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Germany’s offer to fund projects in Namibia worth more than €1 billion ($1.22 billion) over 30 years to atone for its role in genocide and property seizures in its-then colony more than a century ago is not enough, Namibian Vice President Nangolo Mbumba has said.

“No amount of money in any currency can truly compensate the life of a human being,” Mbumba told journalists as Windhoek officially briefed the nation on the outcome of six years of negotiations with Germany which concluded last month.

“We need to recognise that the amount of €1.1 billion  agreed upon between the two governments is not enough and does not adequately address the initial quantum of reparations initially submitted to the German government.”

Germany apologised on May 28 for its role in the slaughter of Herero and Nama tribespeople in Namibia more than a century ago and officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time, as it agreed to fund projects. 

Thousands of Herero and Nama people were killed by German colonial forces between 1904 and 1908 after the tribes rebelled against German rule of the colony, then named German South-West Africa.

Survivors were driven into the desert, where many ended up in concentration camps to be used as slave labour, many dying of cold, malnutrition and exhaustion. Herero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro last week dismissed the deal agreed by the two governments as “an insult” because it did not include payment of reparations.

“These are historic choices we have to make, very difficult as they are. If there were other opportunities to squeeze money out of the Germans, we could have done it,” Mbumba said. “I don’t think that any Namibian would think that the money is enough to compensate for all that happened – to be killed, to be chased out of your country; no amount of money can do that,”  – Reuters/The Herald

 “Praise God. God is good all the time,” Seth Mahiga proclaimed at the altar of Life Church International in Nairobi, Kenya. Just two days earlier he announced his resignation as general secretary of the Atheists in Kenya Society.

“I’m just grateful to tell you I was the … general secretary of the Atheists in Kenya Society. It is the largest in Africa. … It represents more than around 5 million atheists in Africa,” Mahiga said in the Apostolic church. “I think a couple of days ago I’ve been going through some difficulties in life, and then I decided to resign as the secretary. I’m so happy to be here.”

Mahiga is now in the majority in the country of about 55 million people. More than 85 percent of Kenyans are Christian, according to 2019 numbers from Statistica, with more than 20 percent of Christians there described as evangelical, and more than 33 percent identifying as Protestant. Statistica counted 1.6 percent of Kenyans as “nones.”

Mahiga’s May 30th profession of faith was broadcast live on the church’s Facebook page and Elevate TV, which regularly broadcasts the church’s services.

As the church prayed for Mahiga, Pastor Mark Mutinda described Mahiga as “a point of contact (for) all those people who are in darkness and all the atheists who say there is no God,” and encouraged prayer that “the grace of God reach out to wherever they are.”

As Mahiga prayed the sinner’s prayer, led by a member of the church’s pastoral staff, he described himself to God as “a new creature no longer doubting about your existence. Indeed you are my God, and I will forever confess you are God. In Jesus’ name I accept you and I give my life to you.”

Atheists in Kenya was formed in 2016 in Nairobi, but suspended for two years after Christians complained. It regained active status in 2018 and describes itself as an organization of secularists who believe no deity exists.

The secular group announced Mahiga’s resignation in a press statement, including a link to a portion of the May 30th worship service.

“Seth’s reason for resigning is that he has found Jesus Christ and is no longer interested in promoting Atheism in Kenya,” group chairman Harrison Mumia said. “We wish Seth well in his newfound relationship with Jesus Christ. We thank him for having served the society with dedication over the last one and a half years.” Baptist Press

Photo HRNJ Uganda

 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of two Ugandan journalists, Pidson Kareire, the founder of the respected investigative news website Drone Media, and Darious Magara, a reporter for East African Watch, who were jailed on criminal libel charges last week without their bail applications being heard.

The two journalists have been charged in connection with stories they wrote last October and November about the reported failure of a construction company, Dott Services Ltd, to complete a government contract to build roads linking Uganda with the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Their reporting was based on statements made by legislators during several parliamentary hearings on the subject.

As a result of a libel suit filed by the company earlier last month, the police arrested the two journalists on 27 May and took them before a judge who ordered them detained until 17 June, when a court will hear their bail applications and begin hearing the case.

They were taken to Kitalya prison, a maximum security prison 50 km northwest of Kampala. Their lawyer told RSF they are facing possible two-year sentences under article 22 of the Ugandan penal code. 

“It is incredible that these journalists have been imprisoned for nothing more than presumed defamation,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “As well as being totally disproportionate, this measure constitutes a serious constraint on the freedom to investigate and inform. We condemn the systematic harassment of Ugandan journalists in all its forms and we urge the authorities to release these two reporters at once, before the case is heard.” 

It is not unusual for Ugandan journalists to be targeted when they do investigative reporting. Kareire was accused of defamation and “offensive communication” in 2019 after writing an article about Middle East Consultants Limited, a company that recruits Ugandan workers. The case was eventually dismissed. 

Daily Monitor editor Tabu Butagira and Tony Glencross, the managing director of the company that owns the paper, were summoned for questioning this week for reporting that a BBC TV investigation had concluded that the Ugandan police fired live rounds indiscriminately at a crowd last November causing several deaths among the supporters of Bobi Wine, the main opposition candidate in the presidential election held a few weeks later. Uganda’s leading privately-owned newspaper, the Daily Monitor is constantly hounded by the government. 

Uganda has fallen 28 places in RSF's World Press Freedom Index since 2015 and is now ranked 125th out of 180 countries. -  Reporters Without Borders

South Sudan information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth speaking in an interview with Eye Radio [Photo: screen-grab from interview with Eye Radio]

 

JUBA – South Sudan government announced Friday that it is cracking down on fake academic documents including PhDs main brought from the neighboring Uganda and Kenya, according to information minister Michael Makuei Lueth.

Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting in Juba on Friday, Makuei who is also the government spokesman disclosed that the ministry of general education has been examining university certificates of government employees and referred many of them to Uganda and Kenya for authentication and the result, he said, came out that the certificates were faked.

“These documents were disqualified and the number is big. In Uganda, there were over 400 certificates, diplomas, degrees, or even PhDs and master degrees,” Makuei told reporters in Juba.

Lueth disclosed that the cabinet meeting has passed the resolution to trace down, arrest and arrange those found with the forged document before the court of law.

“All these who will be found in possession forge documents, their names should be released officially and they should be prosecuted before the court,” he said.

“Some of these people who acquired these certificates or degrees or documents through fraudulent, are the people who failed to deliver in the offices,” he said.

He added that “You find a person holding a very high degree and a very high level of document of being a Ph.D. or a master degree or a degree and if you give that person an assignment, he will not be able to deliver.”

The Cabinet directed the Ministry of General Education, of Higher Education and of Public Services to come with appropriate mechanism to control and prevent forgery of the document, he said.

“They should come up with a mechanism for identification of forged document and it seem that there are a group of people, Universities and other institutions of  learning that handle over a certificate to people  without students attending any classes,” a government spokesman said.

“If you are an honest person, you are not supposed to acquire fake document and use it for employment only and I fact, in the course of doing that, you are harming the government and you are harming your own people and the country because you will be given an assignment in which you will know performance because you have done a study and not qualified it,” he added. - Sudans Post

Image via Radio Tamazuj

 

The South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) has denied that its soldiers were involved in the killing of a cleric and several other people in Lainya County of Central Equatoria on Tuesday, 1 June.

SSPDF spokesperson, Gen.  Lul Ruai Koang told Radio Tamazuj on Thursday that the National Salvation Front (NAS), led by Gen. Thomas Cirillo, are to blame and said the latter were the ones in control of the area where the killings took place.

“We have to tell the truth here. The incident took place in Gandari which is located in the northern part of Lainya and a distance of two hours walking. There are no proper roads in that area. The area is controlled by NAS and there are no citizens there and no church building as well. This is where NAS forces are based and they normally ambush commuters,” Gen. Ruai said.

Reminded that the Bishop of Lianya Diocese, Dr. Paul Yugusuk, directly accused the SSPDF of the killings, Lul said: “What the Archbishop is saying is not correct. We didn’t kill anybody but our chief of staff has promised to carry out an investigation into this incident and it will include SSPDF, CTSAMMVM, the church, etc. They are supposed to tell us the exact location where these people were killed.”

The SSPDF mouthpiece said their forces fought with NAS elements and captured the latter’s tents, plastic sheeting for sleeping, and goats.

“So the incident did not take place in Lainya. The incident was in Gumberi. It is clear that it is NAS who began attacking our position. Their commander, who was putting on a Wild Life or Prison Service uniform, instructed his forces to attack us. He was killed and his uniform is in our procession now,” Gen. Ruai said.

He accused NAS of waylaying innocent travelers, ambushes, kidnap for ransom, and torching vehicles in the greater Yei area.

On Tuesday, Archbishop Dr. Paul Yugusuk announced the killing of a parish priest of Gumbiri in Lainya and categorically accused the SSPDF of murders in the area.

“I regret to inform all of you, that today 1st June 2021 the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSPDF) arrested and killed Rev. Cosmas Kwaje Matayo a parish priest of Gumbiri Parish, Loka Archdeaconry, Diocese of Lainya, Episcopal Church of South Sudan in a cold blood,” Archbishop Yugusuk said. “Rev. Cosmas Kwaje Matayo was arrested while  presiding over church service on Sunday 30th May 2021 together with four other church members Simon Taban Elekima, a 10 year Sunday schoolboy, church elder Moses Wani Daniel who is also Sub – Chief and Church elder Benjamin Laki Jibidayo who is also a Head man.”

The Archbishop also said that the SSPDF arrested one Mary Gaba Henry and her whereabouts are not known. He said the army looted goats, chicken, clothes, and cash in the Kuturjo residential area and burnt houses in Loka Round in Longera and areas of Darape, Lokirarat, Nyaporo, Kengwe, Rego, and Lomilikin.

“The SSPDF also arrested thirteen (13) youths in Rudu, eleven (11) of whom were released after serious beatings and they are even at the hospital. Businessmen David Bosco, Ojas Lokule Stuart, and Lomoro Lo-Bonjin of Lainya town have not been released to date,” Dr. Yugusuk said. “I call upon the chief of South Sudan People's Defense Forces, General Santino Deng Wol to immediately investigate the killing of cleric Cosmas Kwaje Matayo and other church members and arrest all those undisciplined soldiers who have committed the barbaric killings. I further call for the immediate release of all those who have been arrested.”

However, NAS, in a press release yesterday blamed the SSPDF for the killings in what is now becoming a blame game.

Suba Samuel Manase, the NAS spokesman said, “On 1 June 2021, the SSPDF, who are now operating under the orders of “shoot at sight”. In Gumberi Village of Lainya County, killed four (4), innocent civilians, in cold blood. Among those assassinated were Rev. Cosmas Kwaje Matayo, the parish priest of Gumberi parish, Simon Taban Elekima, a ten-year-old Sunday schoolboy, Moses Wani Daniel, a church elder and sub-chief and headman Benjamin Laki Jibidayo.”

He added, “These civilians were found in service in the church and dragged out and summarily killed because of their ethnicity. SSPDF are also committing the same atrocities in Kajo-Keji County.” - Radio Tamazuj

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