Namibian Churches to Up Anti-Violence Drive

Civil society needs to become more pro-active in condemning violence and crime, says the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN).

At the end of their Annual General Meeting (AGM), held under the theme 'Come let us rebuild', on Friday, delegates representing 18 churches in Namibia, resolved to focus their attention this year on overcoming violence, fighting HIV-AIDS and restoring the moral fibre of society.

The CCN said churches should commit themselves to making a success of the 'Decade to Overcome Violence'.

"The AGM recognises the need to get people together for joined public protests and symbolic actions, which show that churches are working together to overcome violence," said CCN General Secretary Reverend Nangula Kathindi.

The AGM has called on its member churches to hold ecumenical services in public arenas within their towns while encouraging its leaders to use the mass media to speak out against violence and crime.

The CCN has also suggested a campaign to ban the use of so-called "toys of violence".

Christians, they said, should boycott toy guns, war games and violent computer games - which they said contributed to a violent society.

A task force has been set up to help member churches draw up strategies to fight against violence.

The CCN said by nurturing a culture of non-violence and respect for human life, moral values in Namibian society could be restored.

The AGM further resolved to intensify education programmes on HIV-AIDS in recognition of the fact that ignorance, denial, stigma and discrimination still play a significant role in fighting the pandemic.

Churches, the AGM said, should also step up their efforts to address practices which further the spread of the disease.

As the number of orphans continues to soar because of HIV-AIDS, the churches plan to collect information on orphans in their areas and to feed it through to the Church Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) so as to plan for the future.

During their deliberations, the churches discussed the importance of addressing voter apathy and have called on the relevant bodies to ensure Namibians were adequately educated and empowered to take part in the democratic process.

Bishop Shihala Hamupembe of the Anglican Diocese in Namibia was voted the new CCN President, taking over from Reverend Andreas Biwa of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Bishop Zephania Kameeta of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN) retains his position as Vice President, while Philip Strydom of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa will serve as Alternate Vice President for the next year.