The fact is irrefutable that, religion has its role to play in national development. Apart from serving as the vehicle with which we transport our cultural values from one generation to the other, solidify and sustain them, we can equally create a better society with the infusion of positive doctrines that preaches good morals, which in the long run, helps to reduce social vices when combined with law enforcement. However, the abuse of religion is an impediment to the African development.
In Africa currently, the number of religious buildings are more than the number of factories we have. The number keeps surging each day, from churches, through mosques to traditional and other religious structures. The most abused of all religions is Christianity. The church is now a business with branches scattered everywhere on the continent and some of the leaders whom, I preferably call the PASTOR-PRENEURS take advantage of people’s fear of the unknown to make wealth and compete with each other at the detriment of the mostly, poor congregants.
One of the major reasons why Rwanda is developing enviably is because of how resolute Paul Kagame stood to regulate religious activities in the country. He shut down about 8000 churches and set standards for each one to meet before engaging in religious activities. When he realized that, there were 700 churches in Kigali alone, he asked if there are as much factories and also questioned if those 700 churches are boreholes that provide drinking water for people.
This is completely different in most African countries where politicians see religion as a cover-up for their incompetence and corruption, as well as a tool for winning elections, through undue manipulation of the populace. In Ghana for instance, when an economic mismanagement resulted in the depreciation of the Ghanaian cedi, very influential religious leaders attributed it to spiritual factors and led the masses in series of prayers to avert the cause, instead of pushing the government to implement anti-corruption measures and fruitful economic policies. Politicians in Nigeria steal money from the public coffers and blame some spiritual dwarf, monkey or snake for swallowing the money and mostly get away with it.
The proliferation and abuse of religion in Africa is a sad reality that has been normalized with its tendency to retard our development, highly underrated. How then do we develop when the general focus of the continent is being steered towards religious activities, instead of industrial revolution?