Rwanda’s president, the iron-fisted Paul Kagame, has sent shockwaves through the nation with a threat that has Catholics trembling. While the Catholic Church remains silent, President Kagame vows to imprison faithful pilgrims flocking to a sacred site, accusing them of a truly jaw-dropping offense – “worshipping poverty.”
In a land where almost all hearts beat with Christian fervor, with Catholics forming a hefty half of the population, the quaint town of Kibeho draws thousands each year. A journey of days on foot leads them to the very spot where it’s believed the Virgin Mary appeared to three young schoolgirls decades ago.
But even as this holy destination is swarmed by the devout, Kagame’s fury blazed hotter than ever. The ire of his iron fist struck when over 20,000 believers gathered for a Catholic mass on Assumption Day, August 15.
During a recent address to an eager youth conference, Kagame’s words struck like lightning. He derided the sacred pilgrimage to Kibeho, the same spot where three teenagers claimed to have seen the mother of Christ back in 1981. His words scorched the air: “Horrible,” he declared, seemingly appalled.
“Isn’t prayer meant to uplift us, to chase away the shadows of poverty and guide us toward prosperity?” Kagame’s voice boomed. “No one should bow to poverty. This ends now! If any whispers reach my ears again – if anyone dares to embark on a journey to venerate poverty – mark my words: trucks will roll, chains will clank, and prisons will beckon. Only then shall they see light again, free from the chains of poverty’s spell,” he proclaimed, his own Catholic faith standing firm beside his resolve.
The cryptic catalyst behind Kagame’s explosive declaration remains a riddle, shrouded in the silence of the Catholic Church. No official statement from its hallowed chambers has graced the world yet.
Rewinding to that fateful year of 1981, Vatican’s seal of authentication finally arrived in 2001, forever etching the apparition event in history. Since then, Kibeho’s sacred grounds have grown into a magnet for pilgrims from all corners, each clutching hopes of miracles and healing.
Recent whispers from local sources suggest that even the Catholic Church seeks worldly intervention. A staggering sum of 3.5 billion Rwandan francs (that’s around $3 million) is the price tag they place on expanding Kibeho, amplifying its sanctity even further.
In a country where Christianity forms the pulse of life and where Catholicism is its very heartbeat, Kagame’s fiery proclamation has sent tremors through the faithful. The question remains: will devotion bend to the weight of Kagame’s iron will, or will the pilgrims continue their journey toward a different kind of salvation?