor, Activist, and Political Analyst, Dr Martin Ssempa in a discussion on the Christian-Muslim conflict that has relentlessly afflicted Nigeria since Christmas Day 2011. Dr Ssempa gives an in depth critical analysis on the complex issues in Nigeria, extending to the international community. The substance of this discussion unveils that this conflict is “a fight for the soul of Nigeria”.
Dr Ssempa, who has visited Jos, Nigeria for a period of 2 months, begins by giving a deeply horrifying report on how the campaign for terror has manifested in the country. He states that some of the occurrences of this devastation are actually not reported, though many Nigerian Christians are being executed through different methods. He describes the Jos conflict as a convergence of the two tectonic plates of Nigeria – Islam’s tectonic plate from the North converging with the Christian south’s, with constant frictions.
He specifically points out that the Boko Haram, who are well equipped with highly sophisticated and advanced military equipment, carry out operations that put Nigeria’s national army to shame. In addition, this terror group, burns down churches with worshippers in them; and also forcefully takes Christian women as slave wives, raping them to cause them to conceive Muslim babies as a means of forcing them to convert to Islam.
Among other matters Dr Ssempa emphasises on the shifting world view about Christianity, where pure and authentic Christianity is being labelled as rebellious, especially if it does not conform to what would be politically desired of it at a specific time. “Tolerant” Christianity is being exalted more, and viewed as the modern way for the religion to exist as. He exerts that African Christians must advocate for their own unique identity, heritage, and authentic belief system that is not moved by “modernisation”, while declining the Westernisation of the African religion.
Dr Ssempa also explains that the Boko Haram consider that Christianity is responsible for the push for instating homosexual rights, and pro-abortion laws, and increasing acceptance of immorality. He however elicits that incorrupt Christianity and incorrupt Islam actually have more similarities than differences, and asserts that if Nigeria’s Muslims regarded this point, then there would be no reason for the persecution of Christians.
Among other issues, Dr Ssempa exposes the fault lines of the international community’s response to the Christian-Muslim conflict in Nigeria. One element is the fact that the USA has taken long to recognise that the Boko Haram is indeed a terrorist group – only doing so yesterday. Even though “sovereign” African nations must be able to determine who is who on the continent, Dr Ssempa explains that, the USA’s delayed recognition of this terrorist group is caused by expectations that come with such an acceptance.
Another element is what Dr SSempa describes as the “hypocrisy of the great Western empire”, which sees itself as the protector of people, but selectively intervenes were human rights are violated. He explains this further by making a comparison between the West’s response to events in Libya in 2010, and those in Nigeria in 2011 – which actually had clear evidence. He concludes that the intervention in Libya, in the name of “responsibility to protect” was most probably pushed by the scale of oil wealth in that nation.
Dr SSempa advocates for Christians to focus on working corporatively with Muslims and Arabs, instead of continual strife and conflict at the cost of thousands of lives. The example of the harmonious co-existence of multiple religions in Kenya, even in politics, comes into this context. Dr Ssempa also exhorts for “independent” African nations to grow and develop “independent” thinking, as this will essentially give the continent total independence.
Kudakwashe concludes the programme with biblical perspectives. Heart of Africa is a weekly programme dedicated to examining matters that affect Africa from an African Christian perspective, as Africans envisage the tangible revival of their own African dream. Comments and questions welcome here or via twitter @HeartOfAfrica55. All rights reserved.