The Church & the Challenge of Democratization in Africa
Democratization of the state means Promotion of Human Rights.
Religions played a big role in establishing democratic principles for
political organization of societies. Indirectly the religious
institutions are promoting human rights as their teachings touch most
elements of human rights. All lawful religious doctrines helped the
African Societies to promote and protect human rights during colonial
Several cases can explain this fact:
i). It was through provision of social services by the Churches
that colonized people recognized their right of equality with
colonizers. Through this recognition of their rights African countries
demanded and obtained their independences.
ii). The Churches preached the word of God who is One and Creator of
all. People accepted their equal status before God. Hence, the unity of
people was a result of common mission and vocation of religious
iii). It was easy to tolerate the religious dissents (eccentrics) in
Africa because God prohibited killing of fellow human being.
iv). The Church rendered social services without any discrimination.
The spiritual education, therefore, was linked with respect of others.
v).The inclusive language in communicating about divine things is
common to all religions e.g “God’s Children; Our Father; Our Creator”.
The language of embracing everybody in the Kingdom of God is what the Media has to use to promote common values of the society.
2.2 RELIGION THE PROMOTER OF DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA
The doctrines preached by religions will deserve the respect by the
state if they do not contradict human dignity. This is the litmus of a
good religion. Since the human dignity is maintained through the
respect and guarantee of human rights it follows that the religious
institutions have divine mission to educate, promote and respect human
rights for the social cohesion.
The religious institutions have now dual responsibility for promotion of human rights:
1. Forming responsible citizens imbued with human values
2. Educating people about basic human rights.
Once people are so formed and educated they will be able to choose
the type of their government which will respect and protect human
Are all Churches preaching and living the conviction of equal human
dignity? The answer is supposed to be “Yes” because many poor people
accept equality in human dignity. The problem is with those who do not
believe in human dignity.
Democratic governance will help creation of united society and protection of human rights.
The Church in Africa has to reflect its role in the process of democratization.
3. WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?
Essential Democratic Principles