BUJUMBURA May 9th (ABP) – The Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday May 4, 2022 under the chairmanship of the Head of State analyzed several points including the draft law amending Law No. 1/35 of December 31, 2014 on organic framework of religious denominations which was presented by the Minister of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security.
Since the promulgation of Law No. 1/35 of December 31, 2014 on the organic framework of religious denominations, the observation is that certain churches, instead of being benchmarks of morality that teach good and avoid evil, rather become areas of conflict and confrontation between the faithful. Some go so far as to bump into each other during worship. The reasons for these quarrels are diverse, including disagreement over the management of church property or between governing bodies. Some governing bodies within churches do not want to leave office after their terms expire, suggesting that the intention of these bodies is not good management but rather management that tends towards misappropriation and abuse. outright appropriation of church property. The conflict situation in some churches has often led the Burundi National Police to be called in to ensure order in places of worship to avoid physical confrontations. In addition to this context of disturbing public order caused by certain churches, it is observed the persistence of facts which are contrary to law n ° 1/35 of December 31, 2014 on the organic framework of religious denominations, in particular churches which operate without approval, trafficking in photocopies of ministerial approval ordinances or falsification of approval ordinances to allow churches that have not yet been approved to organize services. The establishment of churches without respecting the distance required by law, churches which worship in classrooms, cabarets, churches which do not meet the minimum health and hygiene conditions, those which do not respect the statutory hours of exercise of worship or who make a fuss, thus disturbing the tranquility of the population, of the leaders of religious denominations who abuse their faithful.
The objective of the government of Burundi is to establish public order, to enforce the law, good morals, while guaranteeing public freedoms. Religious denominations, being privileged partners in the organization of society, must, in addition to the spiritual aspect, participate in the development of the country in the same way as other national and international organizations operating in Burundi.
It is with a view to finding a lasting solution to the functioning of churches that this bill is proposed. The main innovations made to the law in force concern in particular the abolition of the Body for the Regulation and Conciliation of Religious Denominations, which has proved ineffective, the regulation of the days, hours and places of worship while allowing the faithful to go about their daily activities for their own development. The obligation for religious denominations seeking approval to have decent places of worship meeting hygienic conditions and built of durable materials, the requirement of a certain level of high education up to baccalaureate level for leaders’ religious denominations and religious movements, in order to guarantee better leadership capable of properly guiding the faithful. The requirement, for religious denominations that operate under the regulatory regime of foreign mother churches, to conclude a framework agreement with the government of Burundi, the requirement for the traceability of funds from foreign countries intended for the financing of religious denominations.
After exchange and debate, the project was adopted with the recommendations of inserting a provision which provides for the establishment of a doctrinaire council in the religious denominations which so wish but which are not part of the governing bodies and a provision which specifies that governing bodies are democratically elected and distinguished by spiritual titles. Include a provision that authorizes public authorities to organize elections when the governing bodies of religious denominations refuse to organize elections at the end of their mandate, sensitize religious denominations that carry out lucrative activities to declare and pay tax.
The council also analyzed the National Crafts Policy and its implementation strategy, which were presented by the Minister of Trade, Transport, Trade and Industry. Handicrafts in Burundi constitute an indispensable and unavoidable sector in the implementation of an ambitious development policy, thanks to its capacity and potential to generate jobs with a minimum of capital, to fight against household and population poverty.
Currently, the craft sector continues to develop without strategic orientation documents, because almost all craft activities are carried out in an unstructured framework. To remedy this, the development of this sector will begin with the establishment of a national strategy for the implementation of the National Crafts Policy and its operational action plan.
The results expected from this strategy are of paramount importance in terms of the creation of stable and decent jobs, craft production with high added value, development of local resources, development of know-how, export of diversified nationalities and the anchoring of craft trades in the reality and in the heritage of the country. This policy and its implementation strategy will provide a frame of reference for better synergy between stakeholders and a rational organization of activities for the development and promotion of the artisanal sector.
At the end of the debate, the policy and its implementation strategy were adopted with recommendations including those to revitalize craft schools, to strengthen the capacities of craftsmen so that they produce quality objects and express the necessary budget in Burundian francs.