Category : Africa

(ACNS) Anglican Bishop of Boga, Mugenyi William Bahemuka, predicts a Congolese genocide

In the past month, three new military bases have been established by the United Nations’ peace-keeping force in the democratic Republic of Congo – MONUSCO – in the Djugu territory of Ituri province, but it has so-far failed to stem the increasing tide of violence. Last week, 33 people were killed in an attack on the village of Maze. The Bishop of Bogo, Mugenyi William Bahemuka, has said that it is “difficult to confirm” that the recent violence is an extension of ethnic and tribal conflicts. “Is it a planned insurgency that will turn out to be either a civil war or a genocide?” he asked. “Both are situations no one would like to experience. Once again we need prayer and advocacy for peace.”

Bishop William said: “It is becoming difficult to understand the main reason of the killings in Djugu. The situation appears to be beyond control as time goes on. The Provincial and National governments keep assuring people that that situation will come to an end soon. Community leaders and politicians from the two communities claim to dissociate an ethnic conflict on what is happening in Djugu.

“On the night of Thursday to Friday, the village of Maze and few surrounding villages were attacked – and this is happening after the deployment of police, the army and United Nations’ peace-keeping forces in the area. . . Who is behind all this? No answer is found yet.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Africa, Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo, Theology, Violence

(Vanguard) Nowhere to live and worship because of Boko Haram —Anglican Bishop Emmanuel Morris

Borno State is obviously challenged by insecurity. How do you assess the situation?

I came into the state last year at a time when there was a relative peace, and the peace has continued to improve.

Which areas do you think the state government needs to improve in order to impact positively on the lives of the people, especially the vulnerable groups?

Let everybody work for peace; let us understand that something has gone wrong; we need to stop shifting blames. Let us identify where the problem lies and solve it. And to the insurgents, we must appeal to them to lay down their arms because killing and destruction of properties is not the ideal thing; they must join us in the path of peace. They are our brothers and sisters. I also appeal to people who might have been hurt in the course of this insurgency to forgive, let us put behind what has happened and let us forge ahead. Without forgiveness, we can never progress. When we talk about peace, we are not talking about religion. In Islam they say ‘Asallamalaikum’. In Christianity we say ‘Peace be unto you’. What does that suggest to us? And in Judaism they say ‘Shalom’ which is peace; so peace is a concept of life and not something which is limited to religion. Even as a Muslim, if you say ‘Assalamalaikum’, it is not only to your fellow Muslims; it is to anybody you see around you that such person should have peace, meaning you are praying for that person to have peace and you want him to exist. So in these religions, peace is very important, and, honesty, I must tell you that I was really impressed when I came to Borno and I saw Muslims and Christians going to the same polling stations, recreation centres, markets; we use the same highways, weeat food in the same restaurants, we use the same hotels, banks, we do almost everything together. And so, how can you wake up and tell me that Borno is not peaceful?

This state was a peaceful state until 2009 or thereabouts when the issue of Boko Haram came up; so let us identify that something has gone wrong and let us address the problem irrespective of religion, ethnic or political inclination. When you go into history, the first three places of worship that were burnt were churches. And the last three places that were burnt were mosques. This insurgency crisis affected both Muslims and Christians. It is something that has come to disorganize us, and we should understand that and try to resolve it collectively.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of Nigeria, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

My favorite story of the week–Wilmot Collins Is Montana’s First African-American Mayor from NBC

Watch it all– America at its best, great stuff.

Posted in City Government, Liberia

(TLC Covenant) David Goodhew–Lambeth 2020 and African Anglicanism

There is much Anglican dynamism outside of Africa. But as we look towards Lambeth 2020, Anglicans (especially in the Global North) need to recognise that African Anglicans make up the majority of the Communion. And African Anglicanism is incredibly dynamic, as a recent paper by the Kenyan Professor Joseph Galgalo showed.

In addition, observers in the Global North need urgently to take account of the dramatic changes that have happened within African Anglicanism. South African Anglicanism has markedly shrunk as a proportion of African Anglicanism whilst other centres have grown, sometimes in highly surprising places.

To say this does not mean that African Anglicans should dictate to the rest of the Communion what Anglicanism is. But it does mean we should be profoundly concerned to ensure that African Anglicans are heard. Will Lambeth 2020 be a rerun of Lambeth 2008, which large numbers of African bishops did not attend, and where indaba rhetoric was a well-intentioned but ultimately flawed appropriation of the least vigorous part of contemporary African Anglicanism?

If Lambeth 2020 is to be different from Lambeth 2008, the Global North needs to guard vigilantly against the Spong reflex, of looking down upon whatever is disliked theologically. Especially in the Global North, we need to remove the plank of our colonial mindset from our eyes.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Africa, Globalization

(ACNS) Global prayer urged as tribal violence continues to claim lives in Congo

Anglicans around the world are being asked to pray for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo as tribal violence continues to claim lives in the Ituri Province in the north-eastern area of the country. The Ituri city of Bunia is home to one of the largest UN peacekeeping forces in Africa as international troops seek to intercede between the warring Lendu and Hema peoples. At the weekend, 26 people were killed when a Hema village 31 miles (50 km) north of Bunia was attacked by Lendu tribes people. The Revd Bisoke Balikenga, national youth co-ordinator of Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo – the Anglican Church of Congo – is urging Anglicans to pray for the country.

In 2016, the church established a peace centre in Bunia as part of its care for women and girls who have been raped by combatants. Bisoke, who is helping to run the centre, responded to the weekend’s violence by asking people to pray. He said that 200 houses in the Hema village were burned before residents were killed by machete, creating “a lot of trauma among the Hema.”

He said that some shops and petrol stations in Bunia had been closed and that there are “some young people who like to make chaos”. The state governor is leading a delegation to the affected area to see what is happening. “Please pray for him in order he can bring peace there in that place,” Bisoke said.

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Posted in Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo, Violence

(CH) Festus Iyorah–Why are young Nigerians abandoning the R Catholic Church for Pentecostalism?

Susan Onyedika was born 22 years ago into a Catholic family in Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling commercial city. When she was a child, she took part in the Block Rosary Crusade (where an image of the Virgin Mary visits family homes), as well as catechism classes in her parish. But as she matured into a teenager she started having doubts about the faith she had practised from childhood. In her secondary school, she met Pentecostal Christians and began to compare their beliefs with those of Catholics.

“I needed more spiritually,” she tells me. “I needed to understand the Scriptures. They [the Catholic Church] don’t break down the Bible for you. They don’t pray the way most Pentecostals pray.

“I also had issues with praying through Mary because I feel that you can reach God directly, you can talk to him directly. You don’t have to go through someone to intercede for you.”

Susan joined her secondary school fellowship without telling her parents or siblings. “They didn’t know I joined the Pentecostals,” she remembers. “They were not aware. Just my close friends were.”

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Posted in Africa, Nigeria, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(NYT) Dangerously Low on Water, Cape Town Now Faces ‘Day Zero’

It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster. “Day Zero” is coming to Cape Town this April. Everyone, be warned.

The government cautions that the Day Zero threat will surpass anything a major city has faced since World War II or the Sept. 11 attacks. Talks are underway with South Africa’s police because “normal policing will be entirely inadequate.” Residents, their nerves increasingly frayed, speak in whispers of impending chaos.

The reason for the alarm is simple: The city’s water supply is dangerously close to running dry.

If water levels keep falling, Cape Town will declare Day Zero in less than three months. Taps in homes and businesses will be turned off until the rains come. The city’s four million residents will have to line up for water rations at 200 collection points. The city is bracing for the impact on public health and social order.

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Posted in Anthropology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, South Africa, Theology

(NYT) In Kenya, and Across Africa, an Unexpected Epidemic: Obesity

In Africa, the world’s poorest continent, malnutrition is stubbornly widespread and millions of people are desperately hungry, with famine conditions looming in some war-torn countries.

But in many places, growing economies have led to growing waistlines. Obesity rates in sub-Saharan Africa are shooting up faster than in just about anywhere else in the world, causing a public health crisis that is catching Africa, and the world, by surprise.

In Burkina Faso, the prevalence of adult obesity in the past 36 years has jumped nearly 1,400 percent. In Ghana, Togo, Ethiopia and Benin, it has increased by more than 500 percent. Eight of the 20 nations in the world with the fastest-rising rates of adult obesity are in Africa, according to a recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

It is part of a seismic shift in Africa as rapid economic growth transforms every aspect of life, including the very shape of its people.

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Posted in Africa, Health & Medicine, Kenya

(CEN) Zambian churches in call for peace and justice amid violence

The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), have said that despite the public pronouncements that Zambia is a peaceful country, ‘the reality on the ground is different due to many acts of injustice, a growing culture of corruption, incidences of violence and utterances out of deep-seated hatred’.

They have appealed to the region’s political leaders ‘to stop insulting each other or anyone who does not agree with their political opinion’ and to ‘start genuinely to respect fellow political players as legitimate opponents with their constitutional right to hold their political opinion and to propagate it among the general public’.

“It demands that all political party leaders declare and enforce zero tolerance for political violence and to bring culprits to book by handing them over to law enforcement institutions,” they said.

“It means that all political leaders must give the planned for ‘national dialogue’ a chance to succeed by committing themselves to dialogue without preconditions with a view to levelling the playing field.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence, Zambia

Tanzanian children with albinism, hunted for their body parts, receive prosthetic limbs and a new lease on life

Baraka and Mwigulu are bunkmates, living in hiding in Tanzania, where they are hunted simply because of how they look.

They weren’t born brothers, but their shared experiences as children with albinism in rural Africa have made them just that.

Albinism is a disorder marked by an absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Tanzania has one of the highest albinism rates in the world, and people with albinism are targeted in heinous attacks motivated by superstition. They are thought to be ghosts or haunted beings.

Mwigulu, now 14, was just 10 years old and living in a rural village when his arm was brutally cut off.

Read it all (or watch the video).

Posted in Children, Health & Medicine, Tanzania

(WSJ) In Somalia, an Overlooked Extremist Hotbed Simmers

Maimed in the war between Somalia’s government and al Qaeda’s affiliate al-Shabaab, the patients of De Martino Hospital prefer not to talk about what happened to them.

“Everybody’s afraid,” the hospital’s director, Abdi Ibrahim Jiya, said as he walked through a ward filled with recent arrivals. “If you complain and are for the government, you’re afraid of the Shabaab. And if you complain and are for the Shabaab, you’re afraid of the government.”

Such is the balance of fear in Somalia’s capital, a bustling city of three million people where, despite years of international military efforts to stamp out Islamic extremists, security remains elusive and government authority fleeting. In October, Mogadishu was hit by Africa’s deadliest terrorist attack—a truck bombing that killed more than 500 people.

Outside Mogadishu, things are worse. Al-Shabaab controls roughly 30% of the country’s territory, Somali government officials estimate. Alongside Taliban-held areas of Afghanistan, that is the world’s largest swath of real estate that remains under jihadist sway since the recent demise of Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

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Posted in Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Somalia, Terrorism, Violence

Zambian Anglican Church denounces Gender Based Violence

The Anglican Church has encouraged its members to seriously speak against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), corruption and political oppression.

Zambia Anglican Bishop and Primate of the Council of Anglican Province in Africa (CAPA), Albert Chama said this at the just-ended two-day Anglican 2017 high-profile Provincial Synod held in Gaborone.

The Central Africa Province Synod consists of Anglican bishops from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe and convenes every three years. The main aim of the meeting is to deliberate on diocesan matters in the region.

“Our continent of Africa has been gripped with fear, deaths, ethnic divisions and many more evils one can think of.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Central Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women, Zambia

(BBC) Archbishop of York ends decade of protest over Mugabe

The Archbishop of York has put on a dog collar for the first time in almost 10 years, ending his symbolic protest over Robert Mugabe’s leadership of Zimbabwe.

In December 2007, Dr John Sentamu cut up his dog collar live on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, promising not to wear one until Mr Mugabe left office.

He said Zimbabwe’s leader had “taken people’s identity” and “cut it to pieces”, prompting him to do the same.

On Sunday, he returned to the Marr Show and reinstated his collar as promised.

Mr Mugabe left office dramatically on Tuesday after 37 years of authoritarian rule.

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Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Zimbabwe

(ACNS) Church of Uganda in race to end gender-based violence

The Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, will be the lead runner in a race designed to raise awareness of gender-based violence (GBV) next month. Archbishop Stanley will take part in the Gender Justice Run as part of the 16-Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The international 16-Days of Activism campaign begins tomorrow (Saturday 25 November) and runs through to Human Rights Day on 10 December.

The run, at Mengo Senior School in Kampala, begins at 6.00 am EAT (3.00 am GMT) on Saturday 2 December; and follows the successful Run to End FGM mini-Marathon, which was held in Sebei on 16 September this year.

The Run to End FGM was established by the Diocese of Sebei as its response to the Church of Uganda’s campaign against female genital mutilation, which is sometimes called female circumcision (FGM/C). The Church’s campaign began in 2015 in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Uganda’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development, and district teams.

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Posted in Church of Uganda, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality, Sports, Uganda, Violence

(Church Times) Churches hope to see the end of Mugabe’s rule

Churches in Zimbabwe have spoken with hope about “the birth of a new nation”, after military action on Wednesday appeared to curtail the rein of President Robert Mugabe.

In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the Zimbabwean Council of Churches said: “We see the current situation not just as a crisis in which we are helpless. We see the current arrangement as an opportunity for the birth of a new nation. Our God created everything out of chaos, and we believe something new could emerge out of our situation.”

In the hours that followed the military intervention, the general secretary of the Zimbabwean Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Kenneth Mtata, called on all political and civil actors to rebuild a broken society.

Dr Mtata, a Lutheran pastor, said from Harare on Wednesday: “The current situation was inevitable. We had reached a point of no return. Our politics of attrition and toxic public engagement has had its logical conclusion.

“Our hope is that we can put back the train on the rails of democracy and citizenship engagement. We hope the current situation is only a transition to something that will be participatory and just.”

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Zimbabwe