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World news in brief

26 August 2022


The President-elect of Kenyar, William Ruto, addresses a news conference at his official residence in Nairobi, last week

The President-elect of Kenyar, William Ruto, addresses a news conference at his official residence in Nairobi, last week

Faith leaders meet Kenyan election challenger

REPRESENTATIVES of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches in Kenya and of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims met Raila Odinga on Saturday, after the announcement that he had narrowly lost the country’s presidential election. Mr Odinga is challenging the result, declared on Monday of last week, in which Dr William Ruto was elected by a margin of less than one per cent. The chairman of the Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa, told the press that the purpose of the meeting was to pray with Mr Odinga. Church leaders, including Anglicans, have been prominent in calls for a peaceful election, after violence at previous elections (News, 12 August). Mr Odinga has said that the recent results were “null and void”. The Guardian reports that civil-society groups in Kenya have raised concerns about voter fraud.

South Carolina court partially reverses property ruling

THE South Carolina Supreme Court has decided that six churches that it had previously ruled should be transferred to the Episcopal Church in the United States can instead remain in the possession of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) (News, 29 April). In an open letter to her diocese last Wednesday, the Bishop of the Episcopal diocese of South Carolina, the Rt Revd Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, said that she was “disappointed” by the ruling. “To those who have loved these churches and called them home, please know of my strong commitment to supporting your future as The Episcopal Church in each place where you so faithfully have kept our presence alive and thriving,” she wrote. Bishop Woodliff-Stanley also expressed surprise that “a decision we understood to be final, is subsequently reversed”. The ACNA congregations had filed petitions for a rehearing on the basis that the churches had not been put in trust to benefit the Episcopal Church and its associated diocese.

Poisoned cleric’s children killed by arson in Sudan

THREE children have been killed in an attack on the home of a Roman Catholic deacon, the Revd Azrag Barnab, who died in November from a suspected poisoning, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports. Mr Barnab’s six-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter died in the fire on 13 July. His oldest son, aged 11, escaped but died several days later from injuries sustained in the fire at the family home in Garsilla, Central Darfur, in Sudan. The African Center for Justice and Peace Studies has called for an urgent investigation into the deaths of Mr Barnab and his three children. CSW’s founder and president, Mervyn Thomas, said: “The authorities, including the military leaders who are now in de facto control of the country, must ensure that the perpetrators of extremist violence against the Christian community in Central Darfur are swiftly brought to justice.”

UN pledges to do more for victims of religious intolerance

THE secretary-general of United Nations, António Guterres, said last Friday that the UN “must do more to examine the conditions that drive intolerance and hate” based on religion or belief. Mr Guterres, speaking on World Humanitarian Day, said that the need for humanitarian assistance was at an all-time high because of “conflicts, climate change, Covid-19, poverty, hunger and unprecedented levels of displacement”. He emphasised that states had a responsibility to guard against discrimination and violence derived from intolerance of religion or belief. Violations should be punished, he said. “Effective reparations need to be provided to victims, in compliance with international human-rights law.”

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