Kenyan Actor Maina Olwenya Dies After Collapsing in a Hospital

Deputy President William Ruto has mourned celebrated actor Maina Olwenya who passed away Monday night after collapsing.

In his message of condolence, the DP remembered Olwenya as a brilliant actor who has exited the stage far too soon.

“I mourn with the family, friends and colleagues. We have lost a genuine talent, a dedicated creative and a good man. Like all great talents, Maina will live on through his work. Safiri Salama,” Ruto twitted.

Olwenya, who played Oti in the 2012 Nairobi Half Life film, was pronounced dead at a Nairobi hospital where he was rushed after collapsing.

The cause of death remains unknown but the family, which has called for calm and privacy at this time, will relay more information when ready.

Meanwhile, investigations into Olwenya’s sudden death have commenced.

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Source: the Star

West African Leaders Lift Financial and Economic Sanctions on Mali

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Addo, ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara attend the ECOWAS summit to discuss transitional roadmap for Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, in Accra, Ghana, July 3, 2022. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali, after its military rulers proposed a 24-month transition to democracy and published a new electoral law. Continue reading “West African Leaders Lift Financial and Economic Sanctions on Mali”

Pope Francis Urges the People and Leaders of the Congo and South Sudan to Work for Peace and Prosperity

Pope Francis holds the crucifix as he celebrates a Mass on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis holds the crucifix as he celebrates a Mass on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis urged the people and leaders of Congo and South Sudan on Saturday to “turn a page” and forge new paths of reconciliation, peace and development.

Francis issued a video message on the day he had planned to begin a weeklong pilgrimage to the two African countries. He canceled the scheduled trip last month because of knee pain that makes walking and standing difficult.

In the message, Francis said he was “greatly disappointed” to not be able to travel and promised to visit “as soon as possible.”

He urged the people of both countries not to allow themselves to be robbed of hope despite the violence, political instability, exploitation and poverty that he said had pained them for so long.

“You have a great mission, all of you, beginning with your political leaders: It is that of turning a page in order to blaze new trails, new paths of reconciliation and forgiveness, of serene coexistence and of development,” Francis said.

He said political leaders owed the pursuit of such goals to young people who dream of peace “and deserve to see those dreams come true”

“For their sake, above all, it is necessary to lay down arms, to overcome all resentment, and to write new pages of fraternity,” the pope said.

He was joined in issuing separate video messages by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Right Rev. Dr. Iain Greenshields, who were supposed to have accompanied Francis on the South Sudan leg of the trip. In their messages, they expressed disappointment that the visit had to be postponed but urged South Sudanese to nevertheless keep working for peace.

“Peace requires much more than not being at war. It must be created together, with your fellow leaders and even with your enemies,” Welby said in his message. Greenshields urged the South Sudanese to “give expression to Jesus’ words that ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.’”

While Francis was unable to travel, he is due to celebrate a special Mass at St. Peter’s on Sunday for Rome’s Congolese community. He sent his No. 2, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to visit both Congo and South Sudan on the days he was supposed to have been there.

The Catholic Church has always played a role in Congo, especially in the establishment of democracy and advocacy for human rights. The church deployed about 40,000 electoral observers in the 2019 election that brought Felix Tshisekedi to the presidency. Tshisekedi, an opposition figure, defeated then President Joseph Kabila’s chosen candidate in what was Congo’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

There were high hopes for peace and stability once South Sudan gained its long-fought independence from Sudan. But it slid into ethnic violence in December 2013. A 2018 peace deal that binds President Salva Kiir and his deputy, Riek Machar, in a unity government encourages authorities to hold elections before February 2023.

Source: Associated Press

Nigerian Police Free 77 People, Including Children, Who Were Kept in a Church Basement by Pastors to Wait for the ‘Rapture’

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Police in Nigeria have freed at least 77 people who were kept in a church basement by pastors who preached to them about Christian believers ascending to heaven with the second coming of Jesus Christ, authorities said Sunday.

The people rescued Friday night from the church in Ondo state included 23 children, some as young as 8 years old. Local residents told The Associated Press that some Whole Bible Believer Church members were kept there since last year.

Pastors at the church located 75 kilometers (46 miles) from Nigeria’s capital encouraged the members “to stay behind” and wait for the rapture, Ondo police spokesperson Funmilayo Odunlami said.

Two pastors are in custody, although investigators have not found evidence indicated the church members were “abused and/or forced” to stay in the basement, she said.

“The assistant pastor said he told them what the Lord told him; that they should obey their parents in the Lord,” Odunlami said,

Nigeria is a deeply religious country where many religious leaders are revered. It is not the first time authorities have reported rescuing people held by clerics, whether voluntarily or by force.

A woman raised the alarm about a possible kidnapping involving the Ondo church, saying her daughter was not permitted to go register for her exams, locals said.

Other residents had nuisance complaints about the church but were unaware of what was happening inside.

“They hold services all round the clock and people rarely sleep when they held their vigils,” Tunde Valentino, who lives nearby, said. “It was until Tuesday when a woman came saying they did not release her two children.”

When local authorities went there, some church members resisted their would-be rescuers and “refused to go,” cursing parents who also arrived, according to Valentino.

Famakinwa Lucaskakaki, the president of a local youth group, said that during questioning, the church members insisted “they walked into the basement themselves” after service every Sunday.

“Some of them said they have been there since August; some told us they got there January this year,” he said.

Source: Associated Press

Methodist Church Farming Ministry Helps Women in Zimbabwe Prepare for Retirement

Willa Bonyongwe tends beans in her plot at the Agriculture Research Trust farm near Harare, Zimbabwe. The United Methodist ministry focuses on life skills, while encouraging, educating and empowering women to help their families survive. Photo by Chenayi Kumuterera, UM News.
Willa Bonyongwe tends beans in her plot at the Agriculture Research Trust farm near Harare, Zimbabwe. The United Methodist ministry focuses on life skills, while encouraging, educating and empowering women to help their families survive. Photo by Chenayi Kumuterera, UM News.

More than 60 members of Harare’s Inner City Circuit United Methodist Church gathered recently at the Agriculture Research Trust farm to gain new skills that will help them prepare for retirement.

The church-related farming ministry focuses on life skills, while encouraging, educating and empowering women to help their families survive.

The church’s agriculture team joined with a group from the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women to teach the participants farming skills.

Tafadzwa Ndoro, World Federation chair for Harare Inner City, said key concerns for the organization are hunger, poverty, universal primary education, gender equality, women’s empowerment and climate change.

“At our circuit, we chose to address self-sustenance in retirement to encourage women to start thinking about retirement,” Ndoro said. “The point being, it’s too late to work toward retirement when one is already old.”

The group visited the Agricultural Research Trust farm in March.

Ndoro noted that women are most vulnerable when they cannot sustain their families.

“We used farming as one of the projects that women can start investing in now, live on and be ready to raise the much-needed resources in old age,” she said. “We linked this to the virtuous woman who does not tire (of) working for her family. We were particularly interested in farming as we wanted to address several goals with one stone.”

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Source: United Methodist News

Uganda Veteran Opposition Figure Kizza Besigye Freed On Bail After Two Weeks in Jail

Veteran Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye sits in the dock at the courtroom where he was charged with inciting violence during a protest against soaring consumer prices, in Kampala, Uganda May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa/File Photo

A court in Uganda released veteran opposition figure Kizza Besigye on bail on Friday after spending two weeks in jail awaiting trial on charges of inciting violence. Continue reading “Uganda Veteran Opposition Figure Kizza Besigye Freed On Bail After Two Weeks in Jail”

As Monkeypox Spreads, Africa in Need of Test Kits and Vaccines

Test tubes labeled “Monkeypox virus positive and negative” are seen in this illustration taken May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Africa has no vaccines for monkeypox and test kits are in short supply, international health agencies said on Thursday, warning that richer countries already appeared to be hoarding vaccines. Continue reading “As Monkeypox Spreads, Africa in Need of Test Kits and Vaccines”

George Liele Award Supports Mission Trip to Zambia

Larry Anderson, center front, director of church health and evangelism for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, at a community outreach event during the Zambia Partnership mission trip to Lusaka, Zambia. (submitted photo)
Larry Anderson, center front, director of church health and evangelism for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, at a community outreach event during the Zambia Partnership mission trip to Lusaka, Zambia. (submitted photo)

LUSAKA, Zambia (BP) – When Ricky Wilson began taking African American pastors on mission trips to Zambia in 2008, he had to dispel a myth.

“A number of the Africans have shared with us, what they were told (in the past) by the white missionaries, is that African Americans don’t care about the spiritual state of Africans in Africa. And we shared with them, a number of the African American pastors articulated that that’s not a truism,” Wilson told Baptist Press after his latest trip to Zambia.

“Because of the conflicts and issues that African Americans were dealing with in America, (we) had a lot on our hands during those times. But it’s not because people did not care, If you notice,” the earlier groups told Zambian pastors, “we brought all these pastors. That lets you know somebody must care.”

Wilson took a team of 21 African American pastors and laypersons from five states to Zambia April 22-May 6 for a multifaceted mission outreach through the Zambia Partnership in founded 15 years ago. Wilson is senior pastor of Christian Faith Fellowship in Downingtown, Pa.

A $5,000 George Liele Scholarship, an incentive launched in 2021 by the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention (NAAF) in partnership with the International Mission Board, helped cover expenses. Those taking the trip raised their own fare and other expenses in the two years preceding the trip, which Wilsons said amounted to $165,000.

The team held three days of simultaneous revivals at several churches, conducted pastors’ and women’s conferences and training, conducted community cleanup, held a multi-village cookout, and in advance of the trip, sent clothing and books. The partnership has built nine water wells since its founding, including two completed in 2022.

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Source: Baptist Press

Nigerian Bishop Says Churches Are On Edge After Killing of Two More Priests Last Weekend

A leading bishop in Nigeria has said the killing of two priests last weekend has traumatised the church community.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Archbishop Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso of Kaduna, described the fear and uncertainty after the fatal shooting of one of his priests, Fr Vitus Borogo, on 25th June.

The following day, Fr Christopher Odia was also killed in Edo State, in the south of the country. Both men appear to have been murdered during kidnapping attempts.

Archbishop Matthew said: “Everybody is on edge – all of us, the clergy, the lay people, everybody. People are afraid, and rightly so. People are traumatised, and rightly so.”

“With this situation, nobody is safe anywhere. If you go out of your house, even in the daytime, until you come back, you are not safe.”

Bandits murdered Fr Vitus while visiting family at Kaduna Correctional Centre Farm, Kujama. They kidnapped the priest’s younger brother and one other man.

Archbishop Matthew said the church was still struggling to understand why the pastor was killed.

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Source: Premier Christian News