We, Catholic Communicators of Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, at the end of our one week workshop/seminar organized by the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, (SECAM) and the Africa Region of the World Catholic Association of Communication (SIGNIS Africa), on Peace Building and Good Governance, held at the Conference Centre of the Tanzanian Episcopal Conference (TEC), Kurasini, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania; resolve and hereby issue this communiqué:
- That we are grateful to Almighty God for this unique opportunity to come together to discuss this very important issue at a time that peace is strongly desired on our continent. We reiterate that the role of the Church in this perspective cannot be over emphasized. We therefore implore Him to touch the hearts of our leaders, so that Africa can become a haven for peace.
- That there is the need for all stakeholders in Africa – governments, religious bodies, civil organizations, corporate organizations and all Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora, to give priority attention to the issue of peace building and good governance in Africa. This is the only way for meaningful development on the continent.
- That conflicts and wars in the different regions on the continent are as a result of inordinate ambitions of political leaders and their allies, both within and outside the continent, corruption, ethnic chauvinism, religious fanaticism and the get-rich-quick syndrome of a few people in the different countries of the continent who find themselves on the corridors of power.
- That there is an urgent need to put an end to the various wars and conflicts in the different parts of the continent as they have hindered development, ravaged the continent and made the majority of Africans poorer despite the fact that the continent is blessed with abundant human and natural resources.
- That for the desired peace in Africa, there is the need for all war- lords on the continent to have the fear of God in their hearts, respect the dignity and right to life, imbibe the spirit of true forgiveness and love and give room to true reconciliation with due consideration for truth, equity and justice.
- That, while commending the bishops of the various Catholic Episcopal Conferences on the continent for being the voice of the voiceless in the condemnation of injustice and inhumanity, we urge them to re-double their efforts and give concrete support for effective communication for evangelization to be more effective in Africa. For this we also wish to thank and commend the Pontifical Council For Social Communications for its efforts in encouraging Episcopal Conferences to integrate Social Communications in their Pastoral Plan.
- That there is the need for the Catholic Church to make communication evangelization the cornerstone of the pastoral work of the Church on the continent. In this perspective, there is the need for the Church in Africa to devote more human, material and financial resources to communications because the Good News and our Lord Jesus Christ, the communicator par excellence form the cornerstone of evangelization.
(8) That communication programmes be introduced into the curriculum of Seminaries and Religious formation houses on the continent, and that lecturers in these institutions of learning as well as serving priests and religious should be well equipped through organized training programmes in the realm of Social Communications.
- That as Catholic communicators, we are resolved more than ever to mobilize all resources for the promotion of peace, true reconciliation and good governance on the continent through effective use of our professional tools to promote truth, respect for human dignity, justice and peace as well as promote African cultures that develop these values. We also stress the need for more collaboration between the Communications Department and other departments of the Episcopal Conferences, especially that of the department of Justice and Peace.
(10) That we are grateful to the President of SECAM; the Tanzanian Episcopal Conference; the President of SIGNIS World; Catholic Media Council, Germany; and the Seminar facilitators for making the Seminar a success. We also wish to express our appreciation to the Pontifical Congregation for the Propagation of Faith and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), for their financial support. We assure them of a new dawn for communication in the evangelisation efforts of the Catholic Church in Africa, particularly in the area of peace building and good governance.