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ZPBA to facilitate the launch of the African Association of Plant Breeders
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The Zimbabwe Plant Breeders Association (ZPBA) is set to facilitate the launch of the African Association of Plant Breeders on 23 to 25 October, 2019 in Ghana, according to Dean Muungani, ZPBA President at the recent ZPBA annual event held in Mazowe, Zimbabwe under  the theme: ‘Unpacking Better Seeds for Sustainable Development.’

However, Muungani lamented over the low uptake after a call was made for abstracts to be submitted for the scheduled launch event. He said that only one applicant had made a submission and encouraged members of the association to make submissions.

The ZPBA is also planning to host its elective congress scheduled for January 2020.According to Muungani, it will also be an opportunity for new office bearers to be elected into office to champion to association to go forward.

The ZPBA is a registered trust, membership based, non-political and not-for-profit professional association of Zimbabweans based locally or abroad active or interested in plant breeding and related fields launched on the 26th of January, 2016 with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

According to Muungani, the related professionals include biotechnologists, geneticists, molecular biologists, seed technologists, seed agronomists, seed inspectors, genetic conservation specialists and  plant propagators, just to mention a few.

The main objectives of the association include promoting scientific plant breeding  and related research through discussion and communication, influencing  plant breeding training and education and contributing to continuing professional development of members so that they are technically up-to-date and remain relevant for their current and future employers both locally  and in the global village, promoting high standards of professional ethics among its members, representation of members’ interest and promoting interaction with the view to advancing the science and business of plant breeding.

 

 

 

Since its  inception the ZPBA has organised a number of seminars and workshops which include a seminar focussing on Genetically Modified Crops, ZPBA first anniversary event with Climate change themed presentations from various presenters. Facilitators were drawn from the Ministry of Environment, Water & Climate (MoEWC), FAO, CIMMYT, OXFAM, Seed Services, the Prof. Pangirayi Tongoona Symposium themed ‘From Art to Science in the Crop Seed Sector’ with several presentations from CIMMYT, Tobacco Research Board (TRB), and several ex Prof Tongoona students, the Demand-led Plant Breeding approaches training workshop at ACCI-UKZN made possible with external sponsorship, breeders Course on preparing and presenting variety release and supporting documents in Zimbabwe funded from member subscriptions  and the seminar on molecular breeding of soya-bean by Prof Kristin Bilyeu of USDA/ARS at the University of Zimbabwe  department  of Crop Science in  Harare, a seminar titled in search of excellence in agriculture research management in Africa by Professor Paramu Mafongoya of UKZN at the  University of Zimbabwe department  of Crop Science in Harare, breeders’ course on generation, analysis and interpretation of experimental and genetic designs applied to plant breeding, facilitated by Dr. Juan Burgueno and Dr. Fernando Toledo in Harare, seminar presentations by three UK visiting scientists- Professor Liz Baggs of University of Edinburgh, Dr Eric Paterson of the James Hutton Institute and Dr Lumbani Mwafulirwa of University of Edinburgh.

 

 

According to Muugani, the ZPBA is currently planning two events before the end of the year on the promotion of liming of soils, earmarked for some time in August/ September in Mhondoro.

“We are now moving from seminars and workshops to projects in the field. We hope more field projects will be implemented in future,” Muungani said.

 

The other event will involve a training course on variety screening and breeding for resistance to fall armyworm (FAW), which will include a field visit to Muzarabani.

Commenting on the recent meeting, Muungani said;

“The meeting which has largely been oversubscribed, is unique in that it brings a lot of diversity in terms of content, as past events were largely dominated by maize presentations, in terms of the breadth of institutions represented such as research, academia, farmers unions and   seed houses and the diversity of participants. This reflects growth on the part of the association”.

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Philanthropist, farmer challenge Zim govt ban of sale of maize
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Allan Norman Markham

Allan Norman Markham

A philantropist and a farmer in Zimbabwe have hauled Lands, Agriculture, Water,
Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Hon. Perrance Shiri and the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to court challenging the restrictive
measures banning the sale of maize grain in the country and giving the
state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB) a monopoly over trade in the
commodity.

In an application filed in the High Court recently, Hon. Allan
Markham, a philanthropist and Clever Rambanapasi, a farmer, argued
that Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019 Grain Marketing (Control of Sale
of Maize) Regulations, 2019, which was recently gazetted by government
had made GMB the sole trader of maize in the country and made it
illegal for people to trade in maize among themselves and banned the
transportation of more than five bags of maize grain except in
situations where one is delivering to the state-run body.

The regulations also empowered Zimbabwe Republic Police officers to
seize maize grain suspected of being moved without authority and
compliance with the law.

But through their lawyer Tendai Biti of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, Hon. Markham, who is a philanthropist who buys and sells maize
in communities to support many charities and Rambanapasi, a farmer
based in Murewa in Mashonaland East province, protested that through
the regulations, Hon. Shiri had set up a monopoly and a dangerous one
which bars anyone who trades in grain whether he or she is a buyer or
seller to only do so through the GMB and at a fixed price.

Hon. Markham and Rambanapasi charged that the consequences and effect
of the restrictive regulations and of declaring a product a controlled
one is drastic as it affects the contractual right of farmers and
traders of buying grain from any party or individual and has a serious
effect on livelihoods especially in rural communities where communal
farmers produce subsistence maize.
Rambanapasi, who runs a small piggery project in Murewa, argued that
maize is an essential ingredient in pig production and he buys the
grain from rural communities in various villages to feed his pigs
while Hon. Markham, who as a philanthropist supports some charities in
the country, said he buys maize from communal farmers, which he uses
to feed vulnerable communities in high density suburbs.

The duo said the regulations had affected people who engage in barter
trade in communities and had also affected the freedom to contract and
freedom to trade as professional millers, retailers and other
organisations and individuals, who previously had the right to buy
maize everywhere could no longer do so except from GMB.

Hon. Markham, who is also the legislator for Harare North constituency
and is an entrepreneur with extensive interest in the agriculture
sector and Rambanapasi said the restrictive regulations has an effect
on due process rights protected under Section 56 of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe of which both procedural and substantive due process
requires that one has notice, and one has choices and opportunities,
which have been taken away by Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019 Grain
Marketing (Control of Sale of Maize) Regulations, 2019.

The regulations on grain, Hon. Markham and Rambanapasi said, has the
effect of depriving one of his property and appropriating the same to
the GMB at a price that is already fixed and does not make economic
sense.

Hon. Markham and Rambanapasi want Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019
Grain Marketing (Control of Sale of Maize) Regulations, 2019 to be
declared as ultra vires the Constitution in particular Section 56, 58,
64 and 71 of the Constitution.

The philanthropist and farmer also want Part V and Part VI of the
Grain Marketing Board Act particularly Section 29, 33,34,35 to be
declared ultra vires Section 56, 58, 64 and 71 of the Constitution.

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Mozambique: Eni starts the installation of the hull of Coral Sul FLNG
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

Eni has started installation works on the hull of the Coral Sul floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) treatment and liquefaction unit that will be moored offshore in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. The unit is part of the Coral South project, which will put in production 450 billion cubic meters of gas from the giant Coral reservoir. The hull is expected to be launched in 2020, in line with the planned production startup of the Coral South Project in 2022.

The italian company sanctioned its Coral South project in June 2017 and achieved financial close for a total amount of around $4.7 billion for the Coral South FLNG multi-sourced project financing in December 2017.

The Coral Sul FLNG facility will have a gas liquefaction capacity of 3.4 million tons per year when completed and will be the first FLNG vessel ever to be deployed in the deep waters of the African continent. The vessel, which will be 432 metres long and 66 metres wide and weigh about 220,000 tons, will be able to house up to 350 people in its eight-storey accommodation module.

Alongside the LNG infrastructure under construction, the Coral South project also includes a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the overall capabilities of the local workforce. These include specialized training activities for over 800 Mozambicans, who will eventually be employed during the operational phase of the project.

Eni is planning to anchor a second FLNG vessel using gas from the northern part of the Coral field, which is estimated to hold 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, but FID on that project is not expected until after 2020.

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COMESA to host regional climate resilience meeting in Zambia
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara

COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara

More than 48 senior government officials from Ministries responsible for planning, agriculture, environment, health, disaster management and mitigation units from 17 COMESA Member countries will meet in Lusaka on 23-24 July 2019 to discuss the regional resilience initiative on climate change, which was launched in 2017.

The meeting aims at supporting Member States to strengthen their policy and coordination mechanisms and develop national resilience policies and implementation frameworks. These will serve as national guiding documents to resilience building and project implementation at Member State level.

Speaking in Lusaka, ahead of the meeting, the COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara, observed that most COMESA Member States have a fragmented and haphazard approach to managing risks, shocks and stresses which has proved to be ineffective as the magnitude of loss and damage continues to escalate in the region.

“Governments find themselves diverting resources allocated to much needed developmental projects and programmes to deal with the effects of the disasters thereby trapping many in a vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment,” he said. “Furthermore, natural and economic systems are interconnected at the national and regional levels, hence impact on one affects the others.”

Most COMESA countries are vulnerable and face similar threats of climate change and droughts, flooding, industrial shocks, extreme rainfall and disease outbreaks, wars and civil unrest among others.

To attain its regional integration goals, many systems in the region (such as shared water courses, energy, transport, communications and financial systems) must be interconnected. This therefore puts COMESA and other Regional Economic Communities in a better position to support resilience building in the region.

The COMESA region is vulnerable to climate change and other natural and manmade disasters and shocks such as cyclones, flooding, landslides, droughts, disease epidemics, heat waves, wars, civil unrest, among others. Recently, the region experienced devastating cyclones Idai and   Kenneth that affected Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe causing more than 1,000 deaths, infrastructure and property damage running into billions of dollars with 90% of the key port city of Beira submerged for weeks. At the same time, the worst drought in many decades, led to a significant reduction in the water level at lake Kariba severely curtailing hydroelectric power generation leading to massive power cuts in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe scientists use geospatial mapping technology to predict pending disasters
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Professor Amon Murwira

Professor Amon Murwira

After Cyclone Idai ravaged southern Africa, killing at least 1,000 people, Zimbabwe’s scientific community is actively using   geospatial mapping technology to better predict future disasters.

The cyclone hit southern African countries including Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, at least 268 people were killed and many are still missing. Local scientists hope that despite lags in scientific advancement, their use of geospatial technology and space technology will allow them to foresee climate-induced risks and disasters.

Amon Murwira, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development, confirmed the country’s use of science and technology to guard Zimbabwe from climate shocks.

This includes the use of High Performance Computing (HPC), geospatial and space technology. Murwira said that local scientists were conducting Cyclone Idai impact assessments using color-coded geospatial and space technology.

“Zimbabwe is suffering from climate shocks such as drought, floods and disease outbreaks, we can guard Zimbabwe from these shocks in future using science and technology,” professor Murwira said.

In cyclone-hit areas like Ngangu, a suburb in Chimanimani, Professor Murwira said that scientists were already using data analysis. The government-sponsored scientists were also trying to  help locate and retrieve  several corpses which were buried underground during the devastating cyclone.

The scientists are modeling areas anticipated to be high-risk using geospatial mapping to help them prepare for future disasters.

Professor Murwira said that scientists in cyclone-hit areas were starting to predict future malaria outbreaks and mapping vegetation density using the same geo-spatial and space technology.

 

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Video reveals violent methods used by Government Forces to combat extremist attacks in northern Mozambique
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

A video that is circulating on social networks shows elements dressed with the uniform of the Defense Forces of Mozambique, FADM, torturing a supposed civilian, in the scope of the fight against the extremist attacks that since October of 2017 terrorize the province of Cabo Delgado, in the extreme north of Mozambique.

In the images, it is possible to see the soldiers whipping the victim supposedly because he did not give a satisfactory answer when asked about what he was doing in the vicinity of that military position. One of the uniformed men suggested that the victim should be shot while another was searching for water, probably for the practice of torture known as water boarding.

The video was picked up by one of the FADM military on one of the patrol rounds against the extremist attackers and that, in fact, it is their modus operandis, according to local reports. There are also reports of kidnappings of merchants in the areas of the attacks allegedly because they are believed to be feeding the attackers.

In late 2018, human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and summary executions of dozens of individuals suspected of belonging to armed groups.

The situation prompted divergent comments on social networks with one wing condemning the use of aggressive methods by the FADM while another encouraged by the argument that the attackers have also been barbaric in their incursions that have already resulted in the murder of more than 200 people, mostly civilians, as well as the burning of dwellings, the ambush of vehicles, the plunder of public and private property.

Recently, the Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, classified the attacks as <acts of terrorism> and ensured that the Defense and Security Forces will continue on the ground to fight, without respite, and will not rest until peace is restored.

The attacks occur near one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves located in the deep waters of the Rovuma basin, which covers the northern Mozambican-Tanzania border.

Several oil giants, notably Italy’s ENI and the US-based Anadarko and ExxonMobil, are preparing to extract natural gas in a process that will cause the country’s economy to grow sharply.

The National Petroleum Institute of Mozambique admits being worried about the violence considering that the situation should be controlled “as soon as possible” to facilitate the development of the projects.

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Ebola outbreak declared global emergency
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The World Health Organization, WHO has declared Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a “public health emergency of international concern”.

The outbreak which has killed more than 1,600 people in the DRC alone has devastated West Africa since the outbreak in 2016.

But the WHO stopped short of saying borders should be closed, saying the risk of the disease spreading outside the region was not high.

“It is time for the world to take notice,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday at which the emergency was declared.

He said he accepted recommendations there should be no restrictions on travel or trade, and no entry screening of passengers at ports or airports outside the immediate region.

Reacting to the declaration, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said they welcomed the move.

“While it does not change the reality on the ground for victims or partners engaged in the response, we hope it will bring the international attention that this crisis deserves,” it said in a statement.

The outbreak in the DRC, is the second largest in history with more than 2,500 people infected and two-thirds of them declared died.

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EU earmarks €30 million for a cross-regional wildlife conservation programme in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The European Union (EU) has launched  three projects under the EU 11th EDF Cross-Regional Wildlife Conservation programme in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, according Timo Olkkonen, Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Zimbabwe.

According to Olkkonen, the three initiatives the EU is currently implementing in Zimbabwe are to protect and promote the country’s marvellous biodiversity endowment.

“Indeed Zimbabwe’s natural riches are not only something for the Zimbabweans themselves to cherish, but they form part of a world heritage. It is something truly worth protecting,” he said.

He also highlighted on the conclusions of the latest UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services assessment report, in which researchers report that 1 million species are threatened with extinction and global biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented speed and that 75% of the earth’s land surface has been significantly altered.

“Pressure from human population growth is creating more demand for energy and resources,” Olkkonen said.

He added that the EU is putting a lot of effort in promoting a culture of sustainable development with particular focus on climate and environment action at every level, be it global, regional, national and local.

According to the Ambassador, the EU has had a leading role in the global efforts to tackle climate change and the recent European Parliament elections testified that Europeans want further serious action in this field.

At global level the European Commission launched in November 2015 the study “Larger than Elephants: Inputs for an EU Strategic Approach to Wildlife Conservation in Africa” as part of the EU’s flagship initiative Biodiversity for Life which promotes coherence and coordination of EU actions in the area of biodiversity and ecosystems

The Larger than Elephants approach addresses the illegal trade in wildlife and reviews strategies for stopping the killing, the trafficking and the demand for wildlife products.

The dominant theme is that in order to exploit economies of scale, hence enhance wildlife conservation efficiency, Africa needs to focus on regional conservation strategies.

The Ambassador highlighted the importance of transfrontier conservation areas, a well-developed model embraced by SADC, through signed Protocols on Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement among bordering countries, which promotes transboundary collaboration in the management of the shared biodiversity, including ecosystems, river basins and watersheds.

He said that another EU policy worthwhile to mention is the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, adopted in 2016, which spells out priority activities to halt the impact of wildlife crime on ecosystems and on economies affected directly or indirectly by the increase in wildlife crime.

“I want to assure you that these two global EU policies in the wildlife sector are supported by a significant amount of funding,” he said.

He added that the EU had taken action to support biodiversity conservation, both within local boundaries and internationally, with the commitment of more than €500 million in Africa over the past 30 years.

It is reported that the current portfolio of on-going projects amounts to approximately €160 million and during 2014-2020 the EU had invested €710 million in wildlife conservation across Africa. The introduction is over; we are now diving into the meat of the matter.

“The 3 projects launched are just a fraction of the offspring generated by the Cross-Regional Wildlife Conservation (CRWC) programme I mentioned,” he said.

It is reported that elements of transfrontier conservation areas establishment and operation extend from the highest level down to the grassroots at community level, the keystone for the success of any conservation programme.

“Communities are in fact the core beneficiaries of these projects as we believe they play a critical role in the sustainable management of natural resources,” he added.

The EU ambassador said that from their own experience on the ground, supported by a number of reputable studies and research, they can realistically state that communities are the first line of defence against poaching, human wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trafficking and land degradation.

“We are not reinventing the wheel, we are actually reinforcing what this country audaciously conceived in the ’80 with the CAMPFIRE programme,” he said.

“I also have to say that communities’ critical role in wildlife conservation was vocally expressed by all participating heads of state at the recent Wildlife Economy Summit in Victoria Falls,” he said.

The ambassador said that the objective of the three projects is common such as to enhance community based cross-border cooperation on natural resources management, with a particular attention to wildlife conservation in terms of anti-poaching and human wildlife conflict and illegal wildlife trafficking mitigation.

“However, we cannot take communities’ assistance and loyalty for granted, we need to give them a voice in the decision making process and an incentive to support wildlife conservation as an economically viable and competitive land use option,” he added.

He said that the three  projects represent an effort to specifically empower communities voice their minds, actively participate in the decision making process and build the necessary technical and business management capacity to enable them generate viable and sustainable livelihoods.

 

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Government of Zimbabwe supports forestry sector practitioners to develop low carbon emission initiatives
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Lawrence Mashungu

Lawrence Mashungu

The Government of Zimbabwe in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Russian Trust Fund has began an initiative  on the harmonization of the tertiary education curriculum for Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) and Measurement Reporting and Verification (MRV) Training in Zimbabwe’s Forestry Sector.

According to Mr Lawrence Mashungu from the Climate Change Management Department speaking on behalf of Mr  Washington Zhakata, Director for the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement at a  workshop on the harmonization of curriculum for low emission development strategy and measurement reporting and verification training in Zimbabwe’s forestry sector held in Harare on 17 to 18 July, 2019, the government of Zimbabwe is implementing a programme, Support Towards Implementing Zimbabwe’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement on climate change (STIZ-NDC) with support from the UNDP-Russian Trust Fund which aims to develop the Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) in order to provide clear direction for low emission development and to build a functional, effective and sustainable domestic Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system for tracking low emission development in Zimbabwe.

“To facilitate effective and sustainable implementation of the Low Emission Development Strategy   in Zimbabwe, capacity building for developing viable low emission development projects and MRV systems of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions is necessary. This can only be achieved through a well-structured forestry education curriculum that clearly articulates climate change mitigation issues and the Low Emission Development Strategy,” Mr Mashungu said.

Following a training on improved Tools and Methodologies for Measurement Reporting and Verification  Systems based on International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodologies conducted on the 5h to the 9th of November 2018 at the Zimbabwe Institute for Public Administration and Management (ZIPAM), the need to develop a tertiary education curriculum that will ensure that future forestry practitioners have skills, knowledge, and attitudes to sustain the objectives of the LEDS and MRV for GHGs in the forestry sector was identified.

It is reported that inclusion of aspects of Low Emission Development Strategy and Measurement Reporting and Verification  for Green House Gas (GHG) emission in the forestry curriculum will enhance capacity for sector institutions to effectively implement the Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) including Measurement Reporting and Verification  for Green House Gas emissions.

“This will also enhance work under the National Communications Office reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” Mr Mashungu said.

Mr Mashungu said that the project also aims at facilitating partnerships with investors and companies including Russian business actors and the academic institutions in order to open up investments, collaborations and technological exchange for low emission development.

The training workshop was attended by practitioners and students from universities in Zimbabwe and forestry sector institutions.

The   training focused on review of the curricula offered in institutions awarding forestry qualifications based on   guidelines for developing training materials, identifying information gaps in view of low emission development strategy and green house gas emissions accounting concepts and the designing of an appropriate curriculum outline that addresses identified gaps for low emission development strategy and green house gas emissions accounting concepts.

Following the training, w workshop report  is expected to be produced itemizing gaps in the tertiary forestry curriculum, capacity requirements for low emission development strategy and green house gas accounting and a detailed curriculum outline that addresses the identified gaps.

There are also plans for the production of a draft curriculum for circulation and adoption of the curriculum in the institutions and implementations time frames.

It is reported that the process will take about a year comprising a series of meetings initiated by respective forestry departments at the academic institutions with involvement of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE), the coordinating body of all universities in the country.

 

 

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AFCON 2019: Algeria crowned Champions of Africa
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

The 2019 edition of the Africa cup of Nations has been won by the Desert Foxes of Algeria, a second crown in their history. Algeria defeated the Teranga lions of Senegal by a goal to nil thanks to a second minute strike from Baghdad Bounedjah, in the final of the AFCON played at the Cairo International stadium July 19, 2019.

Chances in the game were few and far between an ill-tempered affair as Algeria withstood almost constant pressure and also saw a Senegal penalty awarded overturned by the Video Assistant Referee, VAR.

Algeria’s only victory until now in the competition was back in 1990. Some 29 years to this day. Before reaching the final, the team defeated Nigeria 2-1 after outsmarting Ivory Coast in the quarter finals.

For Senegal, the wait is still on for their maiden title. The team can however take solace to having reached the final but just fell short of clinching it. Congratulations have been extended to their coach Aliou Cisse for having guided the team to such a level.

Algeria succeeds Cameroon as the best team in Africa with Cameroon eliminated in the round of 16. Their next challenge will be that of defending the trophy during the AFCON 2021 that will be hosted by Cameron.

For star forward Riyad Mahrez, this victory in the AFCON goes to add to his numerous titles won for his club side Manchester City in England. The player has so far won five titles to close the football season.

Algeria and Senegal’s meeting in the final created a huge milestone for local coaches. Two local coaches were competition for the Holy Grail of African football, with one joining the prestigious list of African coaches to have won the competition.

After 32 editions of the competition, it was only the fifth time two African coaches have met at the AFCON finals. Just four times before the final was an All African affair. In 1962 hosts Ethiopia coached by legend Yidnekatchew Tessema won their first (and only to date) AFCON title, defeating Egypt 4-2 in the final. The Pharaohs were then coached by the duet of Mohamed El Guindy and Hanafy Bastan.

Ghana won the 1965 edition, beating hosts Tunisia 3-2. The Black Stars coach Charles Gyamfi had his second successive AFCON glory then, defeating Tunisian counterpart Mokhtar Ben Nacef. Another Ghanaian, Fred Ousam-Duodu led the Black stars to the 1978 title at home, defeating Uganda led by local legend Pete Okee 2-0 in the final.

And in 1998, Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary became the first man to win AFCON as a player (1959) and coach. He guided the Pharaohs to their fourth title in Burkina Faso, defeating South Africa, coached by local icon Jomo Sono 2-0 in the final.

Overall, 11 local coaches had won 15 AFCON titles in the previous 31 editions. Ghana’s Gyamfi and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata had each won record three titles, Nigerian Stephen Keshi won it in 2013. Djamel Belmadi now joins the illustrious Africans to have won the award.

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Book on Zimbabwe’s frequently asked questions about climate change launched
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Climate Change Management Department director Washington Zhakata

Climate Change Management Department director Washington Zhakata

A booklet titled: Zimbabwe’s frequently asked questions about climate change has been launched in Zimbabwe with support from partners involved in assisting the country to combat the climate change crisis.

According to Mr Washington Zhakata, Director, Climate Change Management Department in the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement the initiative was started by author Anna Brazier and supported by the Konrad Adenuer Stiftung (KAS).It   saw the first version of the book being published before being reviewed  by several eminent authors from Zimbabwe’s top universities, captains of industry and government departments.

Highlighting on the importance of the book, Mr Zhakata said that whilst much of the climate discussions have been confined to teak-furnished and air-conditioned boardrooms, rural folks who constitute the majority of the population in Zimbabwe have largely been excluded from the climate discussion.

“This is partly due to language issues, complexity of the subject and poor infrastructure including energy and communication,” he said.

Mr Zhakata added that most experts, including government officials at provincial, districts and ward levels have difficulties in translating climate issues into the languages spoken by people they serve.

He said that sometimes it is   really not necessary for the officials including extension staff to be bogged down by translation issues which come at the expense of implementation of the climate issues.

“The use of vernacular therefore becomes critical,” Zhakata added.

He added that as the government prepares to implement devolved programming and devolution approach to work, it is   critical for the climate resources including information, education and communication material on the climate change subject to be in local languages which people are comfortable with.

Zhakata added that this necessitated the translation of the booklet which empowers people, especially the rural folks with information and knowledge on climate change

According to Zhakata, people in the rural areas are often accused of being primitive and relying more on their traditional beliefs, indigenous knowledge and spiritual beliefs.

“These are sometimes problematic when trying to manage climate change issues such as evacuations ahead of disasters, departure from historical ways of doing things such as planting dates, times to be working in the fields amongst others,” he said.

He said that one of the reasons for the so called resistance to change is simply lack of information.

He says that the booklet will   provide quick answers to people’s frequently asked questions on climate change.

It also   provides local insight of Zimbabwe’s climate priority areas, impacts as well as interventions that can be

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Mozambique: Opposition candidate facing pre-election death threats and intimidation
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
Manuel de Araújo

Manuel de Araújo

The main opposition candidate in a landmark election for the governorate position of Zambézia province in central Mozambique is facing death threats and intimidation ahead of the October vote, Amnesty International said today.
Manuel de Araújo is the candidate for the main opposition party Mozambique National Resistance’s (RENAMO); he is currently the mayor of Quelimane. The 15 October vote is contentious as it will be the first time that a governor is chosen by the electorate, previously the position was filled by presidential appointment.
“These pre-election intimidation tactics are a terrible reminder of what tends to happen during elections in Mozambique; death threats and intimidation. We have witnessed this grim pattern time and time again as political leaders are harassed and even killed for their critical views,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.
“Elections should never be deadly, because after all it’s a battle of ideas. Violence has no place.”
Araújo received the latest anonymous letter on 10 July. The letter reminded him that he had been previously warned not to stand for the opposition party. It said he should be careful because he would be killed for standing for election. The letter was sent to his office and later printed and posted in local markets. It was also circulated on social media.
Prior to the October 2018 municipal elections – in which Araújo won the position of Mayor of Queliminane – he also received several intimidating and anonymous messages discouraging him from running. Araújo has consistently spoken out against corruption at the provincial and national level, making him a target of political attacks. On 27 September 2016, during the previous administration, a member of the ruling Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) party in the municipal assembly of Quelimane threatened him during a session, saying that “the mayor deserves a bullet in his head”.
Politics – a dangerous game in Mozambique
 
Araújo is not the first leader within the main opposition RENAMO party to receive death threats this year. In May, Paulo Vahanle, the mayor of Nampula, also received a message instructing him to leave his position as the mayor, or else he would lose his life. He was told that the position he was occupying had an “owner”.
Paulo himself won a by-election in Nampula in January 2018, held after the murder of the former mayor, Mahamudo Amurane, member of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) in October 2017.
Timeline of recent political murders and attempted murders
 
On 4 October 2017, an unidentified gunman assassinated the then Mayor of Nampula City, Mahamudo Amurane, at his home. Since his election as Mayor of Nampula in 2013, Mahamudo Amurane had embarked on a public quest to root out corruption in the city’s administration and revitalize public infrastructure.
On 8 October 2016, Jeremias Pondeca, a senior RENAMO member and part of the mediation team seeking to end the clashes between his party and the government, was shot dead in Maputo by unknown men, at least some of whom are suspected to be security officers.
On 16 January 2016, Manuel Bissopo, the then Secretary General of RENAMO, was shot and severely wounded by unknown assailants as he travelled in his car in Beira city, in Sofala province. His bodyguard died following the shooting. The incident took place hours after a news conference in which Bissopo had accused state security forces of abducting and killing members of his party.
Amnesty International is very concerned that the continued impunity for such crimes creates an environment of public fear and insecurity in which political opponents are dissuaded from participating in politics.
“Mozambican authorities must launch an independent and effective investigation into the allegations of death threats and intimidation and bring suspected perpetrators to justice,” said Deprose Muchena.
“Beyond that, authorities must guarantee the rights to freedom of association and expression ahead of the country’s general election in October, and beyond. Participation in the country’s politics should not expose anyone to the risk of death.”
Background
 
Mozambicans will vote in presidential and provincial elections scheduled for 15 October 2019. While provincial governors were previously appointed by the president, through a patronage system, it will be the first time that they are directly elected through elections this year.
*Amnesty International
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