Category : Africa

(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

(NYT Op-ed) Archbp Justin Welby–Our Moral Opportunity on Climate Change

Climate change is the human thumb on the scale, pushing us toward disaster. It is not a distant danger — it is already with us. As we continue to burn fossil fuels, its effects will only grow.

Some years ago I worked in Nigeria, helping to find peaceful solutions to conflicts. Its capital city, Lagos — one of the world’s megacities, with a population estimated at 14 million to 21 million — will most likely experience a sea-level rise of around 35 inches in the next few decades if current warming trends continue.

Even in this best-case scenario, which depends on the global community’s sticking to the Paris climate change agreement, many of the shops I visited and homes I passed during my years in the country will be flooded. The rising waters are already changingways of life and pressuring people to leave their homes. In the coming years, experts predict that millions of peoplein Lagos will be forced to move.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria

(JE) Mark Tooley–What Christ Church’s decision to Remove George Washington’s Plaque really Tells us

Over the last 14 years the Episcopal Church has suffered a nationwide schism since electing an openly homosexual bishop. Some conservative congregations, including several in Northern Virginia, left the denomination to create the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Another church Washington helped govern at the same time as Christ Church was The Falls Church, whose congregation joined ACNA. It lost its historic property in litigation to the Episcopal Church but continues to thrive and grow while meeting in a Catholic high school auditorium. It has even planted several successful new churches.

Christ Church remained in the Episcopal Church and has headed in a more liberal direction. One Christmas Eve sermon I heard got political, as I shared here. And in recent years the church has hosted a labyrinth, advertised by a large banner outside the church to passing commuters. This arguably New Agey fad is popular in some liberal Protestant churches, and I wrote about it here, noting that neither Washington nor Lee, if alive today, were likely to walk the labyrinth.

I mention the political sermon, the labyrinth and support for same-sex marriage because they could all be interpreted as unwelcoming signals to potential worshipers who don’t share Christ Church’s form of Episcopal liberalism. This kind of church invariably attracts a demographic that is nearly all middle and upper class, educated, socially liberal urban white people. Churches that stress their welcome-welcome-welcome message of inclusion over a firm orthodox theological message typically are, whether realizing it or not, actually welcoming some and discouraging others. In my visits to Christ Church I have noticed the well-dressed congregation is not very diverse. Removing the Washington and Lee plaques will not likely expand its demographic.

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Posted in Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes, Zimbabwe

(NYT) Boko Haram strapped suicide bombs to them. Somehow these teenage girls survived.

It was all happening so fast. After being kidnapped by Boko Haram this year, Hadiza was confronted by a fighter in the camp where she was being held hostage. He wanted to “marry” her. She rejected him.

“You’ll regret this,” the fighter told her.

A few days later, she was brought before a Boko Haram leader. He told her she would be going to the happiest place she could imagine. Hadiza thought she was going home. He was talking about heaven.

They came for her at night, she said, grabbing a suicide belt and attaching it to her waist. The fighters then sent her and the 12-year-old girl out on foot, alone, telling them to detonate the bombs at a camp for Nigerian civilians who have fled the violence Boko Haram has inflicted on the region.

“I knew I would die and kill other people, too,” Hadiza recalled. “I didn’t want that.”

Northeastern Nigeria, now in its eighth year of war with Boko Haram, has become a place afraid of its own girls.

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Posted in Nigeria, Terrorism

A Must-not-Miss Radiolab Podcast–Anna in Somalia

Take the time to listen to it all–what an incredible story (Hat tip:EH).

Posted in Books, Prison/Prison Ministry, Somalia

(WCC) Kenya church leaders view dialogue as best way out of political crisis

Church leaders in Kenya are proposing a national dialogue conference to help find ways of the resolving the current political and social crises facing the East African nation.

Apart from discussing the stand-off over fresh presidential elections, it would also help resolve a longstanding nurses and clinical officers’ strike.

On 10 October, the political crisis appeared to deepen after National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga announced that his coalition would boycott the polls set for 26 October.

Odinga had cited the failure by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to institute some reforms he had demanded as an “irreducible minimum” before another election is held. High on the list of demands is the removal of officials in the commission who he believes caused him to lose the 8 August polls. One of the officials is the chief executive Ezra Chiloba.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Help 4 British missionaries kidnapped in Nigerian delta, Archbp Welby urged

The Archbishop of Canterbury was urged yesterday to personally intervene to help secure the release of four British missionaries kidnapped in Nigeria.

The Most Rev Justin Welby has previously negotiated the release of hostages in the Niger Delta where David Donovan, a former GP from Cambridge, his wife, Shirley, and two other volunteers were kidnapped last week.

Authorities fear they have been moved outside the police search area as one of the groups seeking independence for the region pledged to help the government security agencies rescue the missionaries.

Mr and Mrs Donovan, both 57, have run a Christian charity providing medical services in Nigeria for 14 years. The other hostages were named by police as “Alana” and “Tyan”.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Missions, Nigeria, Politics in General

(AI) Some African Anglicans stooges of some wealthy Americans, affirms Idowu-Fearon

The secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council, Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon has reaffirmed remarks given last December to the Church of Ireland Gazette the Anglican Churches in Africa were being manipulated by American conservatives for political ends.

At a 3 Oct 2017 press conference at the primates meeting in Canterbury, Dr. Idowu-Fearon was asked if he stood by his earlier comments. “I have not seen anything to contrary and so I still maintain the statement I made,” he said.

In an interview with The Church of Ireland Gazette, Dr Idowu-Fearon said: “The very strong minority conservatives, not in the UK but in America, they have found a footing amongst some of the leaders in Africa,” he said. “They are the ones that sort of pumped this thing into the leaders, and the leaders decided to make it an African thing. It is not an African thing. There are homo­sexuals everywhere — even in my diocese.”

He further denied that there were tensions between African Christians and Muslims.  “It’s not true. It has not stopped church growth in my part of Nigeria. . . Nobody talks about it.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Africa, Anglican Primates, Partial Primates meeting Canterbury 2017

A Pastoral Letter from the Synod of Anglican Bishops in South Africa – September 2017

A presentation on progress made by the Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality was given by the Revd Dr Vicentia Kgabe. The Chairperson of the Commission is the Bishop of Saldanha Bay, Raphael Hess. The Commission consists of six Commissioners and has invited each Diocese to constitute a Diocesan Liaison Team to facilitate the work of the Commission at diocesan level, with the objective that the voices of all will be heard in a consultative process to hear and discern what every Diocese is saying. The mandate of the Commission is to present to Provincial Synod 2019 a proposal enabling the Church “to minister to those in same-sex unions and the LGBTI Community in the context in which ACSA operates in Southern Africa”. This mandate does not rescind the decision of Provincial Synod 2016: it neither assumes that ministry to members of the LGBTI community will include the blessing of same-sex unions, nor does it exclude that possibility, should that be the mind of Provincial Synod 2019. It also directs the Commission to consider the situation of Dioceses outside South Africa, in which there is no provision in law for same-sex unions. The mandate is in line with the injunction of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and Provincial Synod 2002 to listen to the views of the LGBTI community, and in particular with that part of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 which “calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals.” The Commission asked for prayers for its work and the members of the Commission.

We appeal to members of ACSA and the Communion please to commit these matters to prayer and offer yourselves to God to serve in God’s mission and ministry. We your Bishops will continue to lead as God’s servants and servants of the church, to the best of our ability.

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Posted in South Africa, South Africa

(MIR) Kenya’s Historic Elections and Unknown Future

During the summer of 2017, election season put all eyes on Kenya. Although a decade ago, the unprecedented violence of the 2007 elections that left an estimated 1,400 people dead remains in the memory of the Kenyan people. Given this tragic recollection, apprehension was high going into this election season. The two main rivals, Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the first post-independence leader, Jomo Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, and Raila Odinga, son of Odinga Odinga, a Luo, are no strangers to conflict. Their tribal identities were divided long ago by colonialists and their families are long-standing political rivals furthering divisions among some of the largest tribes in Kenya.

The two politicians went head to head this election cycle and the results shocked the nation. While violence did not erupt amongst the public prior to the release of poll results, an Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) official Chris Msando was discovered tortured and killed a little over a week before the election. Despite this shocking event, the Kenyan people voted peacefully and on time. Kenyatta won 54% of the vote to Odinga’s 44% in a tight race.

However, violence broke out the day after the results were released, leaving 24 dead. Odinga’s team claimed that the online tallying system “lacked integrity” and therefore did not properly count the votes. The death of Chris Msando further compounded a lack of faith in the legitimacy of the election results. Odinga’s team then petitioned the supreme court for a recount. In 2013, Odinga’s team made a similar petition to the court based on claims of voter fraud, which was rejected. This time, however, the court decided that the basis of the petition was legitimate enough to warrant a complete nullification of the election results on September 1st.

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Posted in History, Kenya, Politics in General

(CAJ News) Fragile Nigeria fracturing as ethnic eviction deadline nears

Fears of a coup may have been allayed with the return of President Muhammadu Buhari after a lengthy absence due to ill health but the panic gripping delicate Nigeria has taken a new dimension as an ultimatum issued by the major ethnic group for other tribes to vacate some parts of the country approaches.

Coupled with terrorism by the Islamic militant Boko Haram sect escalating, with over 20 000 civilians killed (unofficial figures suggest the toll is 100 000) and some 2 million displaced, the West African powerhouse has to contend with inter-ethnic relations at their most fractured nation in recent years with the deadline some diehard members of the majority Hausa for the Igbos to leave the northern parts of the country due at the end of this month.

At the centre of the brewing conflict are the Hausa (largely Muslim), are the largest ethnic group with 29 percent of the 190-million population, and the Igbos (predominantly Christians), who are third with 18 percent. The Yoruba are the second largest tribe (21 percent) in Africa’s biggest country by population, and with over 500 tribal groups.
While the government of Buhari (a Hausa), who nonetheless has spent the better part of the tense period in the United Kingdom for health reasons, audios and videos urging the North to attack the Igbos in the region are in circulation on the internet and social media.

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Posted in Nigeria