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Rwanda deports controversial US evangelist2 minutes read

Rwanda announced on Tuesday that a controversial American missionary, who was arrested for calling an illegal public meeting with journalists, has been deported.

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Rwanda announced on Tuesday that a controversial American missionary, who was arrested for calling an illegal public meeting with journalists, has been deported.

Gregg Schoof, a Baptist, has been operating in Rwanda since 2003, mainly through his church and a radio station, Amazing Grace FM, which was shut last year over a sermon calling women “evil” and “prostitutes”.

He was arrested on Monday, alongside his son, at the start of a press conference at which he planned to read out a statement slamming the government’s “heathen practices”.

Francois-Regis Gatarayiha, the Director General of Immigration and Emigration, told AFP the son — who was not named — was released, but that Schoof was deported on Monday night.

Read Also: Rwanda arrests 5 suspects from Hutu militia based in DR Congo

“Mr Schoof was deported back to America for two reasons. His work permit had expired. When he applied for renewal, we found that his purpose for staying in Rwanda was no longer valid because his church and radio were closed,” he said.

He said that Schoof had been given a visa extension to prepare his departure from the country “on the condition that he does not disturb public order. So what he did yesterday was in contravention of that condition and we decided to deport him.”

The immigration office said they expect him to make arrangements for his other family members in Rwanda to travel back to the US.

Schoof’s church was among about 700 shut in February for “failing to comply with building regulations and for noise pollution.”

In a statement handed to journalists before his arrest he asked if authorities — by shutting his church — were trying to “smack God in the face … that is what devils do.”

“Is this government trying to send people to hell?” he asked, before slamming the teaching of evolution in schools, the handing out of condoms in schools, and the easing of restrictions on abortion.

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Uganda approves return of over 2,500 nationals stranded abroad

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Over 2,500 Ugandan nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic can now return home as approved by the Ugandan cabinet.

The cabinet on Monday, agreed that Ugandan nationals trapped in 66 countries can return home at their own cost.

The government is making arrangements with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to fly the stranded citizens home, Judith Nabakooba, the country’s minister for information, communication technology and national guidance says, adding that all the returning citizens will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory institutional quarantine. 

President Yoweri Museveni last month, directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to study the possibility of evacuating dozens of citizens stranded abroad amid Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. 

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the country on March 22 suspended all incoming flights, except cargo flights. 

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Border closure hurts Tanzania’s horticultural exports

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A border closure between Tanzania and Kenya has hit Dar es Salaam’s horticulture sector due to long delays at the crossing for fresh produce truckers, resulting in a disruption of the supply chain.

Horticulture is one of Tanzania’s economic pillars.

This past week, Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) Chief Executive, Jacqueline Mkindi asked the governments of Tanzania and Kenya to resolve the border issue for the sake of an already struggling exports industry.

Most of Tanzania’s horticulture produce is exported through Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). “If this tug of war continues, we’ll be the first to suffer as we still rely on JKIA and the port in Mombasa to export crops whose routes are not open from Tanzania,” Mkindi adds. “Our government has all along been considerate to horticulture. We advise it to embark on economic negotiations with Kenya to allow cargo to continue crossing borders smoothly.”

After an international aviation halt, the TAHA signed a deal with Ethiopian Airlines.

Despite the deal with Ethiopian Airlines to ferry fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers to global markets from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the airline has still not been granted long-term landing permits.

Currently, TAHA has to apply for a landing warrant for every incoming flight at routine airport charges and has to attach backup documents each time.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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