September 20, 2014

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KENYA: Have we Changed God’s Plan on Environment? Archbishop Okoth asks

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NAIROBI  SEPTEMBER19,2014(CISA)Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth,Chairman of the Kenya Catholic Bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) on Thursday September 18 questioned whether humanity has changed God’s plan on livelihood considering the effects of climate change and food insecurity.

“God told us he made the plants animals and even man and told them to multiply. Now we realise that the most places have become deserts, water is not available, food is not available. Has God changed his mind or have we changed Gods plan?” he posed.

Archbishop Okoth was speaking during the National Conference on Climate Change and Food Security at Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Pope Paul VI Learning and Resource Centre) where he urged policy makers including the government to act on the recent research findings on the effects of climate change and food insecurity in Kenya.

The conference was organised by Jesuit Hakimani Centre in conjunction with Centre for Social and Ethics of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Interreligious Council of Kenya, Pax Romana and Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (KCCB-CJPC) under the theme, Prediction From the Future.

According to Dr Elias Mokua, Executive Director, Jesuit Hakimani Centre, climate change is a reality in Kenya and it is affecting mostly small scale farmers. “It is also affecting the trends of eating habits and the choices of food people have in their diets,” he told CISA.

He further said the research findings that were presented during the conference captured the realities of climate change and food security in the country such as noting the production of food is going low especially among small scale farmers due to various reasons including less support from the government and shifting climatic conditions.

“Most small scale farmers market their products at a family level – they sell their food in open markets for subsistence which is a very low level of operation. The government needs to come in and provide favourable market conditions for the small scale farmers,” added Dr Mokua.

He also noted that the county government have a big role to play in ensuring food security.

“Small scale farmers and livestock keepers are all over the place, they are not just located in one county and therefore every county must come up with a policy to support farmers and also to mitigate against climate change. It’s not an option,” he said.

DRC: Bishops Oppose Calls for Constitutional Amendment

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KINSHASHA, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014(CISA)– The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (NEC) has rejected calls for amendment of the constitution as demanded by a section of members of parliament.

The legislators are calling for amendments in the president’s terms of office that could see president Joseph Kabila stand for a third term in 2016.

In a message titled “Let us Protect our Nation,” the bishops described all attempts to amend the Constitution as “dead end” calling for the respect of the current constitution.

Fr Donatien Nshole, the spokesperson of the National Episcopal Conference re-affirmed the objection to all modification of Article 220 of the Constitution governing the form of the State, form of representation in government, number and duration of terms of office of the President of the Republic and the independence of the judiciary.

The reaction of the Catholic Church comes within the context of the start of the parliamentary session on Monday, September 15 with the bill on Article 197 of the Constitution relating to the election of Provincial Parliamentarians already tabled for debate.

Fr Nshole reportedly said the modification of the Article will bring the country backwards in the current drive to build democracy and also seriously compromise the harmonious future of the country.

GUINEA: Nine Members of Team ‘Fighting’ Ebola Killed by Villagers

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NZEREKORE SEPTEMBER 19, 2014(CISA)- Nine members of a team trying to raise awareness on Ebola were on Friday September 19 killed by villagers armed with machetes and clubs around the city of Nzerekore, officials said.

According to BBC, Some of the bodies – of health workers, local officials and journalists – were found in a septic tank in a village school near the city.

The team was attacked after they arrived in the village of Women – in southern Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak was first recorded.

Police have arrested six people in connection with the incident.

The motive for the killings had not yet been confirmed, however, many villagers accused the health workers of spreading the disease while others still do not believe that the disease exists.

A government delegation, led by the health minister, had been dispatched to the region but they were unable to reach the village by road because a main bridge had been blocked.

More than 2,600 people have now died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Meanwhile a healthy British volunteer became the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus in a trial at the University of Oxford on Thursday September 18.

The volunteer is one of 60 who will receive the drug at the University of Oxford in testing that will run alongside similar trials in the United States and could mean a vaccine being produced by the end of the year.

S SUDAN: Government Will not Expel Foreign Workers

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JUBA SEPTEMBER 19, 2014(CISA) - The government of South Sudan will not be expelling any foreign workers, Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin has clarified.

“There is no statement in the Republic of South Sudan saying that we are expelling foreign workers in this country,” Mr  Marial Benjamin told reporters., Wednesday September 17 despite a policy announcement that was made Tuesday 16, by the ministry of labour.

The policy announcement had banned all foreign workers, giving them up to October 15 to leave the country and their jobs taken up by the nationals.

South Sudan has been gripped by civil war for the past nine months, with aid agencies warning that the world’s youngest nation is on the brink of a man-made famine.

KENYA: Country at Risk of Food Shortage Research Predicts

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NAIROBI, SEPTEMBER, 19, 2014 (CISA)– There is a worrying trend in food production in Kenya that could lead to food insecurity in the country, according to a recent research by the Jesuit Hakimani Centre.

According to the research finding titled Climate Change and Food Security: Predictions from the Future, climate change, lack of access to markets and minimal support from the government to the farmers are some of the factors that could lead to food shortages.

The research findings were released Thursday September 18 at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

Bishop Emmanuel Barbara of the Catholic Diocese of Malindi noted that from the report majority of the population in Kenya depends on small scale production and yet a very small portion of land is productive adding that there is need for people to look after the environment.

“Agriculture is an important issue that it needs to be addressed, 85% of the population depend on agriculture it’s an integral and important issue that must be addressed,” he said.

“Kenya is not doing very well…the situation is worse especially in pastoralised areas. We must take action,” Dr Everlyn Namubiru Mwaura, Policy Officer Land and Environment, AGRA urged.

“The situation does not affect the families alone but the economy is at risk,” she said.