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Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.


By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe –  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA

Oluyole2@yahoo.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Caring for the Orphans.


Janet Thompson

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1:27 NLT).

A baby—precious, fragile, helpless, dependent, sweet, needy, and full of potential—without a family is destitute, institutionalized, alone…heartbreaking.

Any child at any age without a home, without a family, without love is heartbreaking.

James 1:27 tells the church and every Christian that it isn’t enough to feel sad or compassionate about an orphan. The very foundation of our faith says we will take care of them. I have to think that when God uses the term “caring for orphans,” he means more than putting them in orphanages and the foster care system—he means they are the personal responsibility of the church.

National Adoption Awareness Month

November has been designated National Adoption Awareness Month, and specifically this year, November 23 is National Adoption Day. Eight years ago, my family became a “forever family” to my precious grandson, Brandon, and he became legally ours in a courtroom on National Adoption Day. We can’t imagine our family without Brandon, and I try not to focus on what his life would have been like had his teenage mother not put him up for adoption—or even worse—had she availed herself to a morning after pill or aborted her baby or left him on a doorstep. I’m still in awe and wonder that God bestowed such a precious gift to our family— baby Brandon.

God’s Plan A

Today 1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility, but with advances in infertility treatment, adoption is not always considered a viable option, or maybe considered as a Plan B when all else fails. My daughter Kim and her husband Toby, Brandon’s “forever parents,” struggled for years with infertility and, then, felt God calling them to a “ministry of adoption.” Many of you may have felt that same call to adopt a child into your family and have experienced the joys and blessings of “caring for the orphans.” It was never meant to be Plan B, it’s always been God’s Plan A. But my daughter stresses that a couple shouldn’t consider adoption until they can look at it as God’s plan for them becoming a family or adding to their family.

Adoption blesses the adopted family, the adopted child, and the birth mom.

God’s Plan for Orphans Is Not Just for the Infertile

In the Bible, God talked openly, and often, about orphans and the responsibility of the church to take care of them. Many churches today focus on caring for other nation’s orphans, which is admirable. But what about the orphans in their own communities and in the overflowing foster care system?

It is an awesome thing to have your family sponsor a child through Compassion International or one of the other Christian organizations that help indigent children in foreign countries, but it’s also our calling to do something up close and personal for a child without a family in our country.

One of my son-in-laws regularly visited the local county orphanage to play with the children. Sadly, the foster care programs today are overflowing with children who need a loving, Christian home and parents. What is your church doing to help? What are you doing? What is your family doing?

Facts from The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Website

In the U.S. 400,540 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19

Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost one parent. There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development. These children are at risk for disease, malnutrition, and death. Source: UNICEF and Childinfo

According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. families adopted more than 9,000 children in 2011. Last year, Americans adopted the highest number of children from China followed by Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine. Source: United States State Department 

No child under three years of age should be placed in institutional care without a parent or primary caregiver. This is based on results from 32 European countries, including nine in-depth country studies, which considered the “risk of harm in terms of attachment disorder, developmental delay and neural atrophy in the developing brain.” Source: Mapping the Number and Characteristics of Children Under Three in Institutions Across Europe at Risk of Harm: Executive Summary 

Children raised in orphanages have an IQ 20 points lower than their peers in foster care, according to a meta-analysis of 75 studies (more than 3,800 children in 19 countries). This shows the need for children to be raised in families, not in institutions. Source: IQ of Children Growing Up in Children’s Homes A Meta-Analysis on IQ Delays in Orphanages 

Each year, over 27,000 youth “age out” of foster care without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. This number has steadily risen over the past decade. Nearly 40% had been homeless or couch surfed, nearly 60% of young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48% were employed. 75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs. 50% of all youth who aged out were involved in substance use and 17% of the females were pregnant. Source: Fostering Connections

Nearly 25% of youth aging out did not have a high school diploma or GED, and a mere 6% had finished a two- or four-year degree after aging out of foster care. One study shows 70% of all youth in foster care have the desire to attend college. Source: Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth  

As of 2011, nearly 60,000 children in foster care in the U.S. are placed in institutions or group homes, not in traditional foster homes. Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19 

States spent a mere 1.2-1.3% of available federal funds on parent recruitment and training services even though 22% of children in foster care had adoption as their goal. Source:Adoption Advocate No. 6: Parent Recruitment and Training: A Crucial, Neglected Child

Over three years is the average length of time a child waits to be adopted in foster care. Roughly 55% of these children have had three or more placements. An earlier study found that 33% of children had changed elementary schools five or more times, losing relationships and falling behind educationally. Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19

What is Our Responsibility as a Church?

As Christians, we should understand the concept of adoption since we’re all adopted into the family of God.

As you give thanks around your tables this Thanksgiving for the blessings and the families God has given you, who do you need to reach out to who longs for a family of their own— the orphans, the empty-arms parents, the pregnant women trying to decide what to do with her baby?

Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans
 (Isaiah 1:17 NLT).

Janet Thompson is an award-winning author and speaker, and the author of Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey in which Janet and her daughter, Kim Mancini, share the story of Janet’s grandson Brandon’s adoption.

Please visit Janet at: 
www.womantowomanmentoring.com 
www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker 
http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/
www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet
https://twitter.com/AHWministries

Publication date: November 18, 2013

Home » News & Reports » News News and Reports Racist Chants Mar Moscow Game / Sierra Leone Locks Up The Press / Ghanaians Told To Work Hard Or Pack Up.


By Global Information Network

Oct. 29 (GIN) – African soccer stars came under a hail of racist chanting at a recent Champions League match by Russians in Moscow last week.

The incident highlighted the failure of official anti-racism efforts, particularly this week’s “Football (soccer) Against Racism in Europe Action Week” organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Jeers from the Moscow stadium upset Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure. “We are all humans,” he said. “It is not a nice feeling to go and play a football match – to bring joy to the people – and to be called a monkey or to hear monkey noises… That’s what disappoints me so much.”

Toure, of Manchester City of the UK, was wearing an armband that read ‘no to racism.’ He demanded action from the European sports body which is caught between the African complaints and denials from the Russians of any wrongdoing. “We found no racist insults from the fans,” said Evgeny Giner of the Russian CSKA team. “On many occasions, especially during attacks on our goal, fans booed and whistled to put pressure on rival players — but regardless of their race… Granted, in the championship of Russia, there were times when bananas flew onto the field, which is unacceptable.”

“Our fans behave decently and are sympathetic to the request of the club to have much fewer imposed fines… Why the Ivorian player took it as being directed at him is not clear.”

Under regulations put in place at the start of the season, if CSKA’s supporters are found guilty of racist behavior, they could face partial closure of their grounds as the club’s first offence. A second offence leads to a full stadium closure and a fine.

It remains to be seen whether UEFA will also review how Ovidiu Hategan, the Romanian referee, handled the incident. Touré complained to Hategan during the game that he was racially abused and, under the new regulations, the official should have stopped the game. Hategan, however, allowed the game to carry on.

In a separate development, this week Touré was named Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N.’s Environmental Program. He pledged to combat the illegal ivory trade that sees thousands of African elephants slaughtered each year.

Sierra Leone Locks Up The Press

Oct. 29 (GIN) – The detention of two journalists for writing articles critical of Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has been denounced by the human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

The UK group urged the government to drop all charges against the writers for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression.

“High-level government officials must be prepared to face public criticism about how they carry out their office,” said Amnesty’s Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus: To refuse a space for such criticism and public accountability is a violation of the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Sierra Leonean and international law.”

The two journalists, Jonathan Leigh, who edits the Independent Observer, and a member of his staff, Bai Bai Sesay, detained on Oct. 18, were charged with 26 counts of seditious libel, denied bail and jailed.

Leigh’s editorial, about supposed friction between Koroma and his vice-president, Sam Sumana, said Koroma “is regarded as an elephant, but he behaves like a rat and should be treated like one.”

Pressure against media stepped up this week with the arrest of some eleven media practitioners by the Criminal Investigations Department.

Armed police officers began raiding newspaper offices in the name of searching for the office that prints the Independent, observed Abdul Fonti of the New People Newspaper.

Under the Public Order Act of 1965, anyone who prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any “seditious” publication can be found guilty of a criminal offence and serve up to a three-year prison sentence.

But the U.N. Rights Committee asserts that “the mere fact that forms of expression are considered to be insulting to a public figure is not sufficient to justify the imposition of penalties… All public figures, including those exercising the highest political authority such as heads of state and government, are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition.”

Ghanaians Told To Work Hard Or Pack Up

Oct. 29 (GIN) – A ex-military officer’s off-hand remark that striking workers strapped by rising electric and water bills should pack their bags and leave the country has stirred up a hornet’s nest among the Ghanaian diaspora.

Retired Brigadier-General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah was rebuked for telling Ghanaians to take a hike if they could not sacrifice in difficult times.

“Go to work, or get out,” was the General’s statement carried by the state-owned Ghanaian Times.

This prompted the Association of Concerned Ghanaians in Europe (ACGIE) to shoot off a response: “We find Gen. Nunno-Mensah’s ‘deportation orders’ rather strange, absurd and infantile to say the least.
ACGIE finds such unguided statements appalling and unacceptable.”

The letter went on: “Clearly, if anybody has cause to be angry, it should be the Ghanaian worker whose life has been made miserable as a result of the hikes in utility prices, increased petroleum prices, a crumbling health system, deteriorating infrastructure coupled with massive corruption, ineptitude and mismanagement.”

“It was not well thought of, it was quite irritating,” said union leader Kofi Asamoah of the General’s remark.

Rate increases in effect this month include a 78.9% hike in electricity and a 52% hike in water tariffs. Petrol prices are down 4 percent, diesel by 2 percent but kerosene is up 24 percent.

Wind Farms In Ethiopia Create Few Jobs

Oct. 29 (GIN) – In the latest development of energy from “renewables” such as solar and wind, the Ashegoda Wind Farm was launched Oct. 26 in Tigray state, Ethiopia. It follows a plan to create a “climate resilient’ economy by 2025.

Africa’s second most populous country has been plagued by frequent blackouts. The new energy capacity supplements hydropower from the 6,000 MW Grand Renaissance Dam now under construction on the Nile.

Wind power potential at Ashegoda is believed to be Africa’s third-highest behind Egypt and Morocco.

The Ethiopian government covered 9 percent of the $290 million pricetag. Ashegoda Wind Farm was built by French firm Vergnet SA with concessional loans from BNP Paribas and the French Development Agency.

The wind farm consists of 84 turbines towering above an arid region where villagers herd cattle and ride donkey-drawn carts as they have for generations.

Media reports, however, noted that about 700 farmers had lost some or all their land to make way for the farm’s turbines. They were given financial compensation but some complained the money was too little.

Last week, Ethiopia signed a preliminary agreement with a US-Icelandic firm for a $4 billion private sector investment intended to tap its vast geothermal power resources and produce steam.

The developments have not, however, yielded the employment opportunities so desperately needed by the population. In the face of a skyrocketing number of émigrés, the government this week issued a ban on Ethiopian citizens travelling abroad to look for work.

The foreign ministry said the decision was meant to “safeguard the well-being of citizens,” who were dying or facing physical and psychological trauma because of illegal human trafficking.

Critics condemned the ban as “myopic at best and stone-age governance at worst.” Opposition leader Temesgen Zewdie wrote: “Any sensible government would define the alleged problem and seek solutions without subjecting innocent people to lose their Constitutional and Universal Rights to travel to their places of choice. This type of draconian government decision can only happen in a one-party totalitarian state.”

The travel ban will remain in place until a “lasting solution” is found.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Holy Spirit Delivers Salvation, Healing Power at Ethiopian Crusade.


 

Chris Franz
Chris Franz says the Lord did great things at a recent crusade in Waliso, Ethiopia, which drew 20,000 people.

A thin cloud of smog covered the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On almost all the roads, traffic had come to a virtual standstill, and each driver seemed to create his own traffic rules that actually worked.

While we were stuck in traffic, a young Muslim beggar approached my window. I grabbed a shiny new coin and gave it to him. My heart was filled with deep compassion for this young man. Deeply touched, I looked at him and said, “Jesus loves you!” What happened next left me speechless. He took the coin, pelted it back at me through my window and ran away in anger. The name of Jesus had provoked something deep within him.

In Acts 4:18-20 it says, “Then they … commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’ ” (NIV).

There will always be influences and people that want to silence us as Christians. Many simply do not want to hear that wonderful name: Jesus. But we have the glorious obligation to carry on despite rejections, threats and persecution. It is our honor to glorify Jesus’s wonderful name in our generation. If we do this, He will stand to us no matter what. God proved it again during our crusade in Waliso, Ethiopia.

I stood on the platform that first crusade night and saw crowds of people before me who urgently needed a miracle from God. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Call someone with an injured knee up on the stage!” I was obedient, but when I saw an elderly man break down at foot of the stairs, unable to come to the platform without assistance, I realized that I was not just dealing with a painful knee, but with a man unable to climb stairs at all. It dawned on me that if the Lord did not intervene, this could turn out to be very humbling for me.

What causes men to take giant steps in faith? In Acts 3, Peter and John were going up to the temple to pray. There at the gate they came across a beggar who was lame from birth. Something grabbed Peter’s heart. He could not pass this needy man. After commanding him to walk in the name of Jesus, he put his reputation on the line by taking the lame by his hand and pulling him up. At that very moment, the power of God flowed through him and the lame man was totally healed! What makes people take risks for God?

Peter had prepared himself in the prayer chamber (upper room). But he was also willing to take a risk in public. I am convinced that there are two requirements for Christians to witness God’s powerful miracles. First, God shares His heart with you when you are alone in His presence. There you learn to recognize His wonderful voice. Then, when you are in the public eye, you will be willing to risk looking like a fool if necessary. The desire to please God will be so much greater than any desire to be accepted by men.

The man in Waliso who had broken down at the foot of the stairs stood so frail, looking at me with great expectation. Hundreds more were watching from the crowd. I laid my hands on him and prayed a simple prayer. As I opened my eyes, I noticed no improvement whatsoever. Then suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke again; “Take him by his hand and walk!” Immediately, I took him by his hand and said, “Come on, let’s walk.” With the first step, the power of God came upon him and he was completely healed! He was jumping up and down and ran across the stage. We all looked on in amazement. The next day he ran up the stairs to the platform to give his testimony again. God is so willing to do so much more in our generation—if we will just let Him!

The Lord did great things in Waliso. With great joy, people gave testimonies that they were healed of epilepsy and diabetes. Blind eyes were able to see again! We saw a woman’s tumor on her neck disappear before our very eyes. Demons fled with loud screams and the people were set free!

One man, who had been plagued with hemorrhoids for more than 20 years, told us that an infected part of his intestines just fell off his body. He was completely healed! Multitudes were baptized in the Holy Spirit. More than 20,000 people came to the five-day crusade, and thousands accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. There was a mighty move of the Holy Spirit in Waliso, Ethiopia!

I would like to sincerely thank all those who have made this crusade possible!

May the Lord richly bless and reward you!

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

CHRIS FRANZ

Chris Franz founded Cita (standing for “Christ is the answer”) Ministries in 1998. He has since led nearly 70 crusades in Africa.

Africa News In Brief: Economic Stagnation For Many Africans, While Billionaires Thrive.


By Global Information Network (GIN)

Oct. 8 (GIN) – Africa has 55 billionaires at a time when the number of Africans living in extreme poverty has risen over the past three decades, according to the World Bank, from 205 million to 414 million.

Three of the billionaires are women – the mother of Kenya’s president, a daughter of Angola’s president and a Nigerian oil tycoon and fashion designer. The richest man is Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, with a fortune of $20 billion, according to the Nigeria-based Ventures financial magazine.

The number – 55 – is more than three times the figure in the U.S. magazine Forbes last year. Dozens more billionaires were identified by using “on-the-ground knowledge” to overcome hurdles that may have “hampered” other researchers, Ventures said.

The magazine estimated the billionaires’ combined fortunes at $143.88 billion, an average of a $2.6 billion per person.

Of the 55, 20 are Nigerian, nine are South African and eight are Egyptian, Ventures said.

A report earlier this month by research group Afrobarometer suggested that economic growth in Africa was primarily benefiting a small elite.

Afrobarometer, a research partnership of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, the Ghana Center for Democratic Development and the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, measures public attitudes on economic, political and social matters in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Afrobarometer, one in five Africans still suffer from frequent shortages of food, water, medical care and cash, or what researchers refer to as “lived poverty”.

The accumulation of wealth has been helped by the impunity long enjoyed by public officials. However in Liberia, an anti-corruption commission is pursuing top officials who may have illegally benefited.

Under investigation is a former deputy at the Ministry of Public Works who deposited US $305,590.00 into three separate bank accounts outside of his official salary of L$14,137.50.One official declared more than $300,000 in the bank despite earning a monthly salary of just $2,500. A police official earning $704 per month could not explain a one-time deposit of $33,855.

Last week, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said that with more than a billion people in the world living on less than $1.25 per day, extreme poverty was “the defining moral issue of our time.”

Speaking at George Washington University, he said: “Share prosperity with the bottom 40 percent, and share it with future generations. We have an opportunity to bend the arc of history and commit ourselves to do something that other generations have only dreamed of.” His speech can be heard at www.zeropoverty2030.org 
Desmond Tutu Turns 82, Keeps Hope Alive For Peace

Oct. 8 (GIN) – Outspoken peace advocate, former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, marked his 82 birthday Monday amidst well-wishers including former U.N. chief Kofi Annan who delivered the third annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture at the University of the Western Cape.

Annan called on Africans to embrace all people regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or economic status. He urged religious leaders to speak up on these issues.

“There is a crucial role here for Africa’s religious leaders in promoting tolerance, understanding of our common humanity.  We need them at every opportunity to denounce violence, discrimination, increments on the grounds of gender and sexuality perhaps above all, they must welcome the freedoms of all of these not just their own,” said Annan.

Tutu referred to the strife in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo as he introduced the former UN secretary general. “Can you imagine what it must be like for God… looking down (and) saying those are my children in Syria, those using chemical weapons are my children, those dying are my children.”

Bandile Masuku, spokesman for the ANC’s Youth League said in a statement: “We are happy for our grandfather who has always stood in defense of human rights and equality for all. We wish him a happy birthday full of happiness and joy”. Tutu, an active user of social media, disseminates his messages through Twitter, Huffington Post, and via livestream audio.

Clement Mokone, among the many online well-wishers, wrote: “Here is a man I can peacefully eat a piece of chicken, gravy and pap with and be happy. Happy birth day Des. May God keep more for the sake of our country!! We love You.

In Political Shuffle, New President Is Named In Ethiopia

Oct. 8 (GIN) – Former diplomat Mulatu Teshome was sworn in this week for a six-year term as president – a largely symbolic and ceremonial post.

Real power rests in the hands of the Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.

Mulatu, a 57-year-old economist, was Ethiopia’s ambassador to Turkey until his appointment. He replaces 88-year old Girma Wolde-Giorgis, who served from 2001 until now. It was widely reported last year that the heavy-set Girma was dead of a heart attack and acute diabetes. However in September 2013, he was quoted in the media wishing the country a happy New Year and pardoning 458 inmates in a New Year amnesty.

“I feel honored to be the fourth president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,” Mulatu said after taking the oath of office. Mulatu, often referred to by his first name, has also served as ambassador to China and Japan and was Ethiopia’s minister of agriculture.

Meanwhile, news of the tragic deaths at sea of close to 300 mostly Eritrean, Somali and some Ethiopian refugees near Lampedusa, Italy, has shaken people of the Horn of Africa and in the Diaspora. Some 500 refugees were attempting to make the sea crossing when the boat capsized.

The incident has put the European Union’s refugee policy under fire. Some rights groups say there’s no way refugees can legally enter the bloc.

Sheila B. Keetharuth, the U.N. special rapporteur on Eritrea, said: “The alarming human rights situation in Eritrea is triggering a constant stream of refugees to neighboring countries and far beyond. People continue to flee despite the extreme dangers along escape routes.”

An online petition by the Eritrean diasporic community calls on the government to bring the bodies back from Italy for burial in Eritrea.

It reads in part: “Every Eritrean death has a story, every victim has a mother, a sister, a father, brother or wife mourning. Let these families in grief know that we all care and suffer with them as a nation. This tragedy should be faced together as a people.”

Organizers are hoping for 5,000 signatures. The petition can be found at www.avaaz.org w/pix of Pres. M. Teshome

Surprise U.S. Raids To Seize Terror Suspects Worry Experts

Oct. 8 (GIN) – After two surprise U.S. raids, one into Somalia and one into Libya to capture suspected terrorists, the Libyan government is demanding an explanation of the unannounced manoeuvre.

In the Libyan operation, U.S. special forces seized Nazih al-Ragye, a.k.a Abu Anas al-Liby – a Libyan who is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians. He is reportedly being held on a U.S. ship for questioning.

Speaking to reporters, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said cautiously: “Our relationship with the USA is important, and we care about that, but we care too about our citizens, which is our duty.” Libyans who commit crimes should be tried at home, he said.

Despite the high praise for U.S. Navy SEALS by Secretary of State John Kerry, experts see the prospect of “blowback” from the two weekend raids.

In the Somalia operation, US Navy commandos from SEAL Team Six attempting to kidnap the terror suspect, found his beachside villa well defended. A firefight ensued and the SEALS were repulsed.

Militant groups have responded furiously, using social media to call for revenge assaults on strategic targets including gas pipelines and ships. They have also called for the kidnappings of Americans in the capital.

Anticipating such threats, the U.S. will move about 200 Marines to a U.S. base at Sigonella, Italy from one in Spain in the next day or so to respond to any crises that may ensue.

The mixed success of the raids prompted Frank Gardner, BBC security specialist to ask: ”How effective in the long run are raids like the ones in Libya and Somalia?

While the US insists that the detention of this long-sought suspect is “lawful” and will be popular back home, in North Africa the raid could well prompt more recruits to join anti-Western jihadist groups like al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

“When the most highly trained commandos from the most powerful military in the world attack a sandal-wearing militia and are forced to retreat, this will be seized on as a propaganda victory for al-Shabab,” Gardner wrote for the BBC.

While the U.S. has no extradition treaty with Libya, there are other legal avenues to have used before the snatch and render method employed,” observed Vijay Prasad, co-editor of Dispatches from the Arab Spring and author of Arab Spring, Libyan Winter. “There is no indication that the U.S.  ever asked the Libyans to extradite the suspect, nor that the U.S. informed the Libyans of this operation. It is a major setback to Libyan efforts to create transitional justice, and once more calls into question the U.S. commitment to a rules and regulations society.”

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

African Migrants Risk Lives to Flee War, Persecution.


African migrants killed
At least 232 migrants were killed after their boat caught fire last week. Hundreds more are still missing. (Noborder network/Flickr/Creative Commons)

The latest tragic incident of hundreds of African migrants drowning in European waters tells a wider story.

Scratch beneath the surface and for many of the migrants, their stories are not only of wanting a better life. Often they will be of fleeing persecution or conflict at home, and paying their life savings to smugglers who promise their passage to the safety of European shores.

The sinking of a boat carrying around 500 migrants Thursday, killing at least 232 of them, is the latest in a long line of accidents in which vulnerable migrants pay with their lives after the failure of vessels often described as “unseaworthy.”

Father Mussie Zerai, chairman of the Habeshia Agency, which works on behalf of these migrants, says he believes the majority of those involved in last’s week’s shipwreck were Christians.

“I look at the list of the survivors and 90 percent is Christian,” he said. “They are coming from Eritrea and Ethiopia. The situation is very bad because politically in Eritrea there is a dictator and they live without any type of freedom or democracy. Many Christians are persecuted because of their faith. It’s not easy for them to live in Eritrea at this moment.”

An Ethiopian migrant who survived the same crossing hit the European media last year when five human rights groups wrote a letter to the Netherlands then-minister of immigration and asylum affairs, to plead for him to be given the right to remain.

Abu Kurke Kebato, in his early 20s, was one of only nine survivors in a boat carrying 72, which had left Libya, only to languish at sea for two weeks before drifting back to Libyan shores.

Kurke Kebato told the BBC that he had then been arrested by the Libyan authorities while “on his way to church” after his arrival back in Libya.

“Upon his forced return to Libya in 2010, Mr. Kurke Kebato was then detained for eight months during which time he alleges he was subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” wrote the five human rights organizations.

He then made a second attempt to reach Europe, with his wife, and this time they were successful. However, the couple were set to be deported from the Netherlands until human rights organizations intervened. He now lives there and says he is “happy in a democracy.”

The U.N. High Commission for Refugees’ Adrian Edwards agrees that many migrants seem to have little choice but to flee their home countries when it becomes a matter of life and death.

“You have to think of the tragedy that lies behind this, which is that many of these people are likely to have been fleeing war, fleeing persecution, fleeing human rights abuses in their own countries, so this is a tremendous tragedy of multiple layers,” he told the BBC.

The ship had traveled from Libya, but many of its passengers had already traveled a great distance in their quest to reach Europe. According to the U.N., most of the passengers on the boat—which sank nearby the island of Lampedusa off the coast of Italy—were from Eritrea and Somalia, about 2,000 miles from Libya’s coast.

The number of immigrants dying while attempting to reach Europe’s borders in the last 25 years has risen to almost 20,000.

Pope Francis, whose first official visit was to the island in July to witness the mass migrant arrivals, condemned “global indifference” to the plight of immigrants, and said the incident was an “outrage,” calling Friday a “day of tears.”

Figures from the U.N. say 3,000 people try to flee Eritrea each month, while human rights groups have said the country is becoming a giant jail, with estimates of around 10,000 political prisoners.

Somalia, meanwhile, has been ravaged by two decades of war and large parts of it are under the control of Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

More than 30,000 immigrants have journeyed to Italy by sea so far this year, including 7,500 each from Eritrea and Syria and 3,000 from Somalia, according to the U.N.

Zerai says the international community must do more. Granting asylum to a few is not enough, he says.

“All mass media, all international organizations and civic society need to push the international community to do something to change the situation,” he told World Watch Monitor. “In Eritrea, even in Ethiopia, we need more freedom, democracy and peace. That is the solution. We can give them asylum, but that is not the solution.”

In May, World Watch Monitor reported that religious persecution in Eritrea is at its “highest ever level and getting worse,” according to Christian charity Open Doors International.

The number of Christians incarcerated in Eritrea because of their faith is thought to be around 1,200, according to the charity, although some estimates claim the figure is as high as 3,000.

Eritrea is ranked 10th on the World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries in which Christians are most under pressure for their faith.

“When Christians [in Eritrea] are discovered, they are arrested and held in shipping containers in military camps. At least 105 Christians were arrested in 2012, and 31 Christians were reported to have died in prison,” the World Watch List reports.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

World Watch Monitor

Freedom Always Rings More than Once.


 

Miss Israel 2013, Yityish Aynaw, is an Ethiopian Israeli and the first black Miss Israel
Miss Israel 2013, Yityish Aynaw, is an Ethiopian Israeli and the first black Miss Israel (Facebook)

This week two special milestones were reached. The one most well known and properly receiving most media attention—in the U.S and around the world—was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Even as far away as Israel, where the message of freedom rings loudly, it is not taken for granted, and is overlaid with a prophetic overtone, King’s message and legacy were remembered fondly.

The milestone less well known, especially outside Israel, but that is connected in my mind, was the completion of a 30-year process to bring home Jewish Ethiopians and their descendants to Israel. Some 30 years ago, Israel embarked on the rescue of a Jewish minority in Ethiopia, exiles from before the rabbinic period that held onto and preserved Judaism over the centuries, thinking that they were the only Jews left in the world.

Operation Moses in 1984 was clandestine, secretive, involved moving thousands by foot over dangerous and rough terrain in and through countries at war with Israel, and was kept quiet as long as possible.

In May 1991, Israel embarked on Operation Solomon, using 34 aircraft over a 36-hour period to shuttle more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews from threat of danger in Ethiopia home to Israel. This marked the only time black Africans were transported out of Africa in an organized emigration from fear of persecution into freedom.

On a personal note, I remember the news vividly that week, and it helped me realize that the woman I was dating really ought to be my wife as she was the only one I could think of to speak to and share this historic moment with.

Since 1991, there has been a continued migration of other Ethiopian Jews and the descendents of those who converted to Christianity under threat of death in the 19th century. There may be as many as 1,200 people remaining in Ethiopia who are eligible to move to Israel for family reunification, but for all intents and purposes, Ethiopian Jewish immigration to Israel is complete.

The Ethiopian exodus, while small proportionally, has been among the most challenging of immigrant groups to absorb. There are a host of reasons for this. Many unique challenges exist as life in modern Israel is vastly different from the society they left. There is much to achieve still to mark the full integration of Ethiopians into Israeli society, but out of a relatively small population there have been many success stories of Ethiopian Israelis elected to our Knesset (parliament), reaching high ranks in the IDF, and even the current Miss Israel, Yityish Aynaw, is an Ethiopian Israeli who came here as a small child. Other examples abound but challenges remain.

Just like in the U.S., a recurring theme of this week’s anniversary is about measuring the success of the American Civil Rights movement 50 years later, its successes and things yet to be achieved, so, too, this milestone of the rescue and absorption of tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews in Israel has its’ achievements, but still has a way to go.

On this occasion, it is also meaningful to pause to note one of King’s most famous quotes on Israel.

Ten days before his assassination, addressing the gathering of a major American Jewish rabbinic group, Dr. King said: “Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect her right to exist, its territorial integrity and the right to use whatever sea lanes it needs. Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality.”

We have come a long way but there’s more to do still. I’d like to believe that were he alive today, Dr. King would be proud of both milestones this week. May we continue to be challenged by and inspired to follow Dr. King’s vision and courage, for the well being of both the U.S. and Israel.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

JONATHAN FELDSTEIN

Jonathan Feldstein is the director of Heart to Heart, a unique virtual blood donation program to bless Israel and save lives in Israel. Born and educated in the U.S., Feldstein emigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel.

Blind Girl Healed After Evangelist Overcomes Fear From Satan.


Diramu Eka
Diramu Eka was healed of blindness at a recent Cita Ministries event in Moyale, Ethiopia. (Cita Minsitries)

The mist hovered mercilessly over the ground. The unrelenting rain pounded on the already flooded terrain. Every now and then you could see a bold soul venturing through the torrential rain, the mud accumulating on their shoes as they tried to cover their head with little success.

I watched through the scratched windshield of the car as the worn-out windshield wipers continued in their useless labor. The rain just would not subside, even after we had traveled for six hours. Would the rain of the Holy Spirit pour this way in Moyale, Ethiopia, a town filled with intimidation?

As we drove into Moyale, there was an uneasy feeling in my stomach. This town’s population is 90 percent Muslim—only 1 in 10 is not Islamic. As the services started, the enemy really tried to fill my heart with fear and intimidation. One of the pastors shared that he has been in Moyale for over 20 years but had never dared to put up a poster for a Christian meeting. He feared the repercussions this might bring. He told me how he had now overcome his fear and put up posters all over town.

Then our organizer told me of how a very hostile Muslim man wanted to start a fight with him because he had given him an invitation flyer. He was so hostile that they feared for their safety and changed their approach to just throwing the rest of the flyers out from the moving car in order to stay safe. People came running from all corners and picked up the flyers from the ground.

It was then I learned that the al-Shabab terrorist group is very active in Moyale.

Al-Shabab is a radical Islamic group based in Somalia that has caused a lot of trouble and is suspected to have links with al-Qaida. They have intimidated, kidnapped and killed many aid workers, leading to the exodus of relief agencies from Somalia.

The devil tried to use these facts to instill fear in my heart. But “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). What happened next was just supernatural!

After one of the greatest attacks of fear in my life, the power of God came over me. I stood in front of the large crowd, preaching full of the fire of God. Suddenly I thought to myself, I don’t have even an ounce of fear in my heart! The boldness of God came over me, and the Spirit of God began to move.

Suddenly I heard screams behind me. I turned to see what had happened but just heard the screams and saw a commotion. Yonas, our organizer, came quickly to me and said, “A blind girl can see!”

All I saw was two girls hugging each other and crying for joy, jumping up and down. When they calmed down, I heard the story.

Her beautiful brown eyes, filled with tears, moved back and forth, trying to take in every detail. Diramu Eka had gone completely blind when she was 3 years old and had lived in darkness for 10 years. The night before this meeting, she dreamt that a miracle would happen right in this service. Was she just getting her hopes up again for nothing? She decided to believe against all odds and asked her neighbor to help lead her to the crusade. There she stood with her walking cane for the blind in hand, trusting God for the impossible. As we prayed for the sick, the power of God came upon her. Her eyes were opened, and the celebration began.

When we take God’s authority over fear and doubt in our lives, miracles happen. When your fear and doubts are the greatest, you just may be at the verge of a real move of God in your life. It is often a last desperate move of the devil to keep you from the victory. He tries to throw everything in your path to keep you from your miracle. We live in a time where we can no longer allow anything to keep us from the harvest fields of God. This generation must be saved!

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE.

CHRIS FRANZ

Chris Franz founded Cita (standing for “Christ is the answer”) Minsitries in 1998. He has since led more than 20 crusades in Africa, where more than 25,000 Africans have given their lives to the Lord.

Egypt Politician Caught Urging War With US.


A prominent Egyptian politician who thought he was in a secret meeting was caught on live television referring to the United States as an enemy — just weeks after Egypt received $1.3 billion in new American aid.

The “open mic” incident came at a meeting convened by President Mohamed Morsi to discuss an Ethiopian plan to build a dam on the Nile River, which some at the gathering asserted was a secret American and Israeli plot to undermine Egypt, The New York Times reported.

A state-owned television channel picked up Magdi Hussein, leader of the Islamic Labor Party, saying:

“I’m very fond of battles. With the enemies, of course, with America and Israel, but this battle must be waged with maximum judiciousness and calm. Even though this is a secret meeting we must all take an oath not to leak anything to the media . . .

“Our battle is with America and Israel, not with Ethiopia.”

Morsi interrupted him: “This meeting is being aired live on TV.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Jim Meyers

Thousands March for Rights in Rare Ethiopia Protest.


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia  — About 10,000 Ethiopians staged an anti-government procession on Sunday in the first large-scale protest since a disputed 2005 election ended in street violence that killed 200 people.

The demonstrators marched through Addis Ababa’s northern Arat Kilo and Piazza districts before gathering at Churchill Avenue in front of a looming obelisk with a giant red star perched on top, a relic of Ethiopia‘s violent Communist past.

Some carried banners reading “Justice! Justice! Justice!” and some bore pictures of imprisoned opposition figures. Others chanted, “We call for respect of the constitution”.

A few police officers watched the demonstration, for which the authorities had granted permission.

“We have repeatedly asked the government to release political leaders, journalists and those who asked the government not to intervene in religious affairs,” said Yilekal Getachew, chairman of the Semayawi (Blue) Party which organized the protests.

He said the demonstrators also wanted action to tackle unemployment, inflation and corruption.

“If these questions are not resolved and no progress is made in the next three months, we will more protests. It is the beginning of our struggle,” he told Reuters.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

ANTI-TERRORISM LAW

Ethiopian opposition parties routinely accuse the government of harassment and say their candidates are often intimidated in polls. The 547-seat legislature has only one opposition member.

Though its economy is one of the fastest-growing in Africa, Ethiopia is often criticized by human rights watchdogs for clamping down on opposition and the media on national security grounds, a charge the government denies.

Critics point to a 2009 anti-terrorism law that makes anyone caught publishing information that could induce readers into acts of terrorism liable to jail terms of 10 to 20 years.

Last year, an Ethiopian court handed sentences of eight years to life to 20 journalists, opposition figures and others for conspiring with rebels to topple the government.

More than 10 journalists have been charged under the anti-terrorism law, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which says Ethiopia has the highest number of exiled journalists in the world.

Muslims, who form about a third of Ethiopia’s mostly Christian population, staged mosque sit-ins in 2012, accusing the government of meddling in religious affairs and jailing their leaders.

Ethiopia, long seen by the West as a bulwark against radical Islamists in neighboring Somalia, denies interfering, but says it fears militant Islam is taking root in the country.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

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