Thursday 18 February 2021
Wednesday 17 February 2021
The Development Darling of the West : Inside Paul Kagame’s Neo-liberal autocracy : Hotel Rwanda 'hero' goes on trial amid global calls for release
Paul Rusasabagina (C) arrives with some of his coaccused at the Supreme Court in Kigali on February 17, 2021 where he is facing charges related to their association with Mouvement Rwandais pour le changement démocratique (MRCD) and its armed wing FLN. AFP PHOTO
Hotel Rwanda 'hero' goes on trial amid global calls for release
Thursday February 18 2021
Paul Rusesabagina, the polarising hero of the hit movie "Hotel Rwanda," went on trial Wednesday on charges including terrorism that drew international calls for his release.
Rusesabagina, whose actions during Rwanda's 1994 genocide inspired the movie, had been living abroad for years before appearing in Kigali under arrest in mysterious circumstances in October.
His family and lawyers say he was abducted overseas and brought back to Rwanda illegally. They say that as he is an outspoken government critic, he cannot receive a fair trial there and that he has not been allowed to meet with international lawyers.
The former hotelier, who was played by American actor Don Cheadle in the 2004 film, has been charged with 13 offences including terrorism for starting an armed group in recent years that is accused of staging deadly attacks within Rwanda.
He appeared in court alongside 20 others facing similar charges for supporting the banned outfit, the National Liberation Front (FLN). The accused all wore face masks and the pink standard-issue uniforms assigned to defendants in Rwanda.
'I am not a Rwandan'
Rusesabagina's legal team has argued he cannot be tried in Rwanda until it is established whether his extradition was legal.
"Let me say this again as I have said before many times. I am not a Rwandan. I am Belgian. The case file on me should reflect that," Rusesabagina told the court.
He said he had been required to apply for an entry visa when visiting Rwanda on two occasions in 2003 and 2004: "This is how foreigners are treated," he added.
But lead prosecutor Bonaventure Ruberwa said Rusesabagina's parents were Rwandans and he had never renounced his citizenship.
"He was reported as a Rwandan to the Belgian authorities, also holding dual citizenship as a Belgian, so the court should disregard his claim."
Ruberwa said Belgian authorities had "fully cooperated" with their investigation and assisted by sending documents about Rusesabagina to Rwandan authorities.
The 66-year-old had already been denied bail, which he sought on account of poor health.
Rusesabagina is credited with sheltering hundreds of Rwandans inside a hotel he managed during the 1994 genocide, in which 800,000 mostly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus were slaughtered.
But in the years after Hollywood made him an international celebrity, a more complex image emerged of the staunch government critic, whose tirades against the regime of long-serving Rwandan President Paul Kagame made him an enemy of the state.
Kagame has been in power since 1994 and is accused by critics of crushing opponents and ruling through fear.
The United States, which awarded Rusesabagina the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, said it has raised his case with Rwanda and asked for information on how he returned to the country.
"We've continued to urge the Rwandan government to provide humane treatment, respect for the rule of law and to provide a fair and transparent legal process, including access to legal counsel of his choosing," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
Thirty-seven members of the US Congress jointly urged Rusesabagina's release, echoing a resolution by the European Parliament.
In a letter to Kagame, the US lawmakers warned of risks to relations, saying that Rusesabagina is a US permanent resident and that Rwanda transferred him out of the United Arab Emirates.
"Your government's resort to the extrajudicial transfer of Mr. Rusesabagina demonstrates a disregard for US law and suggests a lack of confidence in the credibility of the evidence against him," said the letter signed by the top Republicans and Democrats on the Senate and House committees handling foreign affairs.
'We waged war on Rwanda'
an earlier court hearing, Rusesabagina admitted to helping form the
FLN, the armed movement of an opposition party he founded in exile, but
denied any roles in its crimes.
Rwandan authorities blamed the FLN for a series of deadly attacks in 2018 in Nyungwe, a forested area which is popular among tourists coming to see endangered mountain gorillas.
The attacks prompted France, Germany, Canada and Australia to advise their nationals against travel to the area.
One of Rusesabagina's co-accused, FLN commander Callixte Nsabimana, appeared to have sided with the prosecution, however it was unclear why he had turned on a man he said had been "my president".
ambitions to become the president of Rwanda. Now how do you have such
ambitions when you're not Rwandan?" Nsabimana said.
"We waged war on Rwanda, and failed and were captured. It is embarrassing for him to now claim that he is not Rwandan," said Nsabimana, who was arrested in April 2019.
Monday 15 February 2021
The Deception of Neo-liberalism : Nigerian former World Bank Economist and citizen of Babylon USA Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes new WTO Boss: A black woman will do nothing to stop the criminality of WTO: She is an agent of the diabolic neo-liberal capitalism
Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is also a US citizen, emerged as the front-runner for the post of WTO director-general last year. PHOTO | FILE | AFP
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, new WTO head 'loved' despite mixed record
Monday February 15 2021
Twice Nigeria's finance minister and its first woman foreign minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been described as a trailblazer.
The 66-year-old made more history on Monday when she was appointed as the first African and woman to head the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Aside from her time in public office, the development economist also spent a quarter-century at the World Bank -- rising to be managing director and running for the top role in 2012.
"I think she has delivered, whether in Nigeria or in other countries where she worked," Idayat Hassan of the Centre for Democracy and Development research and advocacy group told AFP.
Born in 1954 in Ogwashi Ukwu, in Delta State, western Nigeria, her father is a traditional ruler. She spent much of her life in the United States, graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, where she sent her four children.
"She is not just liked in Nigeria, she is loved, because she is a symbol, and people are gunning for her because of what she represents for womanhood," said Hassan.
'She kept quiet'
Not everyone agrees her track record is impeccable.
"Okonjo-Iweala may have done some box-checking technocratic transparency reforms in her ministry but the fact is, nearly a billion dollars a month were going missing from oil revenues when she was finance minister," said Sarah Chayes, author of "Thieves of State", a book about corruption.
"I think it's a shame she is even being considered for the role," Chayes said in an interview last year.
"There is an appetite for this kind of good news story at a time when diversity issues are paramount, being female and black doesn't hurt."
The former minister has portrayed herself as a champion against Nigeria's rampant corruption -- and says her own mother was even kidnapped over her attempts to tackle the scourge.
But critics insist she should have done more to stop it while in power.
"At the very least, she had the opportunity to resign from office and expose the corruption," said Olanrewaju Suraju, from the Human and Environmental Development Agenda campaign group.
"Rather, she kept quiet and allowed high level corruption to fester under the regime, only to complain after leaving office."
Okonjo-Iweala has also brushed off claims she lacks experience as a trade minister or negotiator.
"I've been doing that all my life, working on trade policy issues," she said during a webinar organised by Chatham House in July.
"Most of all," she said, the choice for director general should go beyond technical skills, "you need boldness, courage".
She was recently named the African Union's special envoy to mobilise international support for the continent's efforts to address the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Okonjo-Iweala has warned that growing protectionism and nationalism have been spurred on by the crisis and insists barriers need to be lowered to help the world recover.
"One way to ensure the adequate supply and equitable distribution of vaccines is to remove some of the barriers created by intellectual property and technology transfer laws," she wrote in April in Foreign Affairs magazine.
Prosperity Gospel King pin Frederick K.C. Price, who built LA’s Faith Dome, dies from COVID-19: He one time said that the body of a sick born born again Christian can not be a temple of the Holy Spirit because he can live a house where the windows and doors are not functioning right
Frederick K. C. Price famous quotes
How can you glorify God in your body, when it doesn't function right?....What makes you think the Holy Ghost wants to live inside of a body where He can't see out through the windows, and He can't hear out the ears?
The whole point is I'm trying to get you to see-to get you out of this malaise of thinking that Jesus and the disciples were poor and then relating that to you thinking that you, as a child of God, have to follow Jesus. The Bible says that He has left us an example that we should follow His steps. That's the reason why I drive a Rolls Royce. I'm following Jesus' steps.
Do you think that the punishment for our sins was to die on the cross? If that was the case the two thieves could have paid the price. No, the punishment was to go to hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God.
But God has to be given permission to work in this earth realm on behalf of man. You are in control! So if man has control, who no longer has it? God. When God gave Adam dominion, that meant God no longer had dominion. So God cannot do anything in this earth unless we let Him. And the way we let Him or give Him permission is through prayer.
Frederick K.C. Price, televangelist who built LA’s FaithDome, dies from COVID-19
A popular though sometimes controversial prosperity gospel pastor, Price built one of the largest church buildings in the country.
(RNS) — The Rev. Frederick K.C. “Fred” Price, a prominent Los Angeles pastor who built one of the largest church buildings in the country, has died at 89.
“Our Husband, Father & your Apostle has gone to be w/ the Lord this evening,” the Price family said in a statement posted on social media. “We accept his decision to go as he got a glimpse of glory a few weeks ago. We are sad. Please allow us some time to process. He fought the good fight of faith & laid hold of eternal life.”
Price was the longtime pastor of the Crenshaw Christian Center, which he founded in 1973 and grew into a megachurch that claims 28,000 members. The church is perhaps best known for the “FaithDome,” which opened in 1989 and seats 10,145 worshippers, making it the largest house of worship in the country at the time, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The FaithDome was built on a former campus of Pepperdine University on Vermont Avenue and cost $9 million dollars, the L.A. Times reported. Price told the newspaper at the time that he wanted the entire congregation to be able to meet at the same time.
“Multiple services are horrendous,” Price said in 1989. “The purpose of the building is to have one service. And if I can get 10,100 people into one service, that’s more than we’re doing now.”
Price, a charismatic pastor, taught a message of prosperity, which was featured on his long-running television program, “Ever-Increasing Faith.”
“If you know ANYTHING about the Prosperity Gospel Rev. Fred Price and Crenshaw Christian Center was it before Creflo Dollar and any of those folks made it big,” religion scholar and author Anthea Butler said on Twitter after hearing news of Price’s death. “He was an original.”
Price was the pastor of Washington Community Church, a small Christian and Missionary Alliance church in Los Angeles, when he experienced the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” in 1970, according to the Crenshaw Christian Center website. He later began to study the teachings of televangelist and prosperity gospel preacher Kenneth Hagin.
As he embraced these new teachings, the congregation expanded. Price eventually started a new church with no denominational ties, which grew from about 300 worshippers to a congregation of thousands.
In 2008, Price was named an “apostle,” according to the biography posted on the church’s website. Not long afterward, he retired as pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center, handing the pulpit over to his son, Frederick K. Price Jr.
Apostle Price and his wife, Betty, were married for 67 years and were partners in ministry. In 1962, the couple’s eight-year-old son, Frederick K.C. Price III, was walking home from school when a car struck and killed him, an incident recounted on the church’s website.
“Fred and I tried to console each other as best we could, and leaned a lot on one another during this time of hurt,” Betty Price later wrote. “My husband particularly found it hard to get over this tragedy, but he knew and continued to say, that it was not God who had taken our son from us. Looking back now, we can see how the devil was trying to destroy us as a family.”
Members of the church gave Price a Rolls Royce in the 1980s, which he defended as a sign of his faith. He disagreed with those who said Jesus was poor and said that since the Bible told him to follow Jesus’ example, that is what he intended to do.
In 2005, the city council of Los Angeles voted to name the intersection of Vermont Avenue and 79th Street after the pastor but refused to pay for a naming ceremony due to his anti-LGBTQ comments.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Crenshaw Christian Center has served as both a testing center and a vaccination site. According to the L.A. Times, both Apostle Price and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year, and Price was hospitalized due to the virus.