From the Worldwide Faith News archives

AANA BULLETIN No. 32/03 August 18, 2003 (a)

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Date Tue, 19 Aug 2003 14:57:10 -0700


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AANA BULLETIN No. 32/03 August 18, 2003 (a)

AANA Bulletin			  Bulletin APTA
  Editor -Elly Wamari	       Editor - Silvie Alemba


How About Use Of Magical Powers To Eliminate Kony?

KAMPALA (AANA) August 18 - A recent meeting between a Government minister 
and witchdoctors to discuss the use of magical powers to dispel the Lords 
Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group, underlines growing concern that the 
Government is desperate to fight the insurgents, whose menace has spread 
eastwards, from their northern territory.

Defence Minister, Ruth Nankabirwa, met the Uganda Traditional Healers 
Association, led by their chairman, Ben Gulu, and asked for help over the 
LRA matter.

"Since Kony uses spirits, it is appropriate that witchdoctors cast their 
spell and defeat Kony," Nankabirwa is reported to have said.

Musanje Kyabaggu, General Secretary of the traditional healers association 
said they could use spirits as done during their forefathers, in addition 
to deploying "killer bees".

The witchcraft strategy caused widespread concern, forcing the minister to 
swallow her words. She wrote to the media, denying such a scheme, as FM 
stations broadcast quotes by her.

Pointing out that she was misunderstood, she elaborated that she felt there 
was need to counter pervasive belief in superstition rampant in the north, 
if government was to make headway in its fight against Joseph Kony, the 
leader of LRA.

"Many people are reluctant to volunteer information, fearing that Kony's 
spirits will note them and target them for revenge," she explained.

It is also alleged that Kony's moves have had an impact within the ranks of 
Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), who believe that Kony has 
supernatural powers.

However, some intelligence sources dismiss witchcraft powers in the war, 
arguing that Kony's informers are quite numerous to the extent that three 
out of four who attend local meetings in Gulu and Kitgum districts in the 
north, are LRA informers.

Nevertheless, the use of witchcraft is widespread in Uganda.  According to 
UNICEF statistics, 67 percent of Ugandans consult witchdoctors on all 
matters, including politics and wealth creation.

Though it is widely accepted at individual level, what has raised concern 
now is that witchcraft could become part of government policy, if the 
defence minister's move is anything to go by.

While many Government officials may not feel uneasy about application of 
witchcraft, religious leaders are worried about the trend in this mostly 
Christian country.

Critics say the widespread belief in witchcraft is indicative of failure by 
religious institutions to have practical solutions against the practice.

Reported by Crespo Sebunya

Conflict Resolution Gets The Spotlight In Key Discussions

MAPUTO/NAIROBI (AANA) August 18 - Ministers for defence, security and 
foreign affairs from countries of the Southern Africa Development Community 
(SADC) have agreed on a deal aimed at eliminating conflicts within the

The pact, which is to be endorsed during the Heads of State and Government 
Summit scheduled for Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, from August 25 to 27, will 
enshrine the principle of strong regional action against conflicts.

SADC is made up of Angola, Botswana, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo 
(DRC), Malawi, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, 
Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

After its endorsement, the agreement is expected to be ratified by national 
assemblies of SADC countries.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concluded its 
discussion in Nairobi with calls to all African leaders to create an 
enabling environment for a peaceful and democratic continent.

The conference, which brought together 120 delegates comprising legislators 
and observers from 16 African countries, agreed on the need to develop 
common efforts of conflict resolution in Africa.

There were unanimous calls for the legislation of an action plan that will 
ensure peaceful conflict resolution in the continent.

The chairman-elect of the commonwealth legislators, Francis Ole Kaparo, who 
is also the Speaker of Kenya's	National Assembly, prevailed upon African 
members of parliament to ensure the continent sets standards on 
democratisation and conflict resolution.

Reported by Herman Kasili

  African Assemblies Lack Skills To Gag The Executive - CPA

NAIROBI (AANA) August 18 - Parliaments in Africa must strive to address the 
balance of power to overturn the historically strong Executive, otherwise 
they may end up ratifying Executive preferences only.

The warning was echoed during the 34th Commonwealth Parliamentary 
Association (CPA) meeting here, August 1-9.

Parliaments, especially in new democracies across Africa, the meeting was 
told, are ill equipped and lack the experience and know-how to gag the 
power of the Executive.

Presenting a paper on the subject Speaker of Ghanaian National Assembly, 
Peter Ala Adjetey, said parliaments have been facing special challenges in 
countries where a strong Executive dominated the political system, and its 
powers deep-rooted in legal and cultural structures.

In an opening speech, Kenya's Minister for Education Prof George Saitoti 
reiterated the importance of involving parliaments in regional bodies like 
the Africa Union, East African Community, Southern African Development 
Community and Economic Community for West African States, rather than leave 
participation squarely on the Executive.

The incoming CPA chairman, Francis ole Kaparo,	said: "Parliament, being 
the voice of the common people, has the  responsibility of ensuring the 
Executive does not encroach on the power of legislation and scrutiny of 
financial estimates, and in this regard, parliament can make Africa better 
and accountable."

Reported By Herman Kasili

Third Round Of Sudan Peace Negotiations Kicks Off

NANYUKI, Kenya (AANA) August 18 - The third round of Sudan peace talks 
between Khartoum Government and the Sudanese People's Liberation 
Movement/Army (SPLM/A), kicked off here on August 11, with its principal 
mediator, Gen. Lazarus Sumbeiywo expressing optimism.

Issues expected to be discussed during this phase of the talks include the 
sensitive subject of power and wealth sharing.

A day before the peace talks opened, a group of Sudanese Christians living 
in Kenya held a thanksgiving prayer service in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, 
for peaceful deliberations at the talks.

Delivering a sermon, Sudanese clergyman, Rev Paul Pitya Benjamina, moved 
the congregation by recalling the atrocities meted on southern Sudanese 
people as they struggled to liberate themselves.

"As you travel in southern Sudan, you are likely to come face-to-face with 
bones of human beings, scattered around," he told the attentive congregation.

He went on: " The dry bones are not just bones, but clear indication that 
hundreds of our people have lost lives [in attempts] to liberate themselves."

SPLM/A spokesman, Dr. Samson Kwaje, speaking to journalists after the 
prayer service, expressed hope that delegates at the peace talks will stick 
to issues and that nobody will attempt to "sneak in" new matters.

Dr. Kwaje was alluding to reports that Khartoum Government had dismissed 
some sections of a draft document that delegates were expected to base 
their deliberations on.

On August 9, Sudanese President, Omar el-Bashir was reported to have 
slammed the document as put forward by the mediating Inter-Governmental 
Authority on Development (IGAD), charging that it was "aimed at dismantling 
not only the present regime but the whole of Sudan".

"We are not going to sign any peace agreement that does not implement 
justice," the Sudanese head of State was reported to have remarked in an 
interview with an Egyptian daily, Al-Ahram.

Reported by Osman Njuguna

Agencies Outline Plan To End Ethiopia's Recurrent Famine

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI  (AANA) August 18 - Observing that long-term 
interventions could solve Ethiopia's food crisis, eight aid agencies 
working to avert a catastrophe in the country have reaffirmed their 
commitment to address immediate, as well as long-term needs.

A ghastly famine has been threatening the lives of about 12.5 million 
people for some years now, despite earlier warnings by Christian aid 
agencies.  Observers say this is the greatest humanitarian crisis facing 
any single nation in the world today.

Accordingly, eight humanitarian organisations, led by Catholic Relief 
Service (CRS), an American agency, said on August 6 that the new commitment 
was a significant step to save lives and lay the groundwork for Ethiopia's 
future development.

CRS is the lead agency in a consortium of relief organisations, known as 
Joint Emergency Operational Plan (JEOP), that is reaching 4.5 million of 
the 12.5 million people in need of relief in Ethiopia.

Other agencies in the consortium include Save the Children-USA, Lutheran 
World Relief, Africare, CARE-USA, International Orthodox Christian 
Charities, World Vision, and the Church of Latter-day Saints.

The eight offered specific recommendations, including the immediate 
provision of seeds, tools, livestock and fertilisers, to enable farming 
communities resume food production.

Other long term measures outlined in the plan are construction of 
reservoirs, small dams, bore-holes, wells and other water conservation 
structures; improvement of transport and storage facilities to strengthen 
agricultural markets; and across-the-board investments in community 

Aid agencies working in Ethiopia have in the recent past said that food 
alone was not enough to combat hunger.

In 1984, famine killed close to a million people, sparking off a large 
international relief effort to introduce famine prevention programmes. Even 
though the country has implemented most of these recovery efforts, 
recurrent droughts have made progress difficult.

Reported by Muuna Wamuli

Mugabe Utterances Threaten To Scuttle Dialogue Plans

HARARE (AANA) August 18 - Prospects for talks between the ruling Zimbabwe 
African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition, 
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), being initiated by local church 
leaders here, are now bleak, following the declaration by President Robert 
Mugabe that the opposition party should first "repent" before any serious 

The President, speaking at an occasion to mark the country's Heroes' Day 
celebrations here on August 11, said he would give "the enemies of unity 
and independence" a chance to repent.

There have been hopes that the two political parties would return to talks, 
which were abandoned last year after some misunderstandings.

Church leaders, led by the president of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, 
Bishop Sebastian Bakare, have been shuttling between the two political 
parties in a bid to revive the talks.

"Those who go together with our enemies abroad cannot at the same time want 
to march alongside our partners in nation building efforts that are 
underway. There is room for them to repent, there is room for them to say 
we were wrong yesterday, we shall not be wrong tomorrow," said Mugabe last 

Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic and political turmoil since 
independence and it is expected that the talks between the two political 
parties would help in the recovery of the country.

It has been reported that some members of ZANU-PF are sceptical about the 
talks, a factor that has seen the party failing to submit its agenda for 
the talks by an August 8 deadline.

MDC has already submitted its agenda to the church leaders, and it has 
removed the issue of questioning the legitimacy of President Mugabe.

Relations between the two parties thawed last month, after opposition 
Members of Parliament (MPs) attended the official opening of the Fourth 
Session of the Fifth Parliament by Mugabe.

MDC MPs had boycotted previous openings, but decided against it this 
time.  Even the president of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai ,was present, 
though he is not an MP.

Political analysts have pointed out that the talks between the two parties 
is the only way forward for a country that is facing serious foreign 
currency and cash shortages, and an annual inflation rate of 360 percent.

Reported by Namutatanga Makombe

Zimbabwe Moves To Fight Poverty With Irrigation

HARARE (AANA) August 18 - An idea of a winter maize crop mooted by 
Zimbabwean Government has brought in a new agricultural dimension, which 
could turn the country into the breadbasket of southern Africa.

Having endured long periods of drought and famine, Zimbabwe has now 
embarked on an irrigation programme that is expected to turn around the 
country, whose agriculture is on the brink of collapse.

The Government has embarked on a plan to clear 150,000 hectares (ha) of 
prime farming land as a pilot project, in partnership with Chinese Water 
and Electrical International.

The Chinese company has moved onto the site, signalling the start of a 
multi-million dollar project that would see the southern region regaining 
its breadbasket status of the 1980s. When fully implemented, the scheme 
will produce about three million tonnes of maize every year.

This yield is enough to meet the annual national requirements of between 
1.8 million to 2.1 million tonnes.  It would transform Zimbabwe into a 
regional net exporter of maize, a privilege currently enjoyed by South

Zimbabwe, which introduced land reforms in 2001 to economically empower its 
indigenous citizens, has redistributed land proportionately by sub-dividing 
large commercial farms previously owned by white farmers.  Indigenous 
farmers have been busy clearing land for irrigation farming.

More than 300,000 people have been resettled on fertile land under the land 
redistribution programme. Although the programme offers hope to fight 
poverty in a country of 11 million people, mismanagement of resources 
earmarked for the programme threatens its success.

There have been reports of high-ranking government officials giving 
themselves more than one farm, thereby depriving the majority poor peasants 
of land.

Recently, President Robert Mugabe appointed a committee to review the land 
reform programme to ensure that only one farm was allowed per person.  He 
admitted that all had not been well with his agrarian revolution.

Reported by Tim Chigodo

Regional Fellowship Lauds Taylor For Stepping Down

ACCRA/NAIROBI (AANA) August 18 - The Fellowship of Christian Councils and 
Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA) has lauded the immediate former president 
of Liberia, Charles Taylor, for taking the bold step to hand over power to 
his deputy, Moses Blah, to give leeway to peace in Liberia.

A press release form FECCIWA, availed to AANA, said: "The recent departure 
of Mr. Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, has indeed been welcome 
news to peace loving people around the world. Despite the many allegations 
against Mr. Taylor, his decision to comply with demands of the 
international community for the sake of Liberia ought to be applauded by

The statement, signed by FECCIWA's Secretary General, Baffour Dokyi Amoa, 
went on: "The symbolic act of a democratically elected President handing 
power to his successor irrespective of the circumstance must be lauded and 
encouraged across Africa."

The organisation also paid tribute to the new political leadership in 
Africa, for the efforts made by them in finding solution to Liberia's 
crisis, saying it demonstrated their commitment to see change in the way 
problems are solved in "our continent".

Before Taylor stepped down, he had indicated in a passionate message 
recorded for broadcast that he was stepping down and moving out of Liberia, 
not out of fear but for the love of the people of Liberia. He called 
himself the "sacrificial lamb... for the sake of peace".

Taylor, who came to power in 1990 with the backing of Libya, blamed United 
States of America (USA) for the current stalemate, alleging that America 
orchestrated the Liberian crisis in order to benefit from the latter's gold 
and diamond, among other reserves.

FECCIWA, however, has acknowledged USA's role in bringing peace to Liberia, 
and has pleaded with the country to continue its involvement in Liberian 
peace affairs.

Other institutions acknowledged by FECCIWA for their role in seeking 
solutions to Liberia's crisis include, Economic Community of West African 
States, Africa Union, the United Nations, All Africa Conference of 
Churches, World Council of Churches, and Church World Service.

Reported by Joseph K'Amolo

Kenya, Sudan To Combat Cross-Border Arms Spread

NAIROBI (AANA) August 17 - Kenya and Sudan should work out measures to 
enforce cross-border security, delegates at the 8th Kenya-Sudan Joint 
Ministerial Committee meeting held here August 11-12, have recommended.

The two delegations expressed concern over cattle rustling and 
proliferation of illicit arms within the region, and their impact on 
communities living along the common border, namely the Toposa in Sudan, and 
the Turkana in Kenya.

The meeting was chaired jointly by Kenya's minister for Foreign Affairs, 
Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, and his Sudanese counterpart, Dr. Mustafa Osman 

In a press statement issued at the end of the meeting, both delegations 
underlined the need to resolve the conflict in southern Sudan, pointing out 
that it had compounded the problem along the border region.

There were also proposals that a Sudanese consulate be established at 
Lokichogio, to facilitate relief operations in southern Sudan, as opposed 
to the current situation where liaison with the Kenyan Government has to be 
conducted in Nairobi, almost 1000km away.

Reported by Osman Njuguna

Meeting Adopts Cattle Branding To Curb Rustling

KAMPALA (AANA) August 18 - An ambitious plan aimed at combating cattle 
rustling in East Africa was hatched here on August 8, by East African 
regional police chiefs.

The scheme, which involves branding animals to make them easier to 
identify, is expected to deter potential rustlers, because their loot would 
be tagged, making it easier for police to recover stolen cattle and punish 

In a statement released at the end of a three-day intensive consultations 
involving seven countries and several international bodies, the police 
chiefs acknowledged that while branding herds was not an easy task, "member 
states should urgently try to put in place mechanisms that would facilitate 
identification of herds".

This, they said, could either be by family, clan or district for ease of 
restitution after recovery.

The recommendation was part of a parcel of reforms aiming to lessen 
insecurity in the regions within East Africa that are affected by cattle 

Besides branding cows, the police also proposed co-ordinated training 
schemes to help regional forces investigate allegations of cattle rustling 
more efficiently. Delegates also suggested that border controls be 
tightened to curb arms trafficking.

Countries involved in drafting the plan included Kenya, Tanzania, 
Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda and South Africa. International organisations 
represented were the East African Community, Inter-governmental Authority 
on Development, and the Hague-based Institute of Social Studies.

Reported by Henry Neondo

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