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Land Reform Isn’t a Threat, South Africa’s Ramaphosa Tells White Afrikaners
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments
Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa

CAPE TOWN (REUTERS) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the white Afrikaner community on Thursday that it should not view his government’s land reform plans as a threat, but as a way to harness the country’s economic potential and heal divisions from the past.

 Ramaphosa, who replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma in February, has promised to redistribute land to the black majority to address the deep racial inequality that persists more than two decades after the end of apartheid.
 He has been at pains to dispel fears among some white South Africans that they could face violent land seizures if the government’s land reform program is bungled.

“Tonight I want to say to all of you: Let us not see the issue of land as a reason to pack up and go,” Ramaphosa told a gathering of the Afrikanerbond, an organization founded 100 years ago to defend the interests of the descendants of mainly Dutch settlers.

 “It is an opportunity to build a more just and equitable society that makes full and effective use of the resources we have,” Ramaphosa said, peppering his speech with phrases in Afrikaans, Afrikaners’ mother tongue.

Ramaphosa has embarked on a charm offensive ahead of next year’s national election as he seeks to restore confidence in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and kick-start economic growth after a decade marred by corruption and mismanagement.

The ANC has faced criticism that its land policies could erode property rights and deter investment, even though privately owned land is not expected to be expropriated until after the election.

Ramaphosa, who played a key role in the negotiations that led to the end of white minority rule in 1994, on Thursday urged Afrikaners to approach land reform in the same spirit as the transition to democracy.

“You are Africans, and we must accept that,” he said, ending his speech to applause from the crowd. “Afrikaners are as integral to the South African nation as any other community that we have.”

 *Reuters/US News
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USAID avail funds community-based HIV Services in Namibia
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Former US President George W. Bush greets children at a school in Gaborone, Botswana

Former US President George W. Bush greets children at a school in Gaborone, Botswana

Windhoek – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) continues to support relentless effort by the Namibian Government and its local partners to curb the further spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic.

It is estimated that 250 000 people in the southern African nation are HIV positive.USAID this week announced N$32 million partnership with a community-based network to expand community-based HIV treatment among its affiliate organisation.

TONATA Network comprises over 600 community support groups representing 17,300 Namibians living with HIV.

The five-year partnership with funding provided by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will support Community-Based ART Refill Groups in high-burden areas of north-central Namibia to decrease the workload of health workers and overcrowding in health facilities by reducing the number of visits by Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) patients.

With the financial assistance from USAID, HIV patients will no more travel long distances to collect their medications at public health centers.

“Instead of visiting clinics individually to collect their medication, Community-Based ART Refill Groups send one representative to collect pre-packed antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) from the nearest health facility for all group members,” said acting USAID Country Representative Edith Humphreys.

“This not only saves time, but also reduces transport costs and other logistical challenges, especially for minors and the elderly.

“Most importantly, community members experience a sense of togetherness and help each other to remember to take their medication regularly and on time.

“This is crucial because in order to suppress the virus, prevent it from being spread to others, and lead healthy lives, PLHIV need to take ART medicine daily”.

USAID chose to partner TONATA due to its years of experience in working hand in hand with local communities, and the partnership will brings HIV treatment closer to the people even in the most remote areas.

She said USAID has worked with the community-based network on small-scale projects since 2009 and Humphreys believes that local solutions from community support groups will sustain HIV epidemic control into the future.

“Namibia’s National HIV/AIDS program, with over a decade of experience, has significantly scaled up HIV treatment with good, clinical outcomes. PEPFAR assistance supports continuous training, mentoring, and supervision of support groups to make it more convenient for stable patients to receive their medicines at their doorstep. This service is expected to grow from what is currently only 1,600 to over 37,500 ART patients across multiple regions,” said the USAID official.

PEPFAR is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international health initiative – a comprehensive approach to combating HIV/AIDS and TB around the world.

PEPFAR, in Namibia is led by the U.S. Ambassador and programmed by an inter-agency management team that includes the USAID, Peace Corps, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But despite progress made, Namibia is yet to attain the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Global Fast Track targets aimed at ensuring that HIV is suppressed by 2020.

The 90-90-90 is an ambitious global treatment target by the UNAIDS to ensure that 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their status, that 90 per cent of them receive sustained ARTs and that 90 per cent of that population have a suppressed viral load.

Data from the Ministry of Health and Social Services indicate that only about 78%  or 243 000 of the targeted 90 per cent of undiagnosed people are aware of their HIV status so far.

“There is a gap between the targeted number and what the survey found so far and this is why the ministry decided to revise the guidelines, which will now target a greater population of men and young women,” Anne-Marie Nitschke, the director of Special Programmes in the health ministry.

The ministry on Wednesday launched the revised National Guidelines on HIV Testing Services (HTS).Nitschke emphasized that the revision of the HTS Guidelines was necessitated by the need to move away from emergency response programming to a more sustainable and evidence-based one.

“Its main goal is also to ensure early identification of as many people as possible with HIV and effectively linking them to prevention, care and treatment services,” said the health official.

Health deputy minister Juliet Kavetuna highlighted that the Namibian Government has committed to not only increasing testing coverage for the population, but also prioritised on strategies and testing initiatives that will identify people living with undiagnosed HIV.

“We all know that the HTS uptake coverage has significantly increased over the years and so have different types of testing models, which have evolved from traditional stand-alone voluntary counseling and testing to a mixture of models, including index partner testing,” Kavetuna said, while launching the revised the HTS Guidelines.

The health ministry has also expressed concern regarding high prevalence HIV across the country. The Zambezi region in extreme north-east tops the least of Namibians testing HIV-positive with 23.5% of prevalence rate.

Omusati region in north-central is second with 17.4% followed by Kavango East and West region in north-east at 17%.

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NO EASY WALK TO FREE , FAIR ELECTIONS IN ZIM ….as Emmerson Mnangagwa plays skull-doggery political tactics in the subterranean .
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

By NEVSON MPOFU*

President Emmerson-Mnangagwa

President Emmerson-Mnangagwa

HARARE———–Political sentiments vociferated in the chagrin of elections set for 30 July in Zimbabwe have shown volatile signs of not being free, fair and legitimately credible elections. A press briefing held by Human Rights Watch in Harare simply display ZANU PF’s skullduggery political tactics meant to dig for election rigging under the ground.

‘’Human Rights Watch and some political critics have unearthed Emmerson  Mnangagwa’s psychological warfare in stealth manner meant to steal the election.’’

‘’The voters role is kept secret , unaudited and imagine 7 days left before court nomination due on 14 June  . Electoral Laws are against this manner . And the opposition is caught unaware , only to be announced that elections are on the 30 of July .

‘’ How are we to account for transparency of the on-coming elections if the voters role is kept secret ? Only little time is left if they are any anomalies? .

‘’People are stealthily blind folded under carpet in the limited space of time before July 30 . ZANU PF  is stealing the vote for its side . These elections are not going to be free , fair , transparent and credible .

The angry , fair tongue speaker addressing a pack of Journalists , Tamuka Charles Chirimambowa , Executive Secretary of the Institute of Public Affairs in Zimbabwe pointed out that , Munangagwa turning to be quiet , un talking  and  pretending to observe human rights does not mean elections  will be free , fair and credible . He bares out that this is  just a political paradigm shift .

‘’Its just a new twist in politics, where in psychological warfare .Mnangagwa is no more with the old tactics of ZANU PF  during Robert Mugabe’s regime .

‘’People are perceiving no violence in elections and no manipulation like the old system but , this is the new rigging system which is practiced secretly , in silence studying minds of the people .

‘ , Yes , there are Demos , all around , but what are we saying about the voters role according to the Electoral Act of Zimbabwe ? asked Tamuka .

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Director , Dhewa Mavhunga  adding on to the sentiments said lack of reforms , security  force involvement  in the Electoral process , abusive Laws remaining in effect , and violence and intimidation by the ruling party  all contribute to an environment  that is not conducive to free and fair elections .

‘’We have not reached a comment stage where we can pre-declare , free , fair elections .  As Mnangagwa plays the ball silently , carried interviews country wide , found that security  involvement in the electoral process , abusive laws remaining in effect , violence and intimidation by the ruling party  all create an environment volatile to free , fair credible polls .

‘’Mugabe  needs to go beyond mere rhetoric and take genuine steps  to level the playing field for all parties , he said .

Pedzisai Ruhanya  of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute talked of 3 main Laws which need to be touched on . These repressive laws are the Access to Information and the Protection of Privacy Act , [AIPPA]Public Order and Security Act [POSA]  and the Criminal Law[Codification and Reform Act].He also touched on what Human Rights Watch found out in the rural and farming communities and the wrong path ZEC is taking .

‘’As long as the 3 laws are not revisited, we see a situation where by all is not well. We have no free, fair elections in the country because police  and Army conduct is contained by those laws , that is if they are repealed or revised .

‘’Human Rights Watch reports wide spread intimidation , harassments and threats of violence in ZANU PF supporters , but remember we are left with less than two months to go for elections .ZEC up to now has not demonstrated Independence or impartiality .

‘’ At least 15% of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s secretariat are former military officials backing Emmerson Mnangagwa . Definitely, we have no free , fair and credible elections , he concluded .

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The United States is punishing Rwanda for rejecting our old jeans and T-shirts. It’s a shortsighted move
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

By 

File picture from a meeting between Rwanda's Paul Kagame and President Tump.It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying says Grant Harris

File picture from a meeting between Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and President Tump.It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying says Grant Harris

Rwandans would like to wean themselves from American hand-me-downs, and the United States wants to punish them for it. Last week, the Trump administration suspended duty-free access to U.S. markets for Rwandan clothing. This may sound like inconsequential news, compared with the prospect of a trade war with China, the European Union or our Canadian neighbors, but the move follows a dangerous trend of disregard for Africa. And it’s not just Africans who will suffer: Neglecting the continent will foreclose trade opportunities, harm U.S. companies and, ultimately, cost U.S. jobs.

Rwanda and several of its neighbors recently introduced tariffs on used clothing in an attempt to bolster the local apparel industry. In response, a U.S. trade group filed a complaint, claiming that the new tariffs violate the terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which requires participating countries to reduce trade barriers for U.S. goods. Unlike its neighbors, Rwanda stayed the course. The administration has every right to retaliate under the terms of the act — but the move is inconsistent and shortsighted.

For a start, the administration can hardly claim to be acting on principle. More than 100 countries benefit from U.S. trade preference programs without returning the favor. Florie Liser, former assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa, notes that countries like India and Brazil, which are major exporters to the United States under the program known as the Generalized System of Preferences, “ship a lot more to us than Rwanda, yet have significant barriers to U.S. trade.” The selective decision to retaliate against Rwanda not only adds to the general trade turmoil damaging U.S. standing overseas but also is seen as a particular snub of Africa, where President Trump’s derogatory comments about its countries have not been forgotten.

The administration can’t claim to be protecting a vital American industry, either. The complaints of the used-clothing association — that Rwandan tariffs would have a negative impact on up to 40,000 U.S. jobs — are unsubstantiated. Rwanda, a country of approximately 12.5 million people, imported $17 million in used clothing in 2016, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. The clothes are primarily donations to organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill, bought by members of the trade group that lodged the complaint, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, and resold in Africa. Rwandan vendors sell them in market stalls.

Rwanda’s motivations are as much about dignity as they are about economics. Just as China recently banned imports of “foreign garbage” that it used to buy and recycle, Rwanda is taking a stand against the perceived indignity of buying clothes that others have worn and discarded. It would be a different story if Rwandans were rejecting icons of American ingenuity and enterprise, like cutting-edge medical devices or mobile technologies. But they’re not; they’re rejecting our hand-me-downs. The White House fails to grasp that, as well as the bigger picture for the United States. It’s not just Rwanda — the president is picking fights with trading partners old and new over relatively small amounts of U.S. imports and exports and with little regard for the long-term consequences. As relationships fray — even longtime allies feel under duress — the price to the United States rises; the country will pay not just in self-inflicted economic harm but also in diminished global leadership and reduced support for its national security priorities.

Banning used clothes is not enough to build Rwanda’s domestic textile and apparel industry, especially given competition from cheap Chinese imports of ready-made clothing. But there is a certain irony in Trump punishing Rwanda for protecting domestic manufacturing in what really is a Rwandan version of “America First.” More to the point, the United States ought to be supporting countries that pursue economic growth and development plans — not just because it is the right thing to do but also because the vitality of the U.S. economy depends on whether we have markets for our goods and services.

Until recently, supporting African economic growth was a key piece of U.S.-Africa policy. For instance, building on the African Growth and Opportunity Act’s strong legacy of bipartisan support, President Barack Obama launched the Trade Africa initiative to support regional economic integration and work toward a more reciprocal trade relationship. But the suspension of access for Rwandan apparel reinforces the sad truth that the Trump administration has no vision for trade with Africa. And there is no question that U.S. businesses will suffer as a result. Africa represents the last frontier for America’s export-driven economy, with consumer and business spending predicted to reach $6.7 trillion by 2030. A U.S. government report released last week cited motor vehicles, poultry and refined petroleum products among various sectors, as well as a range of services, with the potential for greater American exports to sub-Saharan Africa.

The United States misses a larger opportunity by engaging in petty trade squabbles and generally neglecting the continent. While it is true that the Trump administration maintains that it supports more reciprocal trade relationships with African states and has been studying trade and investment potential in certain African markets, advancing a strategic economic partnership with Africa requires more than talk. Actions — like threatening the funding of government agencies that support U.S. companies investing in Africa, leaving key ambassadorships vacant and deprioritizing trade programs — speak louder than words.

Meanwhile, other economies are making aggressive commercial plays in Africa. China has been Africa’s leading trade partner for the last nine years; trade scuffles like this one with Rwanda can only further drive African states into China’s open arms. Nor is it just China — the European Union has been actively traveling the region, signing two-way trade agreements that will disadvantage American companies far more than any tariffs on secondhand clothing.

It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying.

 *Washington Post/APO.Grant T. Harris is CEO of Harris Africa Partners. He was senior director for Africa at the White House from 2011 to 2015.

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Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (3)
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

After Fleeing from the Marauders – Refugee Stories

By Solomon Ngu*

The Humanitarian crisis has attained alarming proportions tens of thousands displaced from their homes

The Humanitarian crisis has attained alarming proportions tens of thousands displaced from their homes

Why the Biya government decided to launch war in the countryside, I suspect, was because he feared a Maoist-style revolution whereby villages mobilize enough fighters who eventually move en masse to capture the cities. Whether the government is succeeding in this or not is questionable. What we know is that some of the villages in the countryside have, through guerrilla tactics, put up strong and unbelievable resistance to the government forces. The Fighters are currently talking of cruising into Buea irrespective of whether they control the countryside or not. I must stress that the government forces barely occupy deserted portions of the villages; they haven’t captured any territory through combat. Those in the occupied parts of the countryside are living in the forests, have fled to unaffected villages or the city.

Photos and videos depicting the living conditions of Anglophone refugees in Nigeria and those living in the forests in Cameroon circulate daily on social media. Despite their condition, they – especially those living in the forests in Cameroon – go an extra length to take videos and photos within a setting where they do not have access to electricity to charge their phones. I recently got a call from one of my childhood friends, a farmer living in the burnt farming village of Munyenge and he said they have found a way to charge their phones by sneaking into those houses that have not been burnt down.

Villagers in the war zone, especially those in the thick forests region, do monitor the moves and location of the soldiers. They know which paths and routes to take if they want to leave the countryside. This task is further made easier by the Amba Fighters located in the villages. I met several people whose escape to Anglophone cities and to the Francophone side of the country was facilitated by these Fighters. These escapes are sudden and those fleeing have just a small window of opportunity to pick up a handful of their belongings.

To get a deeper understanding of the experiences of those who fled the countryside, I decided in mid April to visit some of the families hosting refugees. I talked with the refugees and must say their ordeal, courage and resolve to run for their lives in the face of advancing soldiers are worth commending. Take for example, the horrifying experience of Agnes (a pseudonym) who escaped into the forest for two days, leaving behind her very sick mother. She was too old to run with the others into the forest. Luckily, the grandma was still alive when Agnes returned from the forest. In less than an hour, she picked up her few belongings and was already on the run again to a neighboring village. The compound they fled into hosted more than 25 people. They all slept on the floor. She eventually reached Buea thanks to transportation money sent to her by her sister. In her words:

“We were told that there had been confrontations between the Fighters and the La Repubique [government] soldiers in a neighboring village which is about one day trekking from our village. We didn’t know the fight would reach us so soon. But events unfolded so quickly. I was on my way from the farm when I heard the sound of the guns. It sounded like the end of the world.  Bullets rained on our roof. One of the falling bullets pierced through my new jacket.”

Agnes showed me scars of the wounds she sustained on her legs and arms as she ran through the forests with her children and mother. Amidst the commotion, she had forgotten to take money. She took another risk of returning to her house alone. She came face to face with the Fighters who were all dressed in Cameroon military uniform. The uniforms and weapons had been taken from killed and capitulated government soldiers. To her surprise, one of the Fighters called her by her name and instructed her to leave the village as soon as possible. This, she did.

Another story is that of a woman who is in her early 60s. Transport services into and out of her village were completely cut off after the government forces attacked. She took into the forest, trekking for more than 50km. It took her two days before she finally got to the Francophone town of Dschang from where she took a bus to Buea.

But here comes another problem, the challenge of living in the city. With tears in her eyes, Agnes described how life in Buea is strange and unfriendly. She had thought her refugee status would last only a few days but two weeks after getting to Buea, her village, including a semi-urban settlement around it, was completely deserted by mid April 2018. Agnes had lost her freedom and privacy and needed money to survive in the new place. She was a farmer, a money-lender and a trader in the countryside. She left the village at the beginning of the planting season meaning that there is a possibility she may starve next year if she returned to the village. In my recent communication with her, she wasn’t sure if she would ever return to her house.

During my stay in Cameroon, I traveled to a few border towns hosting refugees. I spent two days in Dschang where the car parks serving Anglophone passengers were scanty. Listening to the hardship of those hosting the refugees was heartbreaking. Nearly everyone I met in Dschang was hosting refugees from Lebialem. There is this friend of mine whose five relatives fled the village to live with her in late March. As of the time of writing this article, the number has increased to six. She has a two-bedroom apartment. She avoids loss of privacy and stress at home by spending most of her free time in the church and farm.

The government has refused to recognize the Anglophone refugee disaster. Talk less of any conversation about the Anglophone Crisis at the national parliament. Responding to my first post on this series, someone insinuated that ‘this mad war [has been] initiated by desperately power hungry Cameroon diaspora’. What he failed to mention was that the war was declared on Anglophones, the ‘terrorists’, by the president in November 2017. The Anglophone diaspora started supporting the Fighters after they realized that the soldiers were killing Anglophones indiscriminately. The minister of defense actually praised the soldiers for massacres in villages in Manyu Division where people resorted to fleeing to Nigeria. It is estimated that between 40.000 and 50.000 Anglophones have sought refuge in Nigeria.

The narrative put forth by the government surrogate such as the one who commented on my first post specifically aims at excusing the government of war against people it sees as despicable. How do I know this? How the Cameroon government choose to treat – or choose not to treat – its citizens who happen to be refugees tells a lot about who is considered a true Cameroonian. We have all seen how the government provides humanitarian relief to Francophone refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks. They have been treated as unfortunate people whose humanity is being destroyed by terrorists. The Anglophone refugees, to quote Franz Fanon, live in a zone of non-being; a zone where people are not recognized as full humans and their lives are less valued.

In my next post I will focus on the Amba Fighters – how they are perceived in Anglophone Cameroon. Part of my argument will be that they do no longer want to condone the dehumanization they experience daily in their country.

*This is part of the series Life in a War Zone:30 Days in Ambazonia by  Solomon Ngu for PAV under the blog Kamer Blues

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Ethiopia’s PM says ending war, expanding economic links with Eritrea key for regional stability
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Aaron Maasho
Ethiopia's newly elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses the members of parliament inside the House of Peoples' Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopia’s newly elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses the members of parliament inside the House of Peoples’ Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s prime minister said on Wednesday that ending war and expanding economic ties with neighboring Eritrea is critical for stability and development in the impoverished Horn of Africa region.

Abiy Ahmed’s remarks followed the announcement on Tuesday by his ruling coalition that Ethiopia would fully implement a peace deal signed in 2000 and meant to end a two-year war that devolved into a stalemate resulting in huge military build up by both countries.

The pledge would entail ceding a disputed town to Eritrea. There was no sign on Wednesday that Ethiopia had begun withdrawing its troops from the town of Badme.

It is one of many policy shifts announced since the 41-year-old took office in early April, moves that could reshape Ethiopia’s relations with its neighbors and have equally dramatic impacts inside the country of 100 million people.

Whether the new measures, including liberalization of the state-controlled economy, end up addressing critical challenges from high youth unemployment to rising government debt remain to be seen. But they are shaking the country up.

“All that we have achieved from the situation of the last 20 years is tension,” Abiy said.

“Neither Ethiopia nor Eritrea benefit from a stalemate. We need to expend all our efforts toward peace and reconciliation and extricate ourselves from petty conflicts and divisions and focus on eliminating poverty.”

Ethiopia’s move is a “drastic departure” from its longstanding – and failed – policy, said Ahmed Soliman, Ethiopia analyst at Chatham House, a London-based thinktank.

“To see some movement is extremely positive. This is the most important latent conflict within the Horn and its resolution is important for peace and security in the region.”

NO COMMENT FROM ERITREA

Eritrea used to be a part of Ethiopia and waged a 30-year struggle for independence. The war on their shared border between 1998 and 2000 killed tens of thousands of people, caused significant displacement and the splintering of families.

Eritrea’s government has not responded publicly to Addis Ababa’s offer of an olive branch late on Tuesday. The two nations cut ties during the war.

Asmara’s Information Minister told Reuters on Tuesday evening he had not seen the Ethiopian government’s statement so could not immediately comment. He did not respond to phone calls on Wednesday.

Eritrea has long said it wants Ethiopia to pull its troops out from the disputed territory before normalizing ties, citing a decision by a boundary commission at The Hague which awarded the village of Badme to Eritrea in 2002.

Asmara has long felt betrayed by world powers, who they say failed to force Ethiopia to abide by the commission ruling.

Ethiopia says the row over border demarcation can only be resolved through a negotiated settlement.

On Tuesday, an Ethiopian foreign ministry official told Reuters that there were “at least 61 attempts” to mediate between the two nations, but that Asmara had rejected all requests.

Russia, the European Union, and Qatar were among those that proposed to mediate in the last two decades, he said.

Abiy said Ethiopia needed to resolve what he seemed to view as a costly and pointless dispute.

“Putting an end to this situation and finding peace is necessary beyond anything else not just for Ethiopia but for the wider Horn of Africa,” he said in a speech in Addis Ababa.

“Every Ethiopian should realize that it is expected of us to be a responsible government that ensures stability in our region, one that takes the initiative to connect the brotherly peoples of both countries and expands trains, buses and economic ties between Asmara and Addis Ababa.”

Diplomats say punitive measures taken against Eritrea may prevent an immediate conclusion to the dispute.

The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea in 2009 on charges that Asmara provided political, financial and logistical support to militant groups in Somalia. Eritrea has long dismissed the claims, saying they are concocted by Addis Ababa in a bid to isolate the country and divert attention from Ethiopia’s reluctance to hand over the disputed areas.

“The Eritrean government has always proclaimed its innocence and will demand that the sanctions are promptly lifted. This could be a sticking point for now,” said a Western diplomat in Ethiopia.

*Culled from Reuters

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Business:KWV Wines re-enters Kenyan market;appoints Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks Ltd as its Distributor
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

 Nairobi, Kenya – June 7, 2018 South African wine and spirits giant KWV has entered into a partnership with Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks Ltd that will see the latter distribute KWV products across the region.

Stephan Rautenbach ,Regional Business Manager KWV (right) with Juan Jose Ribes of Mohan's Oysterbay Drinks Kenya Marketing and Sales Director during the launch of the KWV range of products in Kenya

Stephan Rautenbach ,Regional Business Manager KWV (right) with Juan Jose Ribes of Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks Kenya Marketing and Sales Director during the launch of the KWV range of products in Kenya

KWV is one of the leading wine and spirits producers in South Africa and has a distinguished heritage, celebrated around the globe, of product innovation and exceptional brands. It’s products that include KWV Wines, Brandies, Roodeberg, Laborie and Pearly Bay have been featured in the Drinks International Top 50 World’s Most Admired Wine Brands.

KWV Regional Business Manager Mr. Stephan Rautenbach, while announcing the partnership at a cocktail and winetasting event at a Nairobi hotel,described the partnership as strategic and said it aims to capitalize on KWV’s heritage and Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks Ltd’s market understanding to grow market share in the region.

Mr. Rautenbach said KWV, which was established in 1918 and has just celebrated the conclusion of its 100th harvest, considers East Africa as an important market owing to the growing taste for superior wines and spirits and is keen to invest in introducing more consumers to its products in the region.

The Regional Manager said KWV has been a pioneer in the South Africa wine industry since 1918 and has a wide variety of offerings in it’s portfolio across the pricing spectrum and taste profiles.

Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks Ltd , Marketing & Sales Director Mr. Juan Jose Ribes, welcomed the partnership describing KWV products as well placed in a market with a growing middle-class that aspired for quality wines with a proven heritage globally.

“We are very excited to welcome KWV’s brands into our rich portfolio of alcoholic, soft and energy beverages that we exclusively market in the region. KWV has always been a strong and admired brand across the world and we are confident that with our input it will grow even further and become the number one brand for consumers in the region”, Mr. Ribes said.

Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks Ltd are the direct importers and distributors of leading international spirit brands offering a wide range of Whiskey, Rum, Vodka, Cognac, Brandy, Single Malt, Tequila, Gin, Liqueur & Champagne brands.

 Izele Van Blerk, wine maker for KWV says the re-entry of KWV to the Kenyan market, with more new brands will provide more opportunities, more so in regard to jobs in the Kenyan market.

“Kenya is Africa’s most vibrant economy, and by tapping into the opportunity, especially taking the advantage of consuming African wine, we are likely to see a positive trend in our expansion programme,” she told PAV on the sideline of the event.

Izele further adds that with the brand having entered 16 countries in Africa, Namibia leading, the Kenyan market will add value to the trajectory of the company’s growth.

The company also imports and distributes the Red Bull Energy drink.

Some of the more recognizable brands handled by Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks Ltd include Grants Scotch Whiskey, Glenfiddich, Three Barrels Brandy, Tullamore, Hendricks Gin  and Mac Mohan Whiskey.

 Izele Van Blerk, wine maker for KWV says the re-entry of KWV to the Kenyan market, with more new brands will provide more opportunities, more so in regard to jobs in the Kenyan market.

“Kenya is Africa’s most vibrant economy, and by tapping into the opportunity, especially taking the advantage of consuming African wine, we are likely to see a positive trend in our expansion programme,” she told PAV on the sideline of the event.

Izele further adds that with the brand having entered 16 countries in Africa, Namibia leading, the Kenyan market will add value to the trajectory of the company’s growth.

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African Women in the Media 2018 Conference Promises Visibility on Women
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

-Women, delegates have chance to win $1,000

By Wallace Mawire

The African Women in the Media 2018 Conference, an event organised  by award-winning journalist, Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, has Visibility as  its theme and promises to empower delegates through panels, workshops and networking.

It is reported that attendees will experience keynote presentations, industry panels with leading names like Eugenia Abu, Lola Shoneyin,  Stephanie Busari, Kunle Afoayan and much more, as well as academic panels and numerous training workshops.

“There are three tracks running simultaneously at any one time during  the conference”, said Dr Akinbobola. “We don’t want to just talk about  the issues, but through the workshops, pitch zone and networking  opportunities, we are putting actions into place to empower attendees”.

The African Women in the Media group aims to impact positively the way  media functions in relation to women, both in the industry and media’s  representation of gender issues.

“Action is key here and we are so grateful to all our sponsors for  their support”, adds Dr Akinbobola. “We are particularly excited to  launch the AWIM/NRGI Award which comes with a $1,000 cash prize.”

AWIM18 Conference Highlights include CNN’s Nima Elbagir as Keynote  Speaker,Prof Abigail Ogwezzy as academic Keynote Speaker.Three industry panels: Gender, Security and Election Coverage; Women in Media Leadership; Role of Fictional Content on Society’s Perspective of Women in Leadership.

Three academic panels: Break the Silence: Health, Violence and  Media; Women Behind and In-Front of Camera; Women in Media: Participation, Advocacy and Youth

10 Training workshops: Data Journalism, Digital Marketing, Reporting in Conflict Zones, Newsroom Leadership, Vlogging for Change, to listen, engage and tell stories on social media to grow female audiences

Pitch Zone: Hosted by BBC and the Natural Resource Governance  Institute who is funding the AWIM/NRGI Award where delegates can win  £1,000 to produce their gender focused natural resources story Dinner parties and networking on both nights  Roundtable discussions with speakers

African Women in the Media (AWiM) is a Facebook group that convenes  annually. The first convening event took place in Birmingham, UK with  panels from both academia and industry. The AWiM17 keynote speaker was  Minna Salami. The group wants to challenge the way media functions in  relation to African women, and seeks to inspire, support and empower  its members.

Dr Yemisi Akinbobola is an award-winning journalist, academic, and  media entrepreneur. A Nigerian living in UK, her work is Africa focused, covering stories from rape culture in Nigeria, to an  investigative and data story on the trafficking of young West African  football hopefuls by fake agents. The latter won the CNN African  Journalist Award 2016 (Sports Reporting). Yemisi holds a PhD in Media  and Cultural Studies from Birmingham City University where she is the  Course Director for MA Global Media Management, and her research interest is in digital journalism and African feminism.

She is the founder of Stringers Africa, which connects freelance journalists in African countries with newsrooms worldwide, and she  runs the African Women in the Media group. Founder also of IQ4News, a  multimedia production company, she has freelanced for publications including the UN Africa Renewal magazine. Yemisi she has several  years’ experience in communication management for charities.

 

 

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Buhari Authenticates June 12 As Nigeria’s Democracy Day
June 7, 2018 | 0 Comments
…Immotalises MKO Abiola, Gani‎ Fawehinmi, and Kingibe
By Olayinka Ajayi
The belated but signification recognition of Abiola's 1993 victory by Buhari is a boon to Nigeria's democracy

The belated but signification recognition of Abiola’s 1993 victory by Buhari is a boon to Nigeria’s democracy

In a statement signed by President Buhari, winner of the presumed freeest election in Nigeria Late MKO Abiola is honoured with  a post-humously honoured with the nation’s highest award, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR conferred on all Presidents/Heads of State.

President Buhari further added that late human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi will also be awarded the country’s second highest award of the Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON in honour of his role towards actualising the June 12 presidential election. Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe will also get a GCON award.

According to the President: “For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29th, as Democracy Day. That was the date when for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government. The first time this happened was on October 1st, 1979.”

“But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12th, 1993, was far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29th or even the October 1st. Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi,SAN”

“June 12th, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our Independence. The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then Military Government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process.”

“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, Government has decided to award post-humously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12th, 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as Vice President, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON. Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of the June 12th election and indeed for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, is to be awarded a GCON posthumously.”

“The commemoration and investiture will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, a date which in future years will replace May 29th as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day.” Buhari stated.

The announcement was received with much excitement across the country yesterday from friends and family of the late Abiola.

This has brought the significance of June 12 — Hafsat His daughter,

Hafsat Abiola-Costello, said: ‘’This has just validated the victory of my father. He didn’t just fight for democracy alone; he fought for Nigeria. May 29 was never the Democracy Day; it’s June 12. And President Buhari has just shown that he is an honourable man. This development has brought to life the significance of June 12.”

Buhari has proved himself to be inclined of the desires of Nigerians –, Abike Dabiri-

Erewa said that President Buhari has shown himself to be inclined to the desires of Nigerians and has done the right thing.

We’ve waited for this—Mohammed Fawehinmi

It is a welcome development. This is what we have been waiting for over the years. Good Nigerians have made several calls for Chief M K O Abiola to be recognised as a Nigerian President. For this government to have done this, it is a welcome gesture. It is a good news that M K O Abiola is going to be awarded GCFR  honour and Babagana Kingibe to be awarded  GCON, It is clear that Abiola was elected the president of this country, the mere fact that he was not sworn in does not mean he was not elected. This has vindicated Abiola.

A welcome development, but… — Adebanjo Reacting, Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo

Adebanjo said: “It is a welcome development. We have always told them that, (and) he now realises this. We have told them that without June 12 there is no Democracy Day. June 12 is Democracy Day, but May 29 is Civilian Day. I want to urge him to restructure Nigeria because all he is doing are palliatives.

Belated, but welcome—Falae

Also reacting, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae described the decision as “belated but welcome.

Right thinking Democrat should support it—Babatope A former Minister of Transport,

Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said: ‘’That is very good. It is a positive development, and every right-thinking democrat should support that. The timing may be wrong, but it is a good development that should be hailed.

Though it came a bit late — Senator Jonathan Zwingina,

Director-General of Abiola’s Hope 93 Campaign Organisation, said: I commend the declaration even though it came a bit late, but better late than never.

It’s commendable—Balarabe Musa

A former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa commended the President’s action said recognising June 12 as a Democracy Day, is proper. In the context of Nigeria, June 12 signifies Democracy Day in the first place because it was a day that Nigerians set aside their differences and united the country for progress.

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Namibia mark World Environment Day with call to curb plastic pollution
June 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

ENVIRONMENT and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta

ENVIRONMENT and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta

Windhoek – Namibia on Tuesday joined the global community to observe the World Environment Day with a call for regulatory measures to curb the use of plastic bags in the southern African country.

Plastic, especially the plastic carrier bags, has become a staple feature of modern society since the 1960s due to its convenience and cost-effectiveness for transporting and storing goods.

However, it has since become a hazard, posing threat to human and environmental health.

Therefore, this year event was marked under the theme, ‘‘Beat Plastic Pollution; If you can’t reuse it, refuse it’’ that encourages the global community to take action to reduce plastic consumption.

Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta said in his World Environment Day statement that the theme of this year’s event could not be timelier when considering the current context in Namibia.

“Plastic bags are usually lightweight and as such, they can travel very long distances by wind even if they are disposed of at waste disposal sites. The bags get caught up in trees, bushes and fences and often float in water bodies,” he said.

“This prevalence of plastic in our oceans creates concerns about the safety of eating fish for example.

Fish is a food source we generally consider to be healthy and safe but if it is contaminated with plastic, it can cause all sorts of risks to humans from cancer to strokes, hormonal imbalances and heart attacks.

The ingestion of plastic by livestock and wildlife will result in similar risks for these animals as well as to the humans that consume them”.

 

Minister Shifeta said Namibia seeks to emulate over 15 African countries that have already introduced measures to “either ban or tax the use of plastic carrier bags and we have followed with close interest the experiences and impacts these measures have had in the different countries.These measures have had varying levels of success. It is our intention to learn from these lessons and introduce a number of measures to reduce the use of plastic bags that will work in the Namibian context”.

Since the beginning of this year, the Namibian Government has taken steps to transforming waste management and promoting civic pride and anti-littering among the citizens.

In February 2018, Minister Shifeta launched the launched the National Solid Waste Management Strategy, with aims to proper Namibia to become the leading country in Africa in terms of standards of solid waste management by 2028.

“I am pleased to inform you that implementation of this Strategy is already in full swing,” he said. And President Hage Geingob led a nationwide clean-up campaign on May 25 to raise public awareness on community cleanliness, environmental protection and effective use of resources.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia, Rachel Odede has commended this effort government for demonstrating leadership regarding the awareness and response to pollution and climate change.

“The Namibian Government is committed to solving the issue at hand through policies and frameworks such as the Pollution Control and Waste Management Policy, the National Climate Strategy and Action Plan and the Fifth National Development Plan,” Odede said in her World Environment Day address in Windhoek.

The UN official expressed concern that “plastic production continues to rise and continues to impact our planet, including the beautiful Namibia. Namibia is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change and thus the negative impact of plastics in our environment”.

Odede has made assurance that the UN System in Namibia is committed to partner the government, guided by the United Nations Partnership Framework 2019-2023 to ensure environmental sustainability.

“At the end of the day, if we do not substantially reduce our plastic waste, there will be severe consequences for biodiversity, human health and food security. Together, we can protect the environment and ‘beat plastic pollution’ to ensure that future generations can live in a healthy, clean and sustainable Namibia.

“A healthy planet is essential for a prosperous and peaceful future. We all have a role to play in protecting our only home, but it can be difficult to know what to do or where to start. That’s why this World Environment Day has just one request: beat plastic pollution,” she said.

Minister Pohamba concluded that: “Our efforts to beat plastic pollution will require the engagement and commitment of each and every Namibian and I particularly call on private sector companies and consumers to join us to spearhead this drive”.

 

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Top Zimbabwe university teams to compete in 2018 Enactus Zimbabwe national competition
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

On 13 July 2018, several Enactus teams from across Zimbabwe will participate in the Enactus Zimbabwe National Competition, held at Celebration Centre, Harare.

The teams of university students come together to showcase their social impact efforts and compete based on the quality of their entrepreneurial projects that provide an innovative, sustainable impact in their community. One team will be awarded the title of Enactus Zimbabwe National Champion, and will advance to Enactus World Cup 2018 in Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, USA on 9-11 October.

According to the Enactus Country Leader, Mrs. Busisiwe Marandure “We are looking forward to this momentous occasion which marks the culmination of the hard work and passion that the students have dedicated to their community based projects. Over the past year, we have built momentum through the Road to Silicon Valley Events which were held monthly. We are expecting over 500 people to attend this year’s events and this includes students, university personnel, and sponsors, judges who are taken from captains of industry, civil society, government and other stakeholders.”

The Enactus Country Board Chair Mr. Mucha Mkanganwi says “We expect the students to present quality projects that are innovative in nature and solve the critical problems that our country is experiencing. This year the focus on technology should add an interesting twist to the projects. Our students are hardworking, dedicated and we value their commitment to the program. We equally appreciate the partners and sponsors that help to make this event possible.”

From April-July, Enactus will host National Competitions in 36 countries. These dynamic, energetic events bring together student, academic and business leaders from the Enactus network for an opportunity to engage, collaborate and learn from one another.

Last year, Enactus students around the world volunteered more than 7.3 million service hours creating and implementing over 3,800 projects that directly impacted more than 1.3 million lives. These experiences not only transform the lives of the people the projects serve, but also help the students develop the kind of talent and perspective essential to leadership that sees challenges facing people and planet as opportunities to improve the world.

 According to Enactus, they  believe that investing in students who take entrepreneurial action for others creates a better world for  all. It is reported that the Enactus experience transforms both the lives of the people the students’ projects serve, and in turn, the lives of Enactus students themselves as they develop into more effective, values-driven leaders. Founded in 1975, today Enactus has more than 72,000 student participants on over 1,730 campuses in 36 countries.

Enactus Zimbabwe was founded in 2000.  The organization operates in 12 colleges and universities, with more than 600 students participating in Zimbabwe.

Nine university teams across Zimbabwe will be showcasing their entrepreneurial outreach projects. The National Champion will represent Zimbabwe at the 2018 ENACTUS World Cup, which will be held in Silicon Valley, San Jose, California 09th–10th of October 2018. At this World Cup thirty-six teams will be representing their home country and vying for the 2018 ENACTUS World Cup Championship.

Under the Enactus program students identify and implement community projects which seek to utilise entrepreneurial action in empowering communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. The students will present the outcomes of their projects in front of a panel of judges at a function called Enactus National Competition.

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Zimbabwe courts investors for water resources infrastructure sector
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

President Mnangagwa

President Mnangagwa

 Zimbabwe’s ministry of Environment, Water and Climate has hosted a two day conference on 4 to 5 June, 2018 to unlock investment in the water resources infrastructure sector.

 According to an investment prospectus presented to delegates and potential investors, the water conference  has been hosted to raise investment for the water sector as spelt  out in the country’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET) running from 2013 to 2018.

 The conference focused on financing strategies for water resources infrastructure, attracting private sector investment in water resources infrastructure and accelerating the implementation of the Public, Private Partnerships (PPPs) in line with the economic blueprint.

 Potential investors have also been invited to consider projects outlined in the prospectus on the basis of proposed investment models.

 Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who officially opened the conference, said that his government was resolute in its commitment to improve the country’s water resources infrastructure which has potential to unlock vast opportunities for the country’s socio-economic development.

  President Mnangagwa also added that his government was putting in place policy measures to support the development of infrastructure such as the construction of more dams to mitigate challenges faced in the water sector.

  “We look forward to forging partnerships with the private sector and other development partners to compliment efforts that government has already taken to develop the water infrastructure in the country,” he said.

  Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Zimbabwe’s minister of Environment, Water and Climate said that the water resources infrastructure investment conference identifies four components of dam construction, water supply infrastructure and conveyance, irrigation infrastructure and mini hydropower generation.

 The conference was attended by local, regional and international investors.

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