January 28, 2015

S SUDAN: Rival Factions Sign Re-unification Agreement


ARUSHA, JANUARY 23, 2015 (CISA)-The three factions of South Sudan’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have signed an agreement to re-unifying the party.

The deal was signed at Ngurdoto Hotel in Arusha, Tanzanian on Wednesday January 21 by President Salva Kiir, rebel leader Riek Machar, representatives of former SPLM detainees and former cabinet minister Deng Alor in the presence of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

The accord addresses the root causes of the intra-party conflict, which plunged the country into crisis on December 15 2013.

Other regional leaders who witnessed the signing including Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, and South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The accord, dubbed “Agreement on the Reunification of the SPLM,” serves as a roadmap towards ending the violent conflict that has killed thousands of people and displaced millions from their homes when political debates on reforms within the ruling party turned violent.

The agreement was signed during the SPLM Intra-Party Dialogue Summit and puts the world newest nation back on the path of peace and development.

The unity deal was mediated by the Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), under President Kikwete’s chairmanship and has also received political support from other regional leaders.


DRC: Catholic Church Condemns Police Brutality, Urges for Peaceful Protests


KINSHASA, JANUARY 23, 2015 (CISA) –The Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo has urged people to peacefully oppose President Kabila move to delay presidential elections until a census is held and further condemned police brutality against protesters, reported BBC.

The Catholic Church has backed protests against President Joseph Kabila extending his rule.

Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya Archbishop of Kinshasa called on the public to challenge by all “legal and peaceful means any attempt to change laws that are essential to the electoral process.”

“Stop killing your people,” he told the police in a press statement.

Officials in DRC said at least 12 people had died in three days of unrest that began on Monday January 19 over a proposed law that will prolong President Kabila’s time in power.

The current unrest is the worst in the capital – Kinshasa, since the riots which broke out after President Kabila won a second term in disputed elections in 2011.

The Catholic Church has shut its schools as violent protests continued in Kinshasa for a third day.

On Tuesday January 20, internet connections, text messaging services and popular French radio station RFI were all cut off, apparently on the orders of the government a move that worsened the chaos.

The government admits the election could be delayed, but says the census is vital to ensure polls are free and fair.

President Kabila, who first took power in 2001 following the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila, is constitutionally barred from running for another term in elections due next year.


KENYA: No Need to Fear Proposed Regulations on Religious leaders, Catholic Bishop says


NAIROBI JANUARY 23, 2015(CISA)–The Catholic Church in Kenya has no reason to fear the proposed regulations that would regulate and monitor religious leaders working in the country.

In a phone interview with CISA, the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Commission for Clergy and Religious (Liaison Committee) Bishop Anthony Ireri Mukobo, said the Catholic Church in Kenya already has regulations which are known by the government.

“We have our regulations which are known by the government and they know that we are very organized and well behaved. In fact, every diocese submits its returns every year,” Bishop Mukobo of the Catholic vicariate of Isiolo told CISA on Thursday January 23.

If adopted, the rules proposed by the registrar of societies will require imams, pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders to obtain certificates of good conduct from the police and clearance from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

“These regulations are overdue for other churches but the Catholic Church regulates itself. The Catholic Church is not in that category of conning people. We do not even need to go to court when sorting out our internal matters,” added bishop Mukobo.

Anglican Church of Kenya head Archbishop Dr Eliud  Wabukala opposed the regulations saying he would meet all the bishops next month to discuss the matter and later seek audience with the AG to seek the nullification of the circular and drafting of a more accommodative one.

Sections of Pentecostal churches have also protested the proposed regulations.

According to the regulations, all religious organizations will be required to furnish with details of their leaders, committee members and registered trustees including giving copies of their identification cards, certificates of good conduct, Personal Identification Number (PIN) and tax clearance or tax exemption certificates among other documents.


KENYA: Catholic Church Expresses Concern over Increased Grabbing of Public Land


NAIROBI JANUARY 23, 2015(CISA) – The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has expressed concern over the increasing incidences of grabbing of public utility land by the so called ‘private developers’.

In a statement signed by Bishop Anthony Crowley, on the grabbing of Lang’ata Primary School playground and the brutal action of the police on protesting pupils, vice chairman Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Commission for Education and  Religious Education  has called upon the Kenya government to  “bring to book” those behind land grabbing in the country.

“… There was another confrontation over the grabbing of land belonging to Our Lady of Mercy Girls Secondary School in Shauri Moyo, Nairobi. This begs certain questions; who is grabbing public school land? Who are the faceless ‘private developers’ and why are they so powerful that they have become untouchable? …” said the statement in part.

“It is regrettable that children have to resort to demonstrations out of desperation as the relevant government authorities take time to address issues affecting them. At the same time, we are concerned about the deliberate use of children by civil society activists and politicians in demonstrations, and subsequently, exposing them to danger,” said the prelate.

“We demand that the government moves quickly to identify and bring to book these so-called ‘private developers’ who are blatantly grabbing public school land and posing a threat to the education and welfare of the children,” concluded the statement.


KENYA: Bishop Calls for Reconciliation in Refugees Camps


NAIROBI JANUARY 20, 2015(CISA) – Bishop Virgilio Pante, the chairman of the KCCB Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Sea farers has called for reconciliation initiatives to help curb violence within refugee camps.

Speaking during the World Refugee Day at the Kakuma Refugee camp in the Catholic diocese of Lodwar on Sunday January 18, Bishop Pante called for peace building processes to bring the refugees together.

“We should continue peace building and encouraging the communities to live in harmony even after they have left their countries. When we have refugees from both sides of a conflict within one camp, more effort is needed,” Waumini Communications quoted the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Maralal as saying.

He lamented that the lack of the reconciliation measures leads to conflicts among refugees spilling over from their countries into the UNHCR run camps in Kenya.

In December 2014, six people were killed and several houses torched when two factions from Southern Sudan clashed within Kakuma refugee camp.

By the time the Kenyan security agencies managed to put it off, the conflicts had sucked in refugees from Rwanda, Burundi the DRC and Ethiopia.

In his message for the day, Pope Francis called for joint action by all countries to ensure that more efforts are put at the conflicts sites which are a source of refugees and  at the camps where the displaced finally end.

“Solidarity with migrants and refugees must be accompanied by the courage and creativity necessary to develop at worldwide level, a more just and equitable financial and economic order,” he wrote in his message released at the Vatican.

In Kenya, the Catholic Church’s commission for Refugees, Migrants and Sea farers plans to launch a nationwide programme to take care of the many displaced people from neighboring countries who end up in Kenya as refugees.

“There are also many itinerants, being long distance drivers and Seafarers who need pastoral and social guidance,” said Mrs Margaret Masibo the National Executive Secretary for the commission at the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.