The Power of Conscience

This morning's newspaper headlines are about the comment on Zimbabwe made by Jendayi Frazer, U.S. assistant secretary for African Affairs. Her statements reflect the reality of the situation in Zimbabwe that is evident to most people, including African leaders -- namely, that the current post-election crisis is happening because Mugabe lost the elections and his current presidency and government is constitutionally illegal. The silence from African leaders reminds me of the story of the [...]

A Call from Zimbabwe's Churches

There is a popular saying that the most dangerous animal is one that has been fatally wounded. This idiom provides a framework for understanding the post-election crisis and escalating violence in Zimbabwe. Prior to the elections the government was confident of winning the elections and had no plan B - the idea of losing simply did not cross their minds; it was inconceivable! They lost and their behavior attests to this. No winner would behave the way they are doing. Their target is defenseless [...]

An Ominous Drama in Zimbabwe

It is difficult to make sense of the current ominous political drama surrounding the result of the presidential elections in Zimbabwe.

Let me set the context of the elections, which were held March 29, 2008. These elections were unique in that there were four different elections taking place simultaneously. Each voter had to complete four different voting forms for presidential, senate, parliament, and local government nominations. There were about 9,000 voting stations around the [...]

Zimbabwe: A Nation Waits

The patience of the people of Zimbabwe is absolutely incredible. They've been living a nightmare for years (inflation is so high that a second cup of coffee in half an hour can cost twice as much as the first) and they just endured a election campaign with serious instances of vote-rigging - from ghosts on the voters' registry to bribes offered for voting for the ruling party (ZANU-PF) - yet amazing hope was the dominant emotion as people went to the polls on March 29. The voting process was [...]

Christians Push Peace in Kenya

As Kenya continues to transition from a one-party nation to a liberal democracy, churches from various traditions are coming together to encourage constructive dialogue between the two major political parties and restore peace. The narrow re-election of President Mwai Kibaki, a Catholic, over opposition leader Raila Odinga sparked allegations of fraud and led to violence and rioting that has left an estimated 600 dead and 200,000 forced from their homes.

Aaron Sundsmo of Amahoro Afri­ca, a Christian peace organization, asks Christians worldwide to push for an international focus on the concerns that come out of poverty and to assess how to give practical aid to those affected by the conflict. “The church needs to be in­volved in both prayer but also in voting and in the whole political process,” Sundsmo said in a newsletter. “And [Christians] should start studying politics and getting involved in political parties to make a change. Those people who want to see change, they need to be involved in the political process. God will honor that.”

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Sojourners Magazine April 2008
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An Effective Approach to AIDS in Africa

I work in one of the largest slums in Africa - Kibera - located in Nairobi, Kenya. Some years ago, I started St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School to educate young people who have lost either both parents to the AIDS-pandemic, or one parent and the remaining parent is infected. I am proud to say we now have 265 students, and we are supporting another 50 graduates to go on to college.

Kenya and several other countries have made real progress in fighting AIDS with US support. On his [...]

Well Done, President Bush

In recent weeks, we've been watching Senator Obama and Senator Clinton try to disagree honestly without being too nasty in the process. This week, we saw Senator McCain come to the defense of Senator Obama when a warm-up speaker stooped to some low political rhetoric. Maybe the stale air of partisanship and "gotcha" politics can be replaced by some clean, fresh cooperative air ... for a while at least?

In that spirit, I think we all - Democrats, Republicans, and others - should [...]

A Cry for Kenya

My heart cries out for the people of Kenya. The unfolding crisis conjures up haunting and horrific images of Rwanda. While the situation has not reached the scale of genocide, the flawed and arguably fraudulent elections held last month have already led to far too much bloodshed and represent a major step backwards in Kenya's democracy. The aftermath from the election has inflamed simmering ethnic tensions, pitting Luos and others who support opposition leader Raila Odinga against Kikuyus [...]