African countries have been facing various challenges since independence and one of these major dilemmas is defining the relationship between religion and politics. At independence, African countries inherited multiple faiths, political religions that seek to control state formation and structure.
This challenge is evident in the controversies that have trailed the introduction and implementation of sharia law in places like Nigeria and Somalia, the violent reactions to religious differences in Sudan and Central African Republic, the ongoing campaign against islamic extremism in Nigeria, Kenya, Mali, Cameroon and in the North of Africa, the heated debates and fierce opposition to the enactment of legislations and policies that protect the human rights of persons particularly those human rights mechanisms that are deemed by some segments of the religious establishment as violations of the dictates and dogmas of their faiths.
Drawing from my experiences growing up in Nigeria and years of keenly following the use of religion for political ends or the use of politics religious ends in countries across the region, this piece highlights how mixing of religion and politics undermines secularism and the realization of Freedom of Religion and Belief (FORB) and human rights broadly. I propose models, not a model of secularism because the situation of religion and politics in Africa is not homogenous and often differs from country to country, sometimes within countries to warrant recommending just a model of secularism that may apply to over 52 countries in the region. Read more via IEET