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Zimbabwean parliament passes bill stipulating 20-year sentence for govt critics

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The Zimbabwean parliament on Thursday, approved a controversial legislation aimed at punishing government critics, as well as promoting patriotism and loyalty to the President.

The law which the country’s opposition and human rights activists describe as “draconian”, is also seen as an attempt to stifle dissent ahead of upcoming national elections scheduled for August 23.

The bill which was passed by the House criminalizes, among others, acts “capable of damaging the sovereignty and national interest” of the country, and stipulates a prison sentence of up to 20 years for offenders.

However, proponents of the bill and members of the ruling ZANU-PF Party have said it would encourage and promote patriotism in Zimbabweans.

A lawmaker, Joseph Chinotimba, had this to say:

“This Bill is not meant to curtail the existence of political parties but it is there to encourage the people of Zimbabwe to love their country and stop denouncing it.”

But members of the opposition are of the belief that the ban on any criticism of the government is coming at a time when rights groups and opposition parties are already complaining of a clampdown.

A human rights activist and journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, who condemned the bill in a tweet, said it was the death of free speech in the southern African country.

“Free speech is now dead. This is a very sad day for Zimbabwe,” Chin’ono wrote.

An opposition lawmaker, Temba Mliswa, who opposed the bill in the parliament before getting kicked out, said:

“Let history be known that I was not part of this commotion and circus.”

The bill which will go to the Senate for further debate, will have to be approved by President Emmerson Mnangagwa before it becomes law.

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Jesus never raised the dead nor healed the sick, Ghanaian actor Majid says

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Jesus never raised the dead nor healed the sick, Ghanaian actor Majid say

Veteran Ghanaian actor, Majid Michel, has raised a storm after stating that Jesus Christ did not raise the dead or healed the sick during his earthly ministry.

The thespian-turned-pastor, who made the assertion in a thought-provoking sermon about Christianity, said contrary to widely held beliefs, Jesus Christ neither personally healed any sick person nor raised the dead, despite these acts being credited to him in biblical teachings.

Michel, who cited some of the known miracles attributed to Jesus Christ, said:

“Do you know Jesus never healed the sick nor raised the dead? Jesus never let the blind see.

“Do you know what Jesus said? ‘I do nothing by myself. As I see the Father do, I do.’ In other words, I am Jesus, I have a will, but I will not use my will; only the will of my Father I came to do,” he said.

Going further to buttress his points, the multiple award winning actor said:

“If the devil had gotten Jesus to turn that stone to bread without asking his Father’s permission, he had gotten him to sin and that is what you call sin—separation from God, independence from God.

“When you throw your own plans and make your own decisions without consulting the Father, you have sinned.”

The “Crime To Christ” actor also emphasized that the Christian religion, Islamic religion, and other religions are actually some of the world’s biggest problems, noting that all religions have a history of perpetrating violence and some inhumane acts, and suggested that people should distance themselves from being religious.

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Ghanaian music producer wins $250k in copyright damages against CAF

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A Ghanaian music producer, Kwabena Ofei-Kwadey Nkrumah, also known as Spiky, has won $250,000 and legal costs of GH¢40,000 against the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after he sued the football governing body for intellectual property rights violations.

Nkrumah had dragged CAF to the Commercial Court 7 in Accra for not seeking permission from him before using the beat of his music titled, ‘Okomfo Anokye,’ as part of promotional materials for the 2018 CAF awards.

While delivering judgement in the case on Wednesday, Justice Emmanuel Loddoh who presided over the case found CAF guilty of failing to obtain legal permission before using Nkrumah’s music.

Nkrumah who spoke after the verdict went in his favour, said CAF’s act of using his song without permission was a total disrespect for his intellectual property rights, causing him to lose money from any licensing of his music for commercial use.

Before instituting the lawsuit, Spiky had called out CAF in 2029 for copyright infringement in a series of tweets.

He had noted that even though CAF had sent an email admitting to using his work without his consent and had apologised, they did not reply to him when he made a demand for compensation.

“This is a win for the creative industry: CAF vs Spiky’s,” he wrote on social media.

While admitting to the offence, CAF said the musical work was “available online for free download without any restrictions or conditions, to use for the artwork posted on CAF’s social media platforms.”

They however, denied using the soundtrack for commercial purposes, citing that the CAF Awards was not a profit-making venture.

They further explained that they had deleted the work from their social media accounts and apologised to Spiky.

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