Unification News for June 1999

True Mother's Tour in Africa

by Kathy Rigney

Nairobi, Kenya:

April 27—True Mother arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and was escorted to the Intercontinental Hotel where there were official greetings. April 28—After Hoon Dok Hae and breakfast True Mother went to inaugurate our church's newly built Sassamoto Training Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Hundreds of members gave our True Mother an enthusiastic greeting with songs and dancing. True Mother spoke to the members briefly and seemed especially delighted with the children. She then offered a ,100,000 donation to Kenya for the purchase of a new National Headquarters in Nairobi.

By 4:30 pm people started filling the hall of the Kenyatta International Conference Center in the center of Nairobi where True Mother spoke once before in 1993. The official program started at 6:00 pm with approximately 1,000 people in attendance. Included in the hall were one minister, two deputy ministers, two former ministers, a dozen members of parliament, about 10 mayors and city councilmen, 14 ambassadors or their representatives and a large number of professionals and businessmen. The victory celebration was also held in the main hall but was shorter than usual because True Father was traveling from Korea to America at the time and was unavailable for the victory celebration.

A leaders meeting was held from 9:30 pm that evening in the Intercontinental Hotel lead by the Continental Director. The main content was on how to accomplish the 400 Million Couples Goal for the Feb. 13th Blessing next year. The meeting was attended by representatives of Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Seychelles, and Comoros as well as nearly all of the National Messiahs, Japanese missionaries and national leadership of Kenya.

Kampala, Uganda:

April 29—Uganda was a very special case as True Mother was officially invited by the government as the special guest of honor of the Vice President, Dr. Mrs. Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe. The Vice President Kazibwe's office organized high-level delegations to meet True Mother at the airport, the motorcade and security, hotel accommodations in the presidential suite of the government owned Nile Hotel where all state visitors stay, use of the National Conference Center attached to the Hotel and a special dinner banquet in True Mother's Honor after the main event.

But even more special than the official welcome was the personal warmth and heart the Vice President poured out on our True Mother. Mrs. Kazibwe may be lucky to go down in history as the Vice President who gave the most hugs to the True Mother of Heaven and Earth!

About 2,500 people gathered at the International Conference Center by the time the main event program began at 5:00 pm. Among them were 5 active cabinet ministers and several retired ministers, 40 members of parliament, 10 ambassadors or their representatives, 30 city officials for Kampala and the surrounding towns and a large number of civil servants, deans and professors from the local universities and religious leaders. Because of the official nature of the event, protocol required that the Vice President sit with her special guest on the stage at a special "high table" together with two cabinet ministers—the Minister assigned to the Prime Minister's office Jane Francis Kuka and the Minister assigned to the Vice President's office Mrs. Betty Okwir—as well as Mr. Peter Kim and the Ugandan Ambassador to the United Nations who had flown back from New York specially to attend the meeting with True Mother (he had also attended the her speech in at Bridgeport). The Ambassador gave the main introduction to True Mother and, again for reasons of protocol, the Vice President made a speech to express her appreciation to our True Mother after True Mother read her speech. After flowers and awards were offered to True Mother, True Mother offered a special award to the President of Uganda through the Vice President, and a second award to the Vice President herself. She then offered a donation of ,10,000 to the Entebbe Mayor's School for orphans whose talented youth choir had performed at the airport, at the main speech event and later at the special dinner banquet.

One problem in Uganda was that nobody reported to True Father about the Vice President's speech after True Mother's speech and he was expecting to start the Victory Celebration according to the regular schedule. Later, Mr. Peter Kim explained that True Father was upset at the time but after the event True Mother called him and explained about the circumstances of the state visit

At the dinner banquet offered by the Vice President for True Mother about 60 high-level government officials and VIPs attended including the 5 ministers and many of the members of parliament who also attended the speech. After dinner and entertainment, the Vice President told True Mother she knew she must be very tired but wouldn't she just sing one lullaby for her children! True Mother sang one of her favorite songs and then asked the Vice President to sing, and she did—together with two other lady ministers and the lady President of our Church in Uganda. Then the Vice President and her two lady ministers accompanied True Mother up to her suite.

The next morning, the two ministers again accompanied True Mother to her airplane—one on each side of her on the tarmac with True Mother holding their hands. The country's two main newspapers gave full positive coverage to the event and the national television rebroadcast the entire evening speech program nationwide.

Harare, Zimbabwe:

April 30—True Mother's speech in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Friday, April 30th, was a smashing success. A very enthusiastic crowd of approximately 3,500 people warmly embraced our True Mother's talk after a rousing and very nice entertainment program. There were about 600 Christian ministers in attendance as well as a number of government officials and heads of NGOs. Many proclamations were presented, including one from the vice-president of Zimbabwe, one from his wife and one from his daughter. The former Minister of Science and Technology (now an MP) of Zambia gave an address in support of True Mother, as well.

As a result of Mother's inspiring talk, another church denomination, The Apostolic Faith Church, has decided to join our Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. This denomination has 30,000 members.

The Victory Celebration went very well this time in another room off of the main hall. There was a good telephone and video hookup with True Father. On the following morning we celebrated True Parents' 40th Wedding Anniversary with True Mother after a prolonged Hoon Dok Hae session.

Once again, we held a leaders meeting for all of the countries in the region to go over the guidelines for the 400 million couple Blessing next year. In attendance were representatives from Botswana, South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Namibia and Gabon.

Cotonou, Benin:

May 1—The Benin campaign started out very well with an official invitation from the government organized by one very outspoken lady cabinet minister who is close to President Kerekou. But only three days before the event a special ministerial meeting was called and the event was suddenly canceled. Our high level friends in Benin told us several things happened that lead to this. First, the 29 year old son of the lady minister who pushed for our invitation broke his leg in an accident in France and unexpectedly died during a simple operation because of heart failure. This took the lady minister completely out of public activity just before True Mother arrived. At the same time, some reports said France and one other European country put pressure on the Benin government to cancel the event. Thirdly, the Catholic church of Benin put pressure on members of the Benin government to cancel the event. Three days before True Mother was scheduled to speak, the Benin ministers met to discuss True Mother's visit. Without the presence of the Lady minister who moved for the event they gave in to pressure to cancel.

Rev. Cho reported that President Kerekou himself called later to say that he was not informed of the cancellation until the ministers had already made the announcement of cancellation through radio, TV and newspapers.

Our movement in Benin has several ministers and very high level government VIPs who are close to us but in recent parliamentary elections they were all defeated and will lose their positions in only a few days from now. That is another reason they did not have the ability to reverse the decision to cancel the official invitation.

Despite the official cancellation, 500 people showed up at the meeting hall where the meeting was originally supposed to take place. We could not go ahead and hold the meeting because it would look like we were defying the government's orders. So True Mother instructed that the Continental Director should organize a new meeting in which the president of WFWP in Benin will read True Mother's message.

In the meantime, True Mother did stop in Benin and held a meeting with more than 800 of our members in attendance. She spoke to and encouraged the members who were devastated by the government's decision and the members gave their wholehearted response to True Mother, making it a truly memorable occasion.

We also held a leaders meeting for the 400 Million Couple Blessing which included representatives from Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cameroon, Sao Tome, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Chad and Congo.

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