Ideology or identity?

30 June 2023
Africa news - April - June 2023
In Africa this quarter, the focus was on the First ACPF Regional Family Conference (May 11-12) in Nairobi, Kenya, and the ACP-EU Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels (June 19 - 28).

Reflection ACPF

The African Christian Professionals Forum (ACPF) is an organization with different country offices that brings together a large number of Christian Professionals from different African countries who work in government, service, and private sectors from different African countries. This forum is very active in discussing and promoting pro-life and pro-family issues and is a staunch ally of CCI in the fight against the EU-ACP Convention.

On the first day, only the 25 ACPF country coordinators gathered from Ghana, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, DRC and Kenya itself, among others. They discussed the progress of the ACPF in the different countries. Henk Jan (CCI) was invited as a guest speaker to create further awareness among the country coordinators about the dangerous provisions in the EU-ACP Agreement. In addition, Henk Jan also gave concrete tools to pressure their members and people's representatives to stand up against the EU and this Treaty. Seven key action points resulted from the presentations and discussions on Day 1:

  1. ACPF could provide capacity building on specific topics, e.g. Training journalists to portray biblical and scientific facts on topics such as family, pro-life, freedom of religion, etc.
  2. Setting up an online information platform for Christian Africa where ACPF members can find information about each other's work and locations.
  3. Developing a robust communication strategy, including regular writing of communiqués, closing papers, statements, and opinion pieces to take a clear position on behalf of our members to support medical ethics issues on a continental and national level.
  4. To develop ACPF into a coordinating forum on pro-life and pro-family themes for religious professionals and their organizations. This means that if, e.g., there is a conference on pro-life, then ACPF can mobilize as many members working in that area as possible, etc.
  5. Structural engagement as ACPF with cultural institutions and government agencies and obtaining accreditation with the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).
  6. Strategic mobilization of ACPF members so that a powerful movement of Christian African professionals can be built across the continent.
  7. ACPF will use the weapon of prayer to ensure that it becomes even more successful as a forum in Africa.

The second day of the conference focused on promoting the important role the traditional family plays in raising children with high moral values. Kenya's Member of Parliament Peter Kaluma, a staunch Christian and active member of the ACPF, opened the conference which was followed by several presentations, panel and group discussions. Henk Jan also participated in a panel discussion and shared his experiences in relation to the important role fathers play in the Christian education of children. The participants were about 150 people.

Reflection ACP-EU Interparliamentary Assembly

From June 19-28, the ACP-EU Interparliamentary Assembly was held. This meeting was a follow-up to the Assembly also held in Brussels in February. Since at that Assembly the motions of Malawi and Uganda were again not passed, CCI hoped that this meeting would. Unfortunately, it failed again even though both motions are very important to ensure that the people's representatives of all 106 countries under the Treaty become aware of the dangerous provisions in the EU-ACP Treaty so that they can be removed. Nevertheless, a vote on the rules of procedure was completed followed by a heated discussion on the Ugandan anti-homosexuality Bill 2023. These discussions started when the EU Vice-President of the Assembly, who also appeared to be a member of the European LGBT community, said that “sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) is not an ideology but an identity”. On top of that, there was a Member of the European Parliament from Ireland who claimed that the Ugandan anti-homosexuality Bill supports the killing of any person engaged in homosexual activities. He warned that this could lead children with homosexual feelings to be suicidal. This was received with lots of skepticism by many ACP representatives. The Ugandan ACP delegation responded by saying that nobody is allowed to go out and kill people but that Uganda is a peace-loving and sovereign country which has the right to "condemn aggravating offenses and the commercialization of homosexuality". The outcome of this JPA resulted in the current Cotonou Agreement to be extended with another 4 months. If Poland and Hungary are on board, the signing ceremony can happen in Nov/Dec 2023 in Samoa. If not, another ACP-EU JPA will be organized in Niger.