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ASSOCIATION OF EVANGELICALS IN AFRICA - March 2004 #1

March 1, 2004

ASSOCIATION OF EVANGELICALS IN AFRICA
ETHICS, PEACE AND JUSTICE DESK
NEWS BRIEFS & PRAYER ITEMS
March 2004 #1


ZIMBABWE
More land is earmarked for acqusition after a new legislation passed in parliament last week. The Sunday Times reports that properties targeted include Hippo Valley sugar eastate belonging to Anglo American and the Eastern Highland plantation belonging to the British. The ammendment to the law was passed although the legal committee declared it unconstitutional. The initiative is aimed at consolidating the land reform programme. The new law allows the process to take place by publishing a notice of intent in the government gazette when previously the notice of intent had to be served in person on the owners of the land on target. Anglo American is a South African based entity and is listed on the stock exchange. It also has a number of subsidiary companies in the country. While this move can strain the relations of the two countries it will also leave scores of farm workers unemployed.


ZIMBABWE
Preparations for the 2005 parliamentary elections is already underway and are expected to run through this year until early next year. Political parties have started laying the ground work for the elections with campaings expected to increase towards the poll days.

The previous elections have been marred by political violence and cases of political violence were not dwelt with effectively. The Chronicle reports that Dr Maya, one of the party leaders has condemned political violence characterising campains. “As a party we condemn violence, we do not have the machinery to wage it. But there comes a time when you have to anticipate violence, which is not conducive to a free and fair election”, said Dr Maya.


ZIMBABWE
A 15 member European Union(EU) delegation will on February 18 decide on whether to maintain the sanctions impossed on Zimbabwe, it has been revealed. The move has pushed the President Robert Mugabe to plead with the EU not to renew travell and other targetted sanctions against him and his ministers when they come for review. He has argued that his country is more democratic than other African states. “ We are a more democratic country than most African countries and there is really no case the EU should hold against us”, said the President last month. The EU imposed sanctions on 72 of Zimbabwe\'s top government ruling party officials, including the President in 2002. The officials were accused of human rights abuses and electoral fraud after the elections which saw Mugabe\'s return to power. However, western diplomats have said the sanctions were likely to be renewed and even widened to include more of the President\'s aids.

Pray that Zimbabwe reverts to the country of peace that it used to be, that God intervenes in the political and economic situation of Zimbabwe.

Also remember in your prayers the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Council Of Churches who are playing a mediatory role in an effort to reclaim and restore peace in Zimbabwe.

ADDIS ABABA
The government of Ethopia has began a peace building initiative which might see thirty three former government officials on trial for genocide pardoned. This move comes after the former officials begged the Ethopians to forgive them for crimes they committed during their reign in power. In a letter dated 13 August 2003, the officials ask the public to forgive them for mistakes “done knowingly and unknowingly”. The letter addressed to the Ethopian prime minister Meles Zanani, was signed by the former vice president Colonel Fisseha Desta and other ministers. Ethopia has since 1994 been conducting trials of people accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, particularly during the ‘Red Terror period when scores of Ethopians were killed or disappeared\'. Measures to ammend the Ethopian contitution which does not have a closure to pardon such individuals will be put in place.

Thank God for the peace building initiaive. Pray that the Almighty keeps strengthening the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethopia which has been working tirelessly to build peace in Ethopia.

ZAMBIA
LUSAKA- Bishops in Zambia have described the moralising campaign introduced by President Levy Mwanawasa last year as a challenge for the church. Bishop Telesphore Mpundu said the church has the duty to form on a personal and spiritual level a new ruling class. The moralising campaign refers to the anticorruption campaign introduced by Mwanamasa in 2003. The campaign has seen a large part of the ruling class that was tied to the former head of state Fedrick Chiluba being affected. Mwanawasa has accused Chiluba and his cohot of misappropriating about $80 million over 10 years. Bishop Mpundu said the main objective of politics is the well being of the nation and the people.

Thank God for Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia which has been playing an active role against corruption.

SOUTH AFRICA
THE president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki has announced to the national assembly that the elections will be held on April 14. South Africa will be holding its third democratic election since the end of apartheid in 1994. The new president is expected to be sworn in on April 27.

Pray that preparations for the elections proceed peacefully. The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa has been involved in peace isssues – pray that God strengthens them in fighting acts that will disturb peace during this period.

ALGERIA
Berbers have threatened to prevent the holding of the presidential elections in April folowing the collapse of talks between the Algerian government and Berber leaders due to disagreements over the status of their Tamazight language. The talks came to a halt when the Berbers leaders demanded that Tamazight should have equal status with Arabic. Threats to resume to street protests in berber Kabylie region have been made by the group. The Berbers spokesman Belaid Abrika, was quoted by the BBC saying “ we are going to resume protest actions in the streets in Kabylie and prevent the holding of the presidential election in April”. The elections are to be held on the 8th of April. In april 2002 the parliament voted to give Tazamight a national status.


UNITED NATIONS
The Reuters reports that the United States of America, Secretary of State, Colin Powell and the UN Secretary General Koffi Annan want governments to pledge $488 million to rebuild Liberia. “ I think we must by all have learned by now the consequences of failed states and what could happen when a state can be used as a haven by terrorists and other elements who organise, train and come to haunt the rest of us”. Liberia founded by freed American slaves is in ruins after 14 years of fighting that spilled over its West African neighbours. The main conflict ended in August when Charles Taylor went into exile , clearing the way for a power sharing deal between his government and rebels.

Pray that the plans to rebuild Liberia become a success and that the church returns to its rightful place and become the priest and the prophet.