The role of churches in rebuilding community relations in south Kivu between 1996 and 2006.
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The purpose of this study is to predict and evaluate whether the participation of the churches in the South Kivu region during the period 1996-2006 in rebuilding broken intercommunity relations and addressing problems of conflict has made any tangible contribution to final outcomes of the political crisis that led to the elections in the DRC in 2006 elections. The study submits the collected data composed of religious, archival documents drawn from the church participation in armed-conflict problem resolution, religious essays and interview response data to careful analysis in order to distil an appropriate practical theological framework methodology for the investigation. A qualitative approach was used in collecting data because the practical theological methodology applied by previous studies in this field endorses this approach as the most appropriate methodology for this type of research study. In its application of the practical theological framework, the study adopted a collaborative approach as opposed to participation involving only churches. The following findings and conclusions have emerged from the analysis of the data collected for the five subtopics - regional politics, social responsibility, peace and reconciliation, insecurity, and cultural transformation - which constitute Chapter Five: Findings and Conclusion. 1. Regional politics The churches' response to the political bungling that characterised the period 1996-2006 was initially confined to verbal criticism devoid of concrete efforts which finally matured into practical theological implementation measures that addressed the intercommunity relations rebuilding and reconstruction of collapsed socio-economic and political structures 2. Social responsibility The churches' successful collaboration with local and human rights international bodies led to resolution of many conflict problems and the provision of many social services for the victims of the conflicts. 3. Peace and reconciliation The study reveals that the churches' efforts towards peace and reconciliation through various church functions in disseminating their moral messages proved very effective in addressing problems and encouraging peace between conflicting political platfonns. 4. Insecurity Church organisations, particularly the Catholic Church, cooperated with the Security Council to enhance security measures in the areas affected by the anned conflicts and the churches became places of refuge for internally displaced persons, where the traumatized received spiritual support. The churches' messages of peace influenced some soldiers to renounce anned violence and to become re-integrated into civilian life. 5. Cultural transfonnation. The church's messages on morality and peace were instrumental in shaping the cultural direction of the inhabitants of South Kivu and succeeded in creating the culture of nonviolent resistance advocated by Ghandi. The study reveals that the churches' efforts towards peace and reconciliation through various church functions in disseminating their moral messages proved very effective in addressing problems and encouraging peace between conflicting political platfonns. resistance advocated by Ghandi.