Bishop Mvume Dandala urged Canadian churches to condemn corruption in the developing world.
Bishop Mvume Dandala, general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), has urged Canadians to join African churches in condemning the role of developed nations in perpetuating corruption in Africa and the rest of the developing world.
“The matter of corruption is a matter that requires all churches to act together because there are two aspects of corruption,” said Bishop Dandala, in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “First, it is challenging our own people to actually confront this problem head on. There’s another problem and that is the fact that even the international world has developed values of wanting to deal corruptly when it cuts deals with people from the developing world,”
The bishop argued that others besides African churches need to speak out because “we’re not just speaking to the African people. It becomes the worldwide community that needs to speak to all the structures that deal with the people of the developing world, holding them responsible for their actions.”
Bad governance, which includes corruption, has made some Canadians critical of granting an unconditional cancellation of the developing world’s debts owed to international governments and financial institutions.
But Bishop Dandala, a South African Methodist who assumed the AACC’s top post in 2003, said, “It is totally wrong for people to feel that corruption is an African phenomenon. Greed is a phenomenon that affects the whole of humanity.”
During recent meetings with church leaders in Toronto, Bishop Dandala urged Canadian churches to become part of an ecumenical movement that will ensure that Christianity – which is growing exponentially in Africa – “does not break down the social bonds that have made the African people withstand so much of the socio-political and economic bonds that have been perpetuated against the continent of Africa.”
He said that Africa is fast becoming an “epicentre” of Christianity, but there is growing concern about churches that only concern themselves with individual needs, perpetuating “an extreme form of individualism” in the life of the church. “People talking only about private sin, private salvation, private hope, private life,” he said.
“The temptation is always there for the church to just celebrate the growth of their numbers without worrying about what kind of impact they have on the communal life of our people,” he said.
The AACC is an ecumenical partner of the Anglican Church of Canada. The Anglican church provided a 2005 grant of $4,000 to cover administrative costs and work on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights.