Switzerland’s relations with the European Union have been at the centre of the annual Congress of the Swiss Abroad. Two keynote speeches gave some indications of the delicate situation for both sides in crucial talks about the future of the bilateral accords.
The number of countries switching to national currencies to settle bilateral trade deals is growing in the face of the US weaponization of the dollar.
President Julius Maada Bio paid respects to the victims and families of Sierra Leone’s 2017 landslide tragedy, promising during the memorial events to create a National Disaster Preparedness and Management Agency to prevent future catastrophes.
Children in Switzerland are returning to school after the long summer break. But have they forgotten much of what they learned before the holidays?
SWITZERLAND: The Federal Council rejects the popular ‘Yes to a ban on full facial coverings’ initiative because, as is currently the case, the cantons should decide for themselves whether or not to ban facial coverings in public places. It is making an indirect counter-proposal to the initiative – a targeted response to the problems that it is aware facial coverings can pose.
BOTSWANA: Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Dorcus Makgato says the current methodology used to administer the Department of Gender Affairs Women Fund is not sustainable.
SWITZERLAND: Multilingualism is said to be an asset, a cohesion factor and a positive motor that plays a role in the social, cultural and economic development of Switzerland.
Algeria has increased its oil output but urged fellow OPEC countries and other crude producers not to heed calls by US President Donald Trump to place more oil on the market to drive down prices.
THE average hotel occupancy rate in the first quarter of 2018 for Bulawayo hotels rose by 44%, up 15 percentage points from the levels recorded in the same period last year, industry officials have said.
Angola plans a new system for selling rough diamonds as part of President João Lourenço’s efforts to increase investment, production and government revenue, a draft decree shows.
The Directorate of Studies and Financial Forcasts in the Ministry of Economy and Finance, represented by its Director, Mr. Mounssif Aderkaoui, took part in the 10th plenary session of the OECD initiative on global value chains, held in Paris from June 26 to 27 2018.
Further to its announcement of 27 April 2018 in respect of freezing orders filed against Mutanda Mining Sarl (“Mutanda”) and Kamoto Copper Company SA (“KCC”), subsidiaries of Glencore plc, by Ventora Development Sasu (“Ventora”), a company affiliated with Mr. Dan Gertler, Glencore has carefully considered its legal and commercial options in connection with its dispute with Ventora and Africa Horizons Investments Limited (“AHIL”), also a company affiliated with Mr Dan Gertler, and its obligations to its various stakeholders, including its shareholders, customers and the communities in which it operates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”).
Seedstars World 2018 Africa tour is now in Accra, Ghana, where ten of Ghana’s best seed-stage startups will compete on 13 July to represent the country at the annual Seedstars Summit holding in Switzerland where winner can win up to US$ 1 million in equity investments and other prizes.
Kinshasa – The Government of Japan has given US$1m. to the IOM to expand the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) national Ebola response to other provinces – Kinshasa, Mai Ndombe, Tshopo and South Ubangi – and scale up the response in Equator province according to IOM release.
President Uhuru Kenyatta today warned Kenyans against politicising the renewed efforts to rid the country of corruption and economic crimes.
Art Basel's renowned talks series, will once again bring together leading artists, gallerists, collectors, art historians, curators, museum directors and critics from across the world. Programmed for the fourth year by Mari Spirito, Founding Director of Protocinema, Conversations provides a platform for dialogues and discussions on current topics, offering diverse perspectives on collecting and exhibiting art and the wider artworld ecosystem.
The 3rd edition of the LAFF Festival (Lausanne Afro Fusions Festival), the first Afro-positive festival in Switzerland, will take place from 19 to 22 July 2018. We expect between 10,000 and 20,000 people. With the beautiful Place de l'Europe in Lausanne, in the district of Flon, this edition will be dedicated to local and international discoveries.
UK – Gisa Fuatai Purcell, a national of Samoa has been appointed as Director of ICT Development Department of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The Director of ICT Development, who reports to the Secretary-General is responsible for overall strategic direction of the operational divisions of Capacity Development, Events and Technical Support and Consultancy.
When we got our independence, we did not ask ourselves what kind of ethics this new country needed. SA's health ombud reflects on his first big case.
In September 2016, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi asked me to investigate the deaths of, at that time, 36 mental health patients as part of the Life Esidimeni tragedy. The deaths came after the Gauteng health department removed about 1 700 long-term psychiatric patients from state-sponsored care at Life Esidimeni facilities in 2016 and placed them into the custody of mostly unlicensed nongovernmental organisations.
Since I released my 2017 report, the number of people who died as part of what became known as the Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project has gone up four times and now stands at 144.
People have asked me what I learned from the Life Esidimeni saga. I learned many things but three, in particular, stand out for me. They tell us how our history informs our present and what we need to fix to change our future.
My first lesson was that democracy might have dawned for South Africa, but we can't say the same for bioethics - or the tenets that guide the way we practise medicine and care for our people. In fact, some of the central ethics that govern our health professionals have not been reviewed for 50 years. We continue to live under what I call "colonial and apartheid" bioethics that allow for the kind of political co-option that we saw in police cells under apartheid and in the halls of the Gauteng health department with Life Esidimeni.
I'll start with a short story. There is a classic book in medicine, entitled A Sick African: A Clinical Study, written by a South African-trained doctor, Michael Gelfand, in 1948. The book describes two types of African patients: The so-called "sophisticated" and the "non-sophisticated".
The "sophisticated African" patient has apparently begun to adopt the habits of Western civilisation, unlike his allegedly unsophisticated peer, which Gelfand describes:
"Their villages are badly planned and are often situated in malarial or tsetsefly areas. They know nothing of the importance of taking precautions against disease. They have no idea of cleanliness, and their huts are breeding-grounds for parasites and germs of every kind. Of sanitary arrangements, they know nothing at all."
This text was written 70 years ago and came to be regarded as a classic - that tells you what foundations it laid for ethics in Southern Africa.
Activist Steve Biko was examined by a doctor shortly before his death. The clinician denied Biko medical care following torture at the hands of police. (Daily Dispatch)
Let's come to South Africa and the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. It happened in a South Africa in which doctors were absolved of having to take "political decisions" and were allowed to claim that Biko's death at the hands of police while in detention was owed to natural causes. In so doing, doctors were backed by the then South African Medical and Dental Council, which would eventually form part of today's Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
It was only eight years after Biko's death that one of the doctors who examined him and denied him medical treatment was struck off the medical roll.
That is apartheid bioethics. So too was the government's "aversion therapy" programme headed up by psychiatrist Aubrey Levin, a teacher of mine at what was formerly the University of Natal. Levin administered shock therapy to men who had sex with men under the guise of supposedly "curing" them of their sexual orientation, flouting all ethical principles.
Levin is now a recently paroled sex offender living in Canada, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation reports.
When we got our independence in 1994, we did not sit down and ask ourselves what kind of ethics we need in this new country with a new human rights-based Constitution.
In the Life Esidimeni exercise, this has been exacerbated.
My second lesson was about denial. In our country, we go into denial when we are confronted with the truth. Denial is, in fact, a very important part of our political make-up.
In the 10 years of Aids denialism that took place under former president Thabo Mbeki and the late health minister Manto Tshabalala, 330 000 people lost their lives, according to 2008 Harvard University estimates published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency.
Doctors were intimidated into not signing death certificates that listed HIV as the cause of death because Mbeki and Tshabalala continued to question the causal link between HIV and Aids.
South Africa has a long history in which science was abused to promote or underpin political decisions. We saw something similar in the Life Esidimeni investigations when some of the death certificates were not even signed by doctors but by lay people.
When employees questioned about her decision to move almost 1 700 mental health patients from Life Esidimeni care, former MEC Qedani Mahlangu allegedly asked staff, "Do you work for us or Life Esidimeni?"
My third lesson was that, if you put a "sombre thought" forward to politicians, you run the risk of being called a "counter-revolutionary". Anyone who disagrees with the ruling authority becomes "an enemy of the state".
Politics still prevail over and shape the practice of healthcare in South Africa.
You hear talk about fraud within the health sector, about the Special Investigating Unit looking at leading politicians. But I have yet to find anyone who has actually been arrested and locked up in jail. South Africans want to see someone wearing orange, serving time for what they have done and we have not seen that.
Someone steals money, and we find a way of forgiving them. In fact, when I was looking at Life Esidimeni, that's one thing that came across in my interviews with officials: this sense that we were somehow making examples of them while others were being forgiven.
In the past 24 years, bad political decisions have cost our country dearly with health scandals - morally, ethically and economically.
South Africa must begin to redefine ethics within healthcare in a way that is in line with our Constitution but also the creation of our new society. In a changing, transforming society we cannot afford to rely on ethical crutches - including guidelines from the HPCSA that regulate most professionals - that have scarcely been reviewed for the last 50 years.
Malegapuru William Makgoba is the health ombud at the Office for Health Standards Compliance.
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Mombasa — The National Aids Control Council on Wednesday raised concerns over the increasing number of young people and children in Kenya who are HIV positive.
NACC Director Dr Nduku Kilonzo told primary school heads meeting in Mombasa for the 14th Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association that there are about 300,000 young people aged below 24 years are living with HIV/Aids in Kenya.
She said about 184, 000 are those aged between 10-24 years and another 100,000 are children below 14 years.
She said there are 48 new infections every day among young people aged between 10-24 years.
"Last year, Kenya recorded 18,000 HIV new infections among people in the adolescent age bracket," she said.
Kilonzo attributed this new trend to lack of information on HIV/Aids, sexual violence on young people, coercion by peers and high levels of stigma by society to those already affected.
According to NACC data, about 20 per cent of the Kenyan young people get into sexual activities before their 15th birthday, due to coercion from peers.
"One out of five, which is about 20 per cent of young people get into sex before they reach 15 years," she said.
At the same time, Kilonzo said majority of Kenyan youth get information about sex on Internet, which most of the times is misleading to the younger generation.
"As parents and teachers, we are losing the back to the Internet. What young people are taught by internet is very misleading," said Kilonzo.
Many young people aged between 15-19 years also do not know about their HIV/Aids status.
"About 46 per cent of young women aged between 15-19 have never tested for HIV and 58 per cent of young men within the same age bracket have also never gone for HIV testing," she said.
Kilonzo called on the teachers and parents to work together with the National Aids Control Council and other HIV/Aids support groups to teach the younger generation about HIV/Aids.
The United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development's (DFID) has announced a £50.1 million (about K47.5 billion) six year family planning programmes in Malawi under the 'Tsogolo Langa' [My future] programme.
A statement issued by DfID made available to Nyasa Times says the family planning services was announced by Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin.
During a visit to the Scotland Malawi Partnership in Edinburgh Ms Baldwin said the new programme, will provide important sexual and reproductive health services for more than 300,000 Malawians and avoid an estimated 6,000 preventable maternal deaths.
"Every woman has a right to a happy and healthy life. This is about empowering women to take control of their own health and their own futures," the statement quotes Baldwin.
UK aid will provide access to modern contraceptives, help clinics from running out of stock and provide accurate health information for women in harder to reach rural areas.
DfID will work with Malawi's Ministry of Health to deliver the programme, supporting the country's aim to reduce its high teenage pregnancy rate.
Minister of Health and Population for the Government of Malawi, Atupele Muluzi hailed the UK government for the support.
"This assistance is very timely as Malawi continues to further stabilise its population growth that is driven by teenage pregnancy, currently standing at 29%.
"Malawi still has a huge gap in providing different choices in contraceptives and this investment will assist in helping young women have more control of their future," said Muluzi.
DFID's family planning support in the world's poorest countries is helping women finish their education, get better jobs, fulfil their potential and in turn provide for their smaller planned families.
This latest support comes after Ms Baldwin's visit to Malawi last month during which she announced £37.5 million of new UK aid funding to support early grade learning and keep more girls in school
Chief Executive of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, David Hope-Jones said they welcome DFID funding commitments which will have a significant positive impact in Malawi.
TANZANIA has been selected as centre for enhancement of haematology expertise and researches on blood related diseases in Africa amid reports that the continent is finding it difficult to deal with the ailments due to poor technology.
As a result, hematologists from across the world will be gathering in the country annually to discuss and exchange views on the best ways to deal with the diseases.
The Principal Investigator for the project that focuses on providing education to health service providers and medical doctors from Africa, Prof Julie Makani broke the news in Dar es Salaam yesterday during the ongoing training that aims at increasing doctor/patient ratios in haematology.
The training drew participants from over 20 countries across the world.
The project is funded by Italy based organisation and managed by the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS). Prof Makani said that Tanzania will benefit from the establishment of the centre because it will help to enhance cooperation between Africa and other continents in terms of researches related to the diseases.
"Tanzania has only eighteen haematologists, we are lucky that this mega project is being executed in the country...if this opportunity will be well utilised, we will be in a good position to fight the blood related diseases," Prof Makani noted.
She said plans are underway to provide education to members of the public, especially the rural community, to address the challenges.
The training programme comes close on the heels of research findings that show the problem was serious but with only 21 per cent of experts in operation. MUHAS Vice-Chancellor Prof Andrea Pembe pointed out that the shortage of experts currently stood at about 600.
"In 2005, there was only one trained haematologist in the country, who is retired but is working on contract basis in our department.
This brought about a lot of challenges in delivery and development of haematology services as well as in haematology teaching and training to all health staff," said Professor Pembe, adding: "Currently, there are only 10 trained specialists while blood complication patients keep increasing almost every day. We need at least 574 experts."
MNH Executive Director Prof Lawrence Museru said after training enough professionals in the field, the next step is to introduce zonal haematological centres country-wide to reduce the number of patients at the national hospital.
Professionals from different, health centers, at the Cazenga municipality, requested the local administration to rehabilitate the roads that give access to the health units.
According to the professionals, these access roads are in an advanced state of degradation and when it rains it is difficult to reach the health centers, the employees and patients are "forced" to use trucks or motorized vehicles. Cazenga, one of the nine municipalities of the province of Luanda, has six urban districts, Tala-Hadi, Hoji ya Henda, Cazenga, 11 de Novembro ,Kima-kieza and Calawenda.
The Report of a national survey to ascertain the cost incurred by persons diagnosed of tuberculosis (TB) and to determine the economic burden carried by the patients' households in Ghana has been launched in Accra.
The findings of the survey reveal that the median cost that patients incurred per a TB episode is US$ 4455 which includes direct medical costs, direct non-medical cost and income loss while the largest cost drivers were income loss and expenditure on food.
According to Report, two-thirds of TB affected households face catastrophic costs due to the disease while half of TB patients undertake coping strategies to finance costs.
Those, according to the findings, more likely to face catastrophic costs are the poorest drug resistant patients, non-salaried employees and those who have lost their job.
The findings also show that the proportion of TB patients living in poverty before TB diagnosis was forty-six percent as compared to the twenty-four percent of the general Ghanaian poverty population--meaning poverty is a major barrier to health care and social determinants affecting TB care.
Addressing participants at the launch, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Ghana, Dr. Owen Kaluwa, described TB as the world's biggest infectious killer.
Dr Kaluwa said regardless of efforts made by Ghana, with support from international partners, in the last decade, more than sixty percent of people living with TB were left undiagnosed or unreported, killing women and children.
He indicated that WHO, during its 2014 General Assembly, had set out clear measures to ending TB by 2030.
Speaking on the findingsfor the first Ghana National TB Patients Cost Survey, Dr. Frank Bonsu, Programme Coordinator, National TB Control Programme, disclosed that though it was said that the diagnosis and treatment of TB was free, TB patients often inured large costs related to illness and disability.
The costs, Dr Bonsu said, included medical and transport costs associated with seeking and receiving health care as well as cost related to loss of income.
He explained that such cost could create access and adherence barriers which, in turn, affected health outcomes and increased the risk of disease transmission.
Dr. Bonsu, however, gave the assurance that government was committed to the promotion of equity and pro-poor policies in its disease prevention and control activities, including TB prevention, care and control.
Ghana's TB ambassador, Nana Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, expressed disappointment that the disease still prevailed in Ghanain spite of efforts to control it.
Nana Prah said a huge percentage of TB patients had crossed the cost line with twenty percent of their annual income going to the health care.
According to WHO statistics, at least five people become TB patient while one person dies of the disease every day.
In 2017, ten million people were diagnosed of the disease last year, 1.7 million of whom lost their lives.
In 2004 I sat backstage with Simon "Chopper" Chimbetu at Heroes Splush gala at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera.Heroes Splush was a gala that was held during the Heroes Day holiday. It was an event to celebrate the lives of the country's heroes.
It was a cold August night and Chopper wore a thick black overcoat that he had just bought in the UK. He had toured the UK a few weeks before the gala and, as a natural fashion fanatic, added a few items to his wardrobe during the trip. He proudly told me so, as he also showed me a new black suit with thin blue stripes that was underneath the overcoat.
He loved making jokes in a subtle way. Some of his apparently serious statements were laced with comic connotations.
He had an artistic way of saying things. It needed someone who understood him to note the intended meaning of statements that an ordinary listener would plainly nod to.
So, as we sat at the backstage on that cold night he appeared surprised by some comments he had heard on radio on his way from Harare to the gala.
"People were being asked to predict the song that would be most popular at this gala and most of them were giving uninformed answers. How can they say "Mabhau" will be the best song of the night," he said.
I also did not understand how people had come to that conclusion. I took "Mabhau" to mean yesteryear hit "Mabhauwa" by Khiama Boys and the supposed link puzzled me. By then, the track was already an old hit and there was no way people were going to consider it a song for the night when Khiama Boys themselves rarely played it at live shows.
Sensing my bewilderment and failure to note the underlying humour of his statement, Chopper came to my rescue.
"I think some of them were saying 'Mabhau' and others were saying 'Madhawu' so I am not sure which one they were referring to."
I laughed my lungs out. It dawned on me that he had calculated that my initial response would have been to correct him saying the song being referred to should be Alick Macheso's "Madhawu", which was making waves that time, not "Mabhau".
He was playing a fool to trick me to lead the conversation and also say my view on the issue, because he had another hidden statement that he intended to make.
But I never thought Chopper would pretend not to know "Madhawu" because that was the hit of the time. Macheso was the 'man-of-the-moment' and "Madhawu" was obviously going to be the most popular song of the night.
He obviously knew that "Madhawu" was a hit. So, why would he say radio listeners tipping it be the song of the night were making uninformed decisions?
I was taken aback as I concluded that he was making statements out of jealous. I concluded that Chopper was not happy that Macheso had overtaken him in popularity. I thought he was in denial.
It is not easy to tell a man in denial the truth, especially when he seems to be pouring his heart to you.
But that was not what Chopper was doing or saying at all.
As I gathered the courage to try and convince him to accept reality, he silenced me.
"Goddy, I know very well that Macheso is the most popular musician now. Every musician has his time. I know people will like 'Madhawu' tonight more than any other song.
"I was just trying to provoke you to think deeper about this day. This is not just like any other celebration. It is a gala to salute heroes that fought for this country. It is a night to sing songs of praise and salute them.
"Yes, people should dance and make merry. But they should not forget what they are dancing for. We are remembering our heroes. People who shed their blood for this country. Yes, people should dance to 'Madhawu', but they should not forget where that freedom to dance came from.
"I am not saying I should be more popular than Macheso tonight. I was just worried that none of the listeners that phoned the radio station was concerned about why we are gathered here. It does not mean that I wanted them to mention my songs. I wanted someone who can tell people what Heroes Day is about. Celebrate, but do not forget the purpose of this gala."
I understood him. I only nodded and shook his hand saying, "You are right Cde Chopper."
Yes, he was right. People celebrate Heroes Day as they party at various functions organised during the public holiday.
They take advantage of the public holiday, but rarely consider why the day has been set aside for commemorations.
From that night, I understood why Cde Chopper was steadfast in his patriotic songs although critics suggested that such compositions were making him lose fans.
At most events when he met fellow patriotic musicians like Cde Chinx and Cde Yondo, they would play revolutionary music and dance. They spoke the same language. They were proud of their identity. They were true sons and daughters of the soil.
I understood why Cde Chopper went on to compose the song like "Hoko" when everyone seemed to be against his philosophy.
His songs like "Ndarangarira Gamba", "Pane Asipo" and "Southern Africa" are all about heroism against colonialism and oppression.
Chopper was not coerced by anyone to sing his pan-African compositions. It was written on his heart. He refused to be swayed by critics that told him his career was going to waste because of his political ideology.
In many interviews he said he was not a politician, but a musician who knew his identity. He was a hero of patriotic music. He believed in the war to liberate Africa. Music was his weapon and he fought until his death.
And the authorities saw it fit to give him hero status when he died.
Today marks exactly 13 years after his death. The legendary musician passed away on August 14, 2005 and was buried at Mashonaland West Provincial Heroes Acre.
He got provincial hero status because of his sterling work as an unwavering singer whose songs always remind people about the liberation struggle and how its gains should be jealously guarded.
His works before and after independence made him a hero.
As the nation marked Heroes Day yesterday, Chopper was among gallant sons of the soil that were being celebrated. His works shall be celebrated forever. His music will live forever.
May his soul rest in peace.
Mt Kenya University once again dominated in the higher education category, presenting 54 items, in the ongoing Kenya National Music Festival at Dedan Kimathi University, Nyeri County.
MKU, who were last year's overall winners in the universities category, won in most categories presented on Monday and Tuesday.
Their Zilizopendwa (golden oldies) dance was declared the best item in the category.
The university also won in the girls' choir category, Tharaka folk song as well as Kimeru, Maasai, Luhya and Kisii folk dance categories.
They also won in the Kikuyu folk dance category, where they presented Mwomboko, a celebration dance performed by both men and women.
In all the dance categories, performers had costumes unique to communities the dances came from.
They were also unbeatable in the "2-jiajiri" category sponsored by Kenya Commercial Bank, an English and Swahili verse speaking category promoting self-employment.
The director of MKU's Institute of Film and Performing Arts, Ms Ruth Mutahi, attributed the university's success to dedication by trainers and students.
She said that the institution picks and trains the best performers in music and drama and they are always rehearsing and perfecting their performances.
In the Baganda cultural dance category, MKU was beaten to second position by Kibabii University.
MKU also won in the Kiswahili solo verse category, which featured Technical University of Mombasa (Tum), Pwani University, University of Eldoret and the Co-operative University of Kenya.
The Kiswahili choral verse set piece category for universities attracted 11 entries. The verse, Chama chetu by Kandoro Saadani featured Tum, Pwani University, Jkuat and Lukenya University and others. The category was won by MKU (Nakuru Campus).
On Tuesday, secondary schools performed in the Maasai, Samburu, Rendille and Taveta traditional cultural dance category. Among those who featured were Chavakali secondary, Moi Forces Academy Nairobi, Kijabe boys, Maasai Mara, Narok and Marsabit high schools.
In a press release, the Atheists in Kenya group faulted the ministry for sponsoring only Christian musicians for the tour and excluding artistes from other faiths.
Atheists in Kenya (AIK) now want the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to cancel a state-sponsored tour to Europe for gospel musicians on grounds that it only favored Christians.
In a press release on Tuesday, the group faulted the ministry for sponsoring only Christian musicians for the tour and excluding artistes from other faiths.
"The tour which is meant to showcase Kenya's culture, goes against the spirit of our constitution, which establishes Kenya as a secular and religiously diverse nation," read part of the statement signed by Harrison Mumia, the group's president.
It further threatened to petition Parliament to probe the ministry over misuse of taxpayers money.
The group wants the ministry to re-constitute the travelling party by including members of other faiths.
The group raised concern that the State has in the recent past treated Christianity with privilege.
"The state should end the marginalisation of atheists and members of other religions through the acts of institutional religious discrimination," they said.
A total of 46 Kenyan gospel musicians and cultural artistes are set to leave the country Tuesday for a ten-day European tour.
The tour is meant to showcase Kenya's culture and christian songs.
The Cultural and Gospel Music of Kenya (CGMK) group consists of a number of famous gospel artistes including Gloria Muliro, Janet Otieno, Eko Dydda, Pastor Timothy Kitui, Anastacia Mukabwa and Kayamba Africa.
The group will tour Sweden, Germany, France and Switzerland where they will stage town hall and open-air concerts.
Principal Secretary of Culture and Heritage Josephta Mukobe, while flagging off the team at the ministry's headquarters, lauded the team for seeking to re-energize Christianity in Europe while at the same time re-awakening its interest in Kenya.
"We want the world to know that beyond athletics, Kenya has a diverse cultural heritage such as our music, our crafts, our foods, and our languages and belief systems," said Ms Mukobe.
The PS stated that although Gospel message was brought to Africa from Europe, the latter has been witnessing dwindling numbers of worshipers forcing most church buildings to be converted into social halls and museums.
"I am therefore encouraged that you have embarked on this journey to rekindle the value of this Faith to our brethren there," she said.
She urged the team to observe decorum, noting that any antisocial conduct by any team member would easily be adjudged as 'Kenyan behaviour'.
The group's leader Pastor Kituyi said that the Christian-oriented group, which has been in existent for two years, is versatile and will stage folk dances and music from various Kenyan communities besides belting out gospel music.
"Our objective is to reach out to the world with Kenyan cultural and gospel music. This mission will cost about Sh23 million which has been enabled by various sponsors. We are is estimated to cost Sh20 million and has been enabled by various sponsors. We are also scheduled to tour the USA later this year," he said.
Former Tatuu singer Angela Ndambuki has been appointed Vice Chairperson of Kenya Association of Music Producers (Kamp).
Angela was recently kicked out as Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya National Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) after just eight months in office.
She landed the new role on Tuesday and will serve for a a period of three years.
Angela promised to fight for the good of Kenyan artistes who are members of Kamp.
"I am honored to be appointed as Vice Chairperson of KAMP. It gives me the opportunity to share my experience and help grow the organization. I believe there are huge opportunities for the organization and I look forward to working with the Board and management team to strengthen our position in the Copyright industry for the benefit of all members," she said.
Angela is a former member of the Kenyan trio band Tatuu that also included Angela Mwandanda and Debbie Asila. The band rose to fame 15 years ago with hits such as 'Teso', 'Jua Lanyesha'.
Angela was among seven new directors who were elected to the positions during Kamp's Annual General Meeting.
She previously served as the Chief Executive Officer at Performers Rights Society of Kenya (Prisk) and held a similar role at the Collective Management Organizations (CMO) tasked with the collection of royalities on behalf of local musicians.
Angela will deputize Anthony Karani who was appointed chair.
Popular Nigerian musician, Duncan Mighty, has come under fire as fans and other music lovers have reacted to a video showing him prostrating to David Adeleke, popularly known as (Davido) in Port Harcourt.
Duncan Mighty had taken to his Instagram page to share the video of him, Davido and other musicians in the studio wherein he tried to prostrate to Davido as well as thanking him for collaborating on a song. He said Davido has elevated him, the entertainment industry in Port Harcourt, and the entire Niger Delta by that act. He also thanked Davido for flying to Port Harcourt with his private jet for the video.
However, while some fans applauded him for the video, others seem to be displeased with Duncan Mighty for trying to, or, even prostrating to Davido at all.
Below are the tweets of the reactions:
Duncan Mighty is falling the hands of his supporters lmaoooo
-- Wakiri The Wag (@Oddy4real) 16 August 2018
Dont mistaken Duncan Mighty's humility for stupidity
-- Femi Factor (@iamfemifactor) 16 August 2018
Duncan Mighty 'postrates' for Davido, says the singer has elevated him, the entertainment industry in Port Harcourt, and the entire Niger Delta, after OBO featured him in a new song.
Is Duncan Mighty looking down on himself, does he really knows his worth? @TouchPH @Gidi_Traffic pic.twitter.com/OB6QaK74vW
-- OdinakaGod (@TweetNaijaBlog) 16 August 2018
While we were busy attacking Wizkid's fans for saying Wizkid's collabo with Duncan Mighty brought Duncan Mighty's career back to life, My G is there prostrating just for a collabo with Davido. Game Over!!! pic.twitter.com/C5CjLDAo0V
-- Beks (@JoshuaUbeku) 16 August 2018
Duncan Mighty is so humble!!
He expressed his gratitude to Davido 👏👏🙌 pic.twitter.com/URePgJGwpc
-- URBAN OJA (@urban_oja) 16 August 2018
Duncan Mighty fans right now pic.twitter.com/jV3oOiJ3vC
-- Wakiri The Wag (@Oddy4real) 16 August 2018
So na Duncan mighty need the epp last last https://t.co/CqA3HaWLHa
-- Shin Akuma (@eDante_) 16 August 2018
Duncan mighty (prostrating before wizkid and Davido) low key thinks he is pulling PR stunts.
Man dey f**k up and has no one to tell him.
-- VIEWS FROM THE 7EVEN (@DaTvinciCode) 16 August 2018
Duncan Mighty trending 📉 again. I really don't know why but I saw Davido and Prostrate 😟 pic.twitter.com/GqhPVcaBO8
-- Royal-Tee (@ObajemuJnr) 16 August 2018
What people don't understand is Davido flew down to Port Harcourt to feature on Duncan Mighty's song. And Wizkid paid for the fake love video. Duncan mighty is a boss.
-- Olusegun Adeleke (@AweelowBaba) 16 August 2018
I'm happy to see Duncan Mighty appreciated the love from Davido and Wizkid. Very humble man.
-- Olusegun Adeleke (@AweelowBaba) 16 August 2018
I think so many people don't understand what Duncan Mighty said in that video and I really don't see anything wrong with him prostrating,though I think he shouldn't have.
Duncan might just be a humble fellow
-- PHORLAR💞💙💜💚❤💛 (@phorlarh_) 16 August 2018
Kinni big deal? Duncan Mighty is humble, doesn't make him less of a legend that he is. https://t.co/lTCPlFtByi
-- Olaotan (@Capable_lisha) 16 August 2018
The National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) has developed a software where they will upload the primary and secondary curricula on a tablet to ease understanding of the syllabus and enable learners to explore at their convenience.
The technology they have termed Virtual Learn is loaded with simulations and animation, which can be manipulated, and permits performance tracking by schools and parents and can be accessed on mobile devices and android.
Sources at NCDC who requested for anonymity in order to speak freely said the project has cost more than Shs1 billion and will be ready for launch in the course of the month.
The students will buy the tablet at a reduced price ranging from Shs300,000 to Shs650,000 depending on the special features they have.
In the meantime, 25 secondary schools whose students can buy the tablets have been enrolled on the programme before it is extended to all education institutions.
However, the schools have to pay a subscription fee for each student of between Shs5,000 and Shs10,000, depending on their locality.
"There are certain schools, which do not have an opportunity to get good learning materials. The content uploaded on this software will be harmonised. The students will have self-assessment before they proceed to another topic. It will generate a report; if a topic was difficult, it will give options of delivering that content and the feedback will improve on the teaching and learning," the source said.
The NCDC specialist in-charge of lower secondary curriculum review, Mr James Asile Droti, yesterday confirmed that they developed the software to motivate the learners and meet the technological needs of the 21st century but declined to give details, saying they will be shared during the launch at a yet-to-be disclosed date. While it is not compulsory at the moment to own this tablet, officials close to the NCDC planning meetings said once adopted, it will be self-explanatory for parents to facilitate their children to own one.
For the learners who will not afford the tablet, NCDC officials said they will open pop-up classrooms for disadvantaged schools and regions using the termly subscription individual students wishing to access the programme will pay.
The software was developed in partnership with Sensal Systems Ltd and is both an online and offline system where learning materials are uploaded in the software on a tablet.
The students' interaction with the tablet will be monitored by NCDC officials, head teachers, teachers and parents. The NCDC officials will handle the training only for schools, which have already paid.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Tuesday shocked parliament with revelation of how her son once sought her help to enable him cheat in a national examination.
While appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Education CS Amina cited the case of here son to illustrate the wave of student unrest in boarding secondary schools which some quarters have attributed to fear of examinations.
CS Amina narrated to the committee how her son who sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2015 approached her for money to buy leaked examination papers.
"My son was in Form Four three years ago. He came asking for money saying a teacher in his school had asked for the cash. According to the teacher, the money was to be used in buying the students leaked CSE papers," Amina recounted.
"I told my son that I did not have the money and that I was going to work for it. He insisted the money was needed urgently. I stood my ground nonetheless. He blamed me for failing to chip into enabling him score an (A Plain) like his colleagues," further told the committee.
The CS went on to state that 107 secondary schools had been affected by the unrest of students, with 67 being rocked by arson. So far, 198 students have been arrested for their involvement in the wave of unrest in various secondary schools.
Last month, Amina warned students found responsible of taking part in school arson attacks of dire consequences, including not be allowed to join Kenyan universities.
Reverend Stephen Mbugua has been appointed as the new vice chancellor of Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).
The announcement was made by the chancellor of the university Berhaneyesus D. Cardinal Souraphiel, Archbishop of Addis Ababa.
Prof Mr Mbugua was appointed at the conclusion of 19th Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) plenary assembly which took place between July 13 and 23, 2018 in Addis Ababa.
Mr Mbugua, who is from the Nakuru Catholic Diocese, takes over from Professor Justus Mbae, whose term ends in September, having served the university since May 5, 2016.
The new vice chancellor will assume office on October 1, 2018 in keeping with the university's tradition of giving a two-month period for effective transition and handover.
Until his appointment, Mr Mbugua was the vice-chancellor of Tangaza University College, which is a constituent college of CUEA.
Cash-strapped university fights to stay afloat
He holds a doctorate in educational psychology from Egerton University and he brings to CUEA 20 years of experience and knowledge in management and leadership.
At the same plenary, Rtd Rev Charles Kasonde, Bishop of Solwezi, Zambia was elected as the new chairman of AMECEA, taking over from the outgoing chairman Cardinal Souraphiel.
In his position, Rev Kasonde will also be the new chancellor at CUEA.
"With this transition, the University management is confident of a stronger CUEA that will continue to offer quality programmes for innovative and marketable graduates into the future," said the statement sent to newsrooms on Tuesday by the university's communication department.
CUEA, a chartered private international university, was established in 1984 by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA).
AMECEA plenary comprises of Catholic Bishops of Episcopal Conferences of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and the affiliate members of Djibouti and Somalia.
Muslim female students wearing hijab (file photo).
The Lagos State Government yesterday noted that it would not allow the use of Hijab in all its public schools until the Supreme Court "determines an appeal seeking to upturn the decision of a Court of Appeal."
The state government equally clarified that religious institutions were exempted from paying taxes, according to the state laws, though any religious institution engaging in commercial activities was liable to pay taxes, accordingly.
The State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdulateef Abdulhakeem on a Television Continental (TVC) programme, 'YourView' yesterday, said the state government would not enforce the appellate court's decision on the use of Hijab.
A Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos had in July 2016 unanimously set aside the judgment of a Lagos High Court, which banned students in public schools in the state from putting on the Hijab with their school uniforms.
The court presided over by Justice AB Gumel held that the appeal was meritorious and should be allowed. Gumel held that the use of the Hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship, hence it would constitute a violation of the appellants' rights to stop them from wearing it in public schools.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the appellate court, the state government approached the apex court, challenging the court decision, which reinstated the use of Hijab in the state's public schools on July 21, 2016.
Confronted with a question on the refusal of the state government to enforce the court decision on the use of Hijab, Abdulhakeem noted that the state government "firmly believes in the rule of law and will continue to uphold it."
He explained that the state government did not enforce the judgment of the appellate court, which reinstated the use of Hijab in the public schools on July 21, 2016 until the state government had already appealed the judgment.
According to the commissioner, the state government is awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court on this matter. We cannot enforce the decision of the lower court until the Supreme Court determines the appeal before it.
He also clarified the position of the law that exempted religious institutions from paying taxes, noting that all religious institutions were exempted, though those involved in commercial activities was liable to pay taxes.
"Religious institutions are not taxable under the Lagos laws. If religious institutions engage in business transactions, they are liable to pay taxes. But as far as the institution is concerned, it is exempted from paying tax," he said.
He explained that the law was not applicable "to those who convert their buildings into mosque to avoid paying taxes," adding that we have made it abundantly clear that they are not allowed to convert residential premises into religious centres.
"So, people should just respect God the way the state government has respected God and do not come under that arena to avoid payment of taxes," he said.
He debunked reports that it was planning to commence paying salaries to religious leaders in the state, saying the claim was totally untrue and misleading.
He said the reports did not contain any iota of truth, thereby urging the residents "to disregard it in its entirety. Contrary to the reports, we have no plan to employ imams and pastors. We are not willing to delve into a private realm.
"There is a symbiotic relationship between the state government and faith-based organisations. It is a mutually beneficial relationship which has contributed to the growth and development of the state," the commissioner said.
Abdulhakeem had been quoted to have said the state government would soon place religious leaders on the State salary structure to encourage them to use their Pulpit and the Minbar to re-orientate citizenry to shun corruption and immorality.
He however clarified that he was misunderstood or misquoted, explaining how he encouraged religious leaders "to be advocates against corruption because religious leaders have millions of adherents and they enjoy the allegiance of millions of followers.
"We expect them to advocate good governance and selflessness so that they can influence their members positively. In Lagos State, our success is that we have cutting-edge approaches to relating with religious leaders."
Nairobi — Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has called on parent and teacher intervention to ensure students are disciplined both at home and in school.
While appearing before the National Assembly Education Committee, Mohamed attributed the wave of school unrest to fear of exams and drug abuse by students among other possible causes.
"Some of the reasons that may have or may cause students unrest are indiscipline, drug and substance abuse. Reaction to change management especially after we had school principals transferred and inadequate school facilities among others may have also contributed," said Mohamed.
She said that the ministry will not relent in the fight against the vice that has seen one 108 schools affected leading to loss property.
"The ministry has implemented and continues to implement recommendations of taskforce reports commissioned by ministry and has put in place a multi-agency standing committee to review and continuously advice on the implementation process. We will do our best to bring the school unrest to a stop," outlined Mohamed.
She also explained that her ministry has taken some short-term measures to curb the vice which include close collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government as well as ensuring that the schools adhere to the student transfer policy as elaborated under Regulation 40 of the Basic Education Regulations, 2015 among others.
According to her, a total of 198 arrests have so far been made and once the investigation is over the culprits will face the full force of the law.
Nairobi County leads in the number of arrests made with 37 people followed by Makueni County with 34 arrests and in third position is Homabay County with 26.
The least affected counties were Kericho, West Pokot and Kisii.
Currently, 63 schools which were adversely affected have since been closed.
Pangani Girls High School students on Juja Road, Nairobi (file photo).
Nairobi — Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has directed public, private primary and secondary schools to hold classes strictly between 8am to 3.30pm as part of measures to address indiscipline leading to unrest in schools.
While appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Mohamed told MPs that investigations had revealed that some schools force students to attend classes as early as 5.30am and after 5pm, a move that could have frustrated the learners.
She submitted a report detailing other causes of unrest in schools which include inadequate resources, change of management among others which have led to arson cases in over 100 schools countrywide.
"Even as we maintain standards, we must not overstretch our children," she said.
She said the tight school programmes did not provide time for learners to think or play, saying that school programmes should not make it hard for students to be children.
Nyanza region was the worst affected by the unrest that led to the arrest and prosecution of about 200 suspects who included teachers and students.
Student indiscipline was also attributed to alcohol and drug abuse and frustration that the tight administration of national examinations had made it impossible for them to access examinations a head of sitting for them.
She said cheating in examinations had become an accepted or normal practice, saying it was time the students knew that only hard work and honesty pays in the long run.
She asked managers of schools to have regular meetings where students are allowed to air their views and grievances to the administration without victimization.
She however said the ministry is working on a framework that that will see school atmosphere improved for learners.
She discounted corporal punishment as a viable form of discipline students saying it undermined the dignity of learners and their self-confidence.
Khartoum — The increased price of fuel in Sudan is one of the leading factors that caused the price hikes for domestic flight prices, according to the head of the parliamentary transport committee.
Member of Parliament Mohamed Ahmed El Shayeb, who heads the transport, roads and bridges committee in the Sudanese parliament, told Radio Dabanga that several factors have caused the increase in prices, including the increase in fuel prices by 23 per cent.
"In addition, the tax imposed on each aviation service alone - called vat tax - as a global tax increased by 17 per cent in Sudan. It rose ten per cent in other countries," El Shayeb told Radio Dabanga yesterday.
"Next to that, customs exemptions that benefit only foreign airlines are applied to the national companies, which pay customs on all inputs such as spare parts and other operating services."
He explained that the owners of airlines pay the parallel price for all services and operation costs instead of the indicative price, which has raised operation costs in general.
According to the new increases, active as of today, the value of the plane ticket from Khartoum to El Geneina is SDG3,290 ($116.88*), for Khartoum-Nyala SDG2,695 ($95.70) and to El Fasher SDG2,455 ($87.22).
"Our National Assembly in the Committee of Transport, Roads and Bridges has completed an amendment of Article 54 of the Sudanese Customs Code, which makes a distinction between national and foreign companies," the MP said.
The committee worked in coordination with Airports Holding Company, Civil Aviation, Customs and Taxation, and the Ministry of Oil on this, in order to remove intersections between these bodies related to the aviation industry and national aviation.
"They must be supported because it is important for tourism and revitalises the economy/ The return of this support will benefit the country and the economy," according to El Shayeb.
The Civil Aviation Authority has acknowledged that a number of airlines have been out of business because they were unable to keep pace with the rise of industry inputs of customs and spare parts.
Spokesman of the authority, Abdelhafiz Abdelrahim, attributed the price hikes in airline tickets to the high prices of insurance companies, taxes, transit, landing fees and fuel.
Yesterday, economic analyst and former banker Hafiz Ismail confirmed that the ticket price increase is linked to the rapidly dropping value of the Sudanese Pound. He warned that Sudan may soon enter the stage of hyperinflation.
Apart from skyrocketing prices, the majority of the Sudanese are suffering from continuing fuel shortages, a scarcity of wheat and medicines, repeated power cuts and drinking water outages.
* Based on the indicative US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CboS)
Ethiopian Airlines has announced rolled out stopover packages without any additional airfare that cater for all leisure needs with a view to promote tourism in the country.
The service commenced on August 1. This is also expected to encourage passengers to visit historical and tourism sites in Ethiopia and return to the airport to continue flights to their final destinations.
Passengers traveling through Addis Ababa and continuing their journey to one of the destinations on Ethiopian network can now take advantage of stopover offerings from Ethiopian Holidays, the tour operator wing of Ethiopian Airlines, enabling them to discover and experience the many historical, cultural, religious and natural treasures of Ethiopia, Land of Origins. An online e-visa service for processing stopover visa is available for all international visitors to Ethiopia.
The airline said the packages range from sightseeing in Addis Ababa, the diplomatic capital of Africa, to visits to the pre-Christian era obelisks of Axum, the stunning medieval rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the amazing 9th century mosques of Harar, the majestic castles of Gondar, the stunning source of the Blue Nile, the jaw-dropping Simien Mountains, the splendor of the lake side resorts of Hawassa and Arba Minch, or the unique coffee farms of Kaffa, birth place of coffee and many others.
Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam said, "Ethiopian is working with all stakeholders in the tourism chain to make Ethiopia a tourism destination of choice. With its many riches, the world has yet to truly discover Ethiopia and tourism has the potential to become the main foreign currency generator for the country and a mass job creator for the youth. With the stopover packages, we aim to attract a significant portion of our transit customers in Addis as tourists and to considerably enhance the flow of tourism into the country."
Ethiopia airlines said the stopover packages are easily accessible on its website and would pop-up as an option when passengers book flights transiting thru Addis Ababa or can directly be accessed at Ethiopian Holidays website.
Lagos — Nigeria's mangrove ecosystem is said to be the largest in Africa and the third largest in the world spanning about 10,000 square kilometres, from Badagry in the West to Calabar in the South, an expert has said.
The Executive Director, Eco Restoration Foundation, Prince David Omaghomi, stated this in Lagos recently while marking the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem 2018. Joining other environmentalists to advocate for the conservation of mangrove to protect the coastal areas, he said, "If the mangroves are not preserved, then the coastal areas will be wiped out completely."
The event was organized by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and MangroveXpo. It was the first time the day would be marked in Nigeria.
"When we lose the value of the mangrove, we make the poor get poorer because most people depend on those aqua-species in the mangrove for their livelihood," he noted. Omaghomi highlighted some of the threats to the mangrove ecosystem to include indiscriminate activities of oil exploration firms in the Niger Delta and government's involvement in environmental degradation.
The Technical Director of NCF, Dr. Joseph Onoja, said the celebration was to create awareness of the mangrove and to find solutions to challenges threatening the ecosystem.
An environmentalist, Mr Desmond Majekodunmi, said the mangrove forest in Nigeria is one of the most valuable bio-diverse resources in the environment which used to be protected.
"It is our life support system that we inherited in a fairly good condition from our parents because they hadn't abused and destroyed it by misuse of technology," he noted.
Highlighting the imperative of mangrove conservation, a book, 'Man and Mangrove, An Environmental Awakening', written by the director MangroveXpo, Mr Jerry Chidi was presented at the event.
School bus crash site near Mwingi town.
Nairobi — Any school activity entailing travel should not be undertaken past 6pm, President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned school principals and managers.
While officially opening the 10th African Confederation of Principals Conference at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa, President Kenyatta said it was unfortunate that 11 children lost their lives in the Mwingi accident that occurred on Saturday.
Kenyatta said there's a directive from the Ministry of Education that any school activity entailing travel must be undertaken between 6am and 6pm.
The accident which killed pupils of St Gabriel Primary School Mwingi is reported to have occurred at around 11pm while the pupils were returning from an academic trip from Mombasa.
"If you have delayed, for one reason or another, let us try and go to the closest secondary school, go to the closest police station that can guide you to the closest secondary school and let the children go and spend the night, cause after all it is better to be late by one day than to lose life," said Kenyatta.
Kenyatta led the delegation of the over 1,200 principals from Ghana, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria and South Africa in a one minute of silence to remember the 11 pupils who lost their lives.
The Head of State said any school in the country has access to any other school in another region.
The federal government may not be willing to provide about N30 billion needed to complete the new airports terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano airports, THISDAY has learnt.
While most of the projects are over 80 per cent completed, the terminals at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and that of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja were wrongly located, necessitating that many other structures must be removed before they would be put into use.
In 2013, Nigeria obtained a $500 million facility from the Chinese Exim Bank with additional counterpart funding of $100 million to build four terminals at the four major airports in the country, including the airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano.
About a month ago when President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the train station at the Abuja airport and inspected the new terminal, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Saleh Dunoma, said the terminal in Abuja would be put to use in October.
Dunoma, said major work to be done would be to connect the new terminal to the old one in order to have seamless passenger movement, as the train station, which is located at the new terminal would have to process passengers from both the local and international terminals.
But a study on the infrastructural limitation of the airport, funded by the Ministry of Transportation, disclosed that there are many facilities that must be relocated before the terminal would become operational.
The report which was carried out by Arcaid, Architects and Environmental Consultants, revealed that the new airport terminals built at the cost of $600 million (N2.16 billion) are inadequate for targeted passenger traffic and lack essential facilities.
The report of the studies made available to THISDAY, disclosed that to provide the infrastructure lacking in the terminals, government has to deploy over $500 million.
This would be in addition to the funds needed to destroy and relocate fire service in Abuja and Lagos airports, the control tower, reinforcement of power supply and others.
Details of the report disclosed that adequate feasibility study was not carried out before locating the terminals at the Abuja and Lagos airports where it obstructed the fire service and the control tower respectively.
The studies also revealed that essential facilities that were absent in the new terminals included landside link, which ought to link the new terminal to the old, drop off canopy, access roads, apron and taxiway, water treatment upgrade and power improvement equipment.
This was acknowledged by the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who regretted that more money would be spent on the projects.
Sirika had explained that the planning of the project did not envisage that the building would lead to additional works, power and water supply, adding that it was also discovered that the building would block both the control and fire towers which would require relocation, so additional work was required to link it with the existing terminal as well as expanding the apron to accommodate bigger air planes.
"The contractor has told us some of the challenges he has been facing regarding some of the components of work and some additional works required for this project to be put into use. "Unfortunately, some of these components are complex which would delay this job and some of them are from the foundation like that of the sewer and water.
"There is also the problem of the control tower blocking the access into the terminal apron and also the inadequate nature of the apron itself," Sirika said.
But FAAN officials, THISDAY learnt, are happy that operations would start in the new terminals where modern equipment has been installed and where passenger facilitation would be done with modern facilities.
Yenagoa — Pupils of the Bayelsa State Government Model Schools on excursion at the multi-billion international airport have commended the Governor Seriake Dickson for changing the narratives of the State, through his developmental strides.
The students, who were left in awe by the nearly completed state-of-the-art facilities at the international cargo airport, commended the huge investments in infrastructure, education and other sectors of the economy.
The State Commissioner of Education, Jonathan Obuebite, who accompanied the over 1,200 students on excursion to the airport, said the facility will be commissioned by month end.
The visiting students described the airport project as a landmark achievement of the restoration government, adding that when finally completed it will ease the transportation system, boost the Internally Generated Revenue and create employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the state.
According to them, the visit afforded the opportunity to visit the project site of one of the laudable achievements of the present administration.
In his address, Obuebite said the excursion was aimed at intimating the students with the developmental strides of the present administration, as well as exposing them to other learning methodology and widening their scope of learning.
The visit, according to him is part of the activities lined up for the free summer classes that started two weeks ago at the Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state.
Nigerian-British writer, Anietie Isong has been named winner of the 2018 McKItterick Prize for his debut novel, Radio Sunrise.
He received the prize from broadcaster and actor, Stephen Fry at the Authors' Awards ceremony in London, on July 19.
The ceremony, which took place at the Royal Institute of British Architects, saw over 400 guests from across the publishing industry come together, as the winners of other prizes administered by Society of Authors were revealed.
Prize Judge, Aamer Hussein, short story writer and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature said: "It's a particular pleasure to discover the original, intriguing voice of Anietie Isong.
"In his brief, deftly-told Radio Sunrise, the author depicts his often hapless protagonist's sexual mishaps and political travails on a journey to his hometown with a unique blend of humour and poignance - An intriguing and accomplished new novelist."
Isong, who is the brother of Emem Isong, the award-winning Nigerian filmmaker, says he is excited to be named winner of the prize.
"I wrote Radio Sunrise to help draw attention to a myriad of issues in Nigeria, and I am thrilled that this resonated with the judges," he said.
The McKitterick Prize, administered by the Society of Authors, honours the first novel by a writer aged over 40. Isong, the first Nigerian to win the prize since it was established in 1990, joins an illustrious line of previous award winners including Helen Dunmore, Petina Gappah and Mark Haddon. Apart from receiving the prize money, Isong has been invited to speak at the Marlborough Literature Festival in the UK, in September. Isong has worked as a journalist, speechwriter and communications manager in Nigeria and the UK. He holds a PhD in New Media and Writing.
The wife of the Ogun State governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, was recently equated with legendary Queen Moremi Ajasoro, an influential and brave queen of the Yoruba race, who fought a violent war during her time to save her people from prowling attackers. This tribute was made by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, at the unveiling of a book titled, "Queen Moremi Ajasoro", dedicated to her. Mary Nnah who witnessed the event reports
Ile Ife, an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria, located in the present day Osun State, was recently agog when its traditional ruler, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi played host to an array of personalities from all walks of life at the Oduduwa Hall of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in Osun State. The occasion was the unveiling of a historic book, "Queen Moremi Ajasoro", which vividly re-echoes the virtues of Queen Moremi, most especially in saving the people of Ile-Ife from recurrent invasions.
Dedicated to wife of the Ogun State governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, the book is basically about the legendary Queen Moremi Ajasoro, an influential and brave queen who fought a violent war during her time to save her people from prowling attackers.
The venue of the event was filled to capacity with royal fathers, monarchs, government officials, members of the academia, and cultural enthusiasts from far and near.
Unveiling the book, the Ooni of Ife described Mrs. Amosun as a jewel whose deeds and merits are written in gold.
'Moremi of Yorubaland'
The enthralling story of legendary Queen Moremi Ajasoro of the ancient of Ile-Ife appropriately exemplifies sacrifice and passion for the survival of the Yoruba race, bearing in mind her invaluable contributions in the 12th Century, which served as the harbinger of hope for the people and this, according to Oba Ogunwusi, is what Mrs. Amosun stands for in the present day Yoruba race.
The monarch described the Ogun State First Lady as an Amazon in the likeness of the legendary queen. While extolling Mrs. Amosun as a woman in the character of the legend, the Ooni of Ife described her as a courageous, intelligent, beautiful, humble, soft-spoken and selflessly useful to the society, just like Queen Moremi served in her time.
Ogunwusi said Mrs. Amosun's generosity, humility and magnanimity in service made her a role model, while as a caring mother she remained a strong pillar in the sustenance of democracy in Ogun State, behind her husband, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, governor of the state.
"Olufunso Amosun has immensely supported cultural agenda in Ogun State, Nigeria and beyond. Her merits have been written in gold and she has become a heroine in Yorubaland", the Ooni said.
Interestingly, the story of Queen Moremi, the beautiful wife of Oranmiyan, the Ooni of Ife, Obalufon Alayemore, summarises the heroic deeds of a woman, who dared the odds to save her people from extinction following external invasion of Ile-Ife.
The invaders were said to have appeared so weird to Ife people on the battlefield that they were thought to be spirits. As the invasion persisted, the land was enveloped by perpetual fear.
Moremi, who shared in the worry of her husband, Oba Oranmiyan, and the discomfort caused the people by the development, made a bold attempt to work out a solution to the problem by expressing her readiness to offer anything as sacrifice to the goddess of River Esimirin. This was with a view to discovering the secret and strength of the enemies that killed and maimed her people in their thousands.
When the enemies came calling again, she was said to have been taken as a slave by the people and due to her beauty, the then invading king married her. Exploring her wit as a woman, she was able to extract the truth about the warriors from her husband.
After acquainting herself with the secrets of her new husband's army, she escaped to Ile-Ife and revealed this to the Yorubas who were able to subsequently defeat the invaders.
According to the Ooni, Moremi's legendary feat brought peace that the monarch's royal home and the entire Yoruba race enjoy today.
Oba Ogunwusi maintained that the attributes of Moremi, which were exhibited by Amosun, compelled him to dedicate the book to her and also proclaim her as the Moremi of Yorubaland.
The book, "Queen Moremi Ajasoro", written and produced by Princess Ronke Ademiluyi in collaboration with Oduduwa Foundation and Obafemi Awolowo University Centre for Cultural Studies, was launched as a historic book in preservation of Yoruba cultural heritage.
The 80-page book, published in both English and Yoruba languages, is a monumental documentary of the feats of the famous Yoruba Amazon, "Queen Moremi Ajosoro" who fought wars, sacrificed so much for the emancipation of her people. The book will be used in schools as a history book.
The global heritage ambassador for Queen Moremi Ajasoro (QMA) brand, Aderonke Ademiluyi, explained that Queen Moremi Ajasoro initiative was established by the Ooni as part of the House of Oduduwa Foundation.
"As the custodian of Yoruba culture, Oba Ogunwusi is committed to the promotion of the rich narrative of the legendary Queen Moremi Ajasoro of which he has demonstrated in various ways of keeping alive her rich legacy", Ademiluyi said.
She disclosed that one of the projects in honour of Moremi was the construction of the 42-feet Moremi statue of liberty, which is the tallest statue in Nigeria. So also is the cultural pageant, which empowers young women and beauty queens into becoming future employers of labour with the sum of N5 million impact investment fund dedicated to this cause.
Addressing the gathering, the chairman on the occasion, the Olugbon of Ile Igbon, Oba Olusola Alao, said, "This is the time for women to be actively involved in government as Moremi had set the pace centuries ago. Moremi, through her historical feat stood for justice and liberty. This is a clarion call that women should be involved in governance in our nation. Women should take over the mantle of leadership."
Mrs. Amosun, in company of her husband, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was the cynosure of all eyes at the hall as tributes and accolades were bestowed on her by numerous speakers.
In his remarks, Governor Amosun said, "Our tradition, custom and heritage must not be forgotten. We must not forget our heroes. We have to thank the Ooni of Ife and others involved in this book launch for keeping our culture alive," stressing that religion and civilisation should not erode African culture.
Mrs. Amosun said in the history of the Yoruba, the power and strength of a woman was aptly demonstrated by the great Heroine, Queen Moremi Ajasoro.
She stated, "She rose against all odds to save her people from harassment and invasions; it took her intuitive intervention and strong will, to restore peace in Ile Ife and save the entire Yoruba race from further intimidation and destruction.
"Ultimately, she had to sacrifice her most prized possession to save her people from further oppression, misery and torments from neighbouring adversaries. The continuous recognition and celebration of this great Amazon sincerely gladdens my heart."
She added, "It is essential to constantly acknowledge, remember and celebrate all heroes in whom we are well pleased. I am immensely humbled, grateful and appreciative of this honour bestowed on me today, knowing fully well that I am not worthy to hold a candle to the magnanimity of the heroine being celebrated here today.
"I therefore take solace in the belief, that this dedication is a celebration of all women especially those that believe in and promote the core values of womanhood, women that exemplify and promote integrity, dignity, courage, hard work, sacrifice, contentment, justice, humility and love.
"The story of Moremi is constantly re-enacted in our contemporary world today and a good number of mothers, sisters and daughters seated here in this auditorium are good examples of this."
Mrs. Amosun described Queen Moremi as a forerunner and trail blazer for a number of other great Yoruba icons like Madam Efunroye Tinubu, Mama Funmilayo Ransome Kuti and a host of other great amazons who fought for women emancipation and paved the way for the traction gained in women's liberation today.
While appreciating Oba Ogunwusi for finding her worthy of recognition with the Queen Moremi book dedicated to her, she said, "Kabiyesi, I wish to assure you that I do not take this with levity neither do I take it for granted, I can only pray that God will assist me to live up to the expectations that formed this decision.
"Needless to say, dedications like this provide platforms for us to reflect on who we are and how we are living, it serves as a constant reminder to all of us that whatever we do today, is what becomes history tomorrow, may posterity record each and every one of us favourably."
The book is a collaboration between journalist Chris Steyn and former undercover narcotics agent Mark Anthony Dawid Minnie. They compare notes to deliver a shocking story of apartheid-era criminality, cover-ups and official complicity in the rape and murder of children. Here is the foreword, written by Marianne Thamm.
In January 2015, an investigative team consisting of South African and Belgian police swooped on the home of a 37-year-old computer engineer, William Beale, located in the popular Garden Route seaside town of Plettenberg Bay. The raid on Beale came after months of meticulous planning that was part of an intercontinental investigation into an online child sex and pornography ring. The investigation was code-named Operation Cloud 9.
Beale was the first South African to be arrested. He was snagged as a direct result of the October 2014 arrest by members of the Antwerp Child Sexual Exploitation Team of a Belgian paedophile implicated in the ring. South African police, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Heila Niemand, co-operated with Belgian counterparts to expose the sinister network, which extended across South Africa and the globe. By July 2017, at least 40 suspects had been arrested, including a 64-year-old Johannesburg legal consultant and a 20-year-old...
Models from Rainbow Nation Little Charmers modeling academy.
Little Charmers have hosted their 5th Annual Charity Show where former president Nelson Mandela's daughter Zindzi's children Zazi (8) and Ziwelene (6) launched the Mandela family's first children's story book titled Grandad Mandela.
Singer and songwriter LeAnne Dlamini emceed and entertained guests at the event whose proceeds were donated to the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in Johannesburg.
Children from Rainbow Nation Little Charmers modeling academy showcased the latest fashion from stores like MR Price Kids, Cotton on Kids, Guess Kids while random adults were picked from the crowd to model for gift vouchers.
Zazi and Ziwelene also took to the stage alongside their mother Nondzolo Lindo Mandela to launch the picture book that explains Madiba's role in ending apartheid. The book was written by ambassador Zindzi Mandela, Zazi and Ziwelene. It is available at Cotton on Kids store.
A raffle draw was run and the generous winner donated his R10,000 worth of goodies prize to the Mandela Children's Hospital.
Little Miss and Mr Charity were crowned for selling the highest number of tickets to the show.
A cheque of R60 000 rands was donated to the children's hospital at the end of the show.
The 'Little Charmers Charity Show' was born in 2014. The aim of the events is to teach children the importance of giving back by ticket sales to generate funds for a selected organisation involving children.
This year's show was dedicated to Madiba's legacy.
Kajiado County government has signed a deal with Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB) that will see the latter publish competency-based curriculum learning materials for Early Childhood Development (ECD) and vocational training colleges in the county.
The county Education and Vocational Training executive Mr Seki Lenku said that the initiative will cost the county about Sh15 million in printing and distribution costs to schools in the county.
He said that the literature package will include books, learning charts and other teaching materials.
"We realised that the learners in the county are not well versed with the Maa culture and language. Through this partnership, we now have an opportunity to tap and mould them in their formative years," said Mr Lenku.
Mr Lenku said that ECD teachers will undergo training in August on curriculum implementation.
"The new initiative will improve the provision quality education for our young learners; Governor Joseph ole Lenku will flag off the books in the coming weeks," she said.
On his part, KLB Managing Director Victor Lomaria said that once published, the books will be uniquely patented to the county government complete with the governor's seal as a value proposition mark that will uniquely identify them as belonging to the county.
He said that the MOU will include the printing of vernacular literature for the county schools.
"As your partners in the education sector, we are committed to ensuring quality education is realised in schools within Kajiado County," said Mr Lomaria.
The executive members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 37th yearly international convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), visited Rutam House, the corporate head office of The Guardian Newspapers, on Thursday, to intimate the newspaper house of its events holding at Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos from October 25 to 28.
The LOC Chairman, Akin Adeoya, said the three-day event would be unique, especially as it will be hosting over 1,000 writers from the 36 states and Abuja.
He disclosed that this would be the first time in 25 years Lagos State is hosting the convention, adding that the last one it held was in a way dissipated because of the death of the then president of the association, the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was executed by the government of General Sani Abacha.
According to Adeoya, the LOC has put together some pre-events activities that will deliver the magic of the state to participants.
With Literature: Megacities And Mega Narratives as theme, Adeoya revealed that there would be a colloquium on digital publishing, stressing that the forum is legacy project designed to immortalise creative spirit of the late Tayo Aderinokun, who promoted and inspired creativity aside actively supporting writing through Lagos chapter of ANA.
He also disclosed that Patrons' Night, one of the pre-events programmes, would hold in advance of the convention.
According to him, the event will be an assemblage of friends and supporters of the creative writing world in Lagos State.
He informed that the night slated for August 26, will feature the induction of patrons, light entertainment and intellectual discuss on books, piracy, publishing and the use of the World Wide Web as a medium of expression and writing.
Calling on The Guardian to partner with ANA and to promote its activities, the LOC chairman disclosed that other activities line up for the event include mega beautiful Lagos show, feast of literacy and creativity as well as cultural fiesta.
Responding to the question if people still books, ANA Chairman, Lagos Chapter, Yemi Adebiyi, said people still read, adding that technology has provided more options for people of different to read diverse and varied materials on the Internet. He disclosed that apart from hard copies, e-books of different literary works and bookshops where they could be bought can be got from the Internet.
He revealed that ANA Lagos has begun a book reading advocacy programme in secondary schools across the state, adding that the project is, however, bedeviled by government's bureaucracy.
He noted that the advocacy programme is targeted at making students embrace reading culture.
Meanwhile, the duo of Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu I, and the Alayeluwa Oba R. I. Babatunde Balogun, Elejinrin of Ejinrin land, have, on different occasions, endorsed the international convention due to be hosted in Lagos.
Oba Akiolu, the Olowo Eko, as he is popularly known and addressed, said this in his palace in Iga Iduganran, on the Island of Lagos, when a team of the LOC paid him a courtesy visit.
Received by his personal staff in the presence of all the Lagos foremost chiefs, the Idejos and elders, on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, the ANA's team was warmly received as guests.
Oba Akiolu later narrated the history of beauty and hospitality of Lagos and Lagosians, to the admiration everyone in the palace, insisting, "there is hardly any one among the extremely rich Nigerians in, history, who has not shared in the hospitality and endless benevolence of Lagos gods of wealth," he said.
The team, which was led by Adebiyi, a biochemist and author, included, Adeoya, Feyi-Abiodun Samson Oyeniyi, politician and Lagos State Chapter's Public Relations Officer II and spokesman for the LO;, Ms. Yinka Kadiri, Chairperson of Publicity/Media Management Committee as well as Miss Elizabeth Uwandu a writer for Vanguard Newspaper.
According to Adebiyi, the visit to the Oba-in-Council became a necessity, as any responsible individual or organisations cannot afford to organise or hold the an event of the magnitude of ANA internationals convention without letting the Alayeluwa, a prominent royal father to, not only be awared, but be formally informed and involved.
According to Oba Akiolu, in his response, "I pray for a successful entry and exit of all participants at your convention. I wish you success and pray that no evil shall distort or destroy the success of the entire programme," he said, even as he promised to be at the event, personally, on the first day.
"Out of my tight schedule," he assured, "I will find time to, not only attend, but to support you beyond the period of the event."
Adeoya had requested that Oba Akiolu be royal father at the international convention as well as accept the offer to become a Royal Patron of the association.
Earlier, the Adeoya-led LOC, accompanied by Mr. Monday Edet, Secretary, Oyeniyi, and Mrs. Abigail Ohiero, Financial Secretary were at the palace of Elejinrin of Ejinrin land, His Royal Majesty, Alayeluwa, Oba R. I. Babatunde Balogun, the Adetoyese Ejalonibu II in Ketu-Ejinrin, Epe, Lagos State penultimate week.
The Oba gave the team a warm welcome. In response to the request of the LOC team, the Oba promised to give full support to ANA and the upcoming convention as well as ensuring an accommodating relationship with ANA, Lagos chapter, beyond the time of the event.
The team of the local organising committee, after being given light entertainment by the royal family of, in the presence of some Chiefs from Lagos, including, Chief Fashola Savage, the Awishe of Lagos, later went round to view the ancient town and some colonial days facilities which exhibit the historical touch of civilisation and splendour which have been long lost, due to abandonment or negligence from several past federal and state's government administrations. This, too, was the subject of lamentations by everyone within reach.
Nata — A group of 10 unemployed youths have launched a campaign dubbed 'donate-a-pad' aimed at supporting disabled and vulnerable girls.
The group, from Nata/Gweta area, would support the girls with sanitary pads on reaching puberty.
In an interview with BOPA recently, I-am-the-trademark Association founder, Ms Mbiganyi David (33), a mother of two said they would manage to give back love and benevolence to those in need.
She said their aim was to develop the community which raised them, adding that the campaign was launched last November and the target was to distribute 5 000 pads in the current term.
Ms David said the campaign was inspired by the challenges girl children living in remote areas faced.
She said government alone could not shoulder all responsibilities.
Ms David, a University of Botswana graduate and a business woman, said people had to recognise the need to support vulnerable children as shortage of pads in schools could have negative impact on their academic performance.
She stated that they had placed boxes in different places where people could donate pads including at Choppies, youth office and in other shops around Nata.
So far sanitary pads donations have been made to Nata Primary School, Sua Junior Secondary School and currently they were targeting Zoroga, Tsokatshaa, Maposa and Sepako villages, she said.
She said teachers had raised concern about girls who were caught unawares by their menstrual periods resulting in disruption of lessons.
This, she said, reduced self-esteem and confidence in girls.
Ms David said some companies and individuals from Gaborone and Francistown supported their initiative but faced challenges of collecting pads from such places.
She said even the leadership from various villages supported them.
However, she pleaded with companies and individuals to also support the initiative.
Source : BOPA
"We got a letter from the mine telling us that the mine was going to close and my husband was to stop going to work with immediate effect."
When their spouses die women tend to suffer the most.
Housewives are the most affected, when their working spouse die they are left with nothing and sometimes they do not even get benefits from their spouse's former employers.
For a woman who only identified herself as Sara (42) month-ends were a joy to her and her family.
They were characterised by lavish shopping in Chegutu town and special meals.
Her husband worked at a mine in Ngezi where he was a foreman.
Life was good for her and she could send her children to a local mine school in Ngezi.
Things suddenly changed in 2010 when her husband was retrenched without notice.
"We got a letter from the mine telling us that the mine was going to close and my husband was to stop going to work with immediate effect," Sara said.
"They told us we could still live in the houses provided for us by the mine but they did not give us a single cent."
Life for her was no longer the same as she was left without a source of income to sustain her family needs.
Two years after retrenchment, her husband died after a short illness leaving behind Sara and her four children.
"A few years after his retrenchment my husband died after a short illness," Sara said.
"I was so broken down and I did not even know where to start from. I was a housewife and I depended on his income.
"I did not do well in school and I was married at a very young age. My husband was the one who handled all issues."
Sara handled her husband's funeral single handed and the mine which he worked for did not even assist.
To make it worse her husband's relatives took all their valuable property leaving Sara and her children with a few belongings.
"When my husband died the mine did not assist us at all. I buried my husband on my own without any support from relatives.
"His relatives took almost all our valuable property and shared it among themselves. I had nowhere to start from."
Her children dropped out of school because she could not afford to send them to school.
"My children ended up dropping out of school because I could not afford to pay for their school fees.
"My eldest daughter passed her Ordinary Level with flying colours but she could not proceed with school because I could not pay.
"She ended up getting married at 18 and I don't blame her, I could not feed her properly here. She was probably looking for a better life, I am glad her husband is a good man," continued Sara.
Earlier this year, Sara and other people who worked with her husband at the mine received the shock of their lives after they were given notice to vacate the mine houses within three months.
They were told the mine had been bought and was under new ownership.
This meant that Sara and her children could soon be homeless.
She would have to leave her home which she had stayed for the past 20 years without any benefits.
Sara told The Herald that she would be leaving for her rural home -- Murehwa where her parents stay.
Sara is not alone in all this.
Jestina Kambarami (49) another widow from Magunje about 35 kilometres away from Karoi faced a similar predicament.
She is a vendor and sells an assortment of fruits and vegetables at Magunje growth point to survive.
"My husband used to be a farm manager at a farm near Magunje," she said.
"He used to be paid very well and we lived a good life.
"When we lived on the farm we had everything we needed from tap water to electricity. We were as good as people who were living in town.
"Things changed when my husband was retrenched. He never got any pension. Life turned for the worse for us," said Kambarami.
She said they were forcibly removed from the farm compound and had nowhere to go.
"It was not easy for us," she said. "We had to stay in the open for weeks."
Kambarami lost her husband in 2007 due to an HIV related illness.
"My husband died in 2005 due to an HIV related illness leaving me behind with two children," she said.
"Life became very tough for me as I was prejudiced because of my HIV status.
"Our children dropped out of school and my older son left home after the death of his father. I hear he is in Gachekache where he is a fishmonger. He hasn't even sent a word to me since he left."
After they were chased from the farm they stayed in the open, she later went to stay with her in-laws.
"I was forced to go and stay with my in-laws together with my 20-year-old daughter. Life was very hard for me there," Kambarami said.
"My in-laws gave me a hut and told me to look after myself and daughter. They accused me of being a witch and blamed me for the death of my husband."
Her daughter later got married to a business man who owns shops in Chitimbe area close to Magunje.
"Her father's relatives took almost all of her bride price and gave me little money out of it," she said.
"I then decided to do vending to survive on my own as all my children were now looking after themselves. I earn a little and I cannot make ends meet. I am HIV positive and I need a healthy diet but I cannot afford it most of the time."
Kambarami struggles to pay rent for a one-roomed house at Magunje.
Unemployed women suffer most when they lose their spouses.
They are left to carry the heavy burden of fending for their children.
Their plight is largely ignored. They continue to suffer in silence.
"When we lived on the farm we had everything we needed from tap water to electricity.We were as good as people who were living in town.
Tunis/Tunisia — "The presidential initiative to uphold the equal inheritance is the starting point for a dialogue that the Ennahdha movement has already called for in order to bring the views closer," the Movement spokesman Imed Khemiri said Tuesday.
In his speech on Monday on Women's Day, President Beji Caïd Essebsi proposed upholding equality inheritance by suggesting a draft law guaranteeing equal inheritance and revising the Personal Status Code (CSP) to keep abreast of social developments and legislation in force, in line with the Constitution of the second republic.
The guiding principle shall be to enforce equal inheritance rights, while making room though for the enforcement of Sharia, according to Caid Essebsi.
A bill will be submitted to the House of People's Representatives for consideration at the upcoming parliamentary session.
Contacted by TAP, Imed Khemiri said "the Committee on Individual Freedoms and Equality (Colibe) was not balanced in its composition, just as it had not faced different opinions."
In the message he addressed to the Head of State, the Ennahdha Movement expressed reservations about certain points in the Colibe report, including the question of equal inheritance.
"Once the draft law on inheritance equality will be submitted to the parliament, the Movement will discuss this question with responsibility and in the respect of the constants of the party," he said.
Ennahdha cannot enact legislation that opposes the text of the Constitution or that threatens to undermine the identity of the people or offend religious feelings, he added.
In the same context, Khemiri pointed out that several other issues raised in the report should be the subject of an in-depth dialogue such as capital punishment, moral and physical torture, the rights of foreigners and the conditions for obtaining Tunisian nationality.
WINDHOEK - Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has urged member states to continuously intensify their advocacy and lobbying campaigns on gender parity as per the provisions in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development
SADC wants a 50/50 parliamentary representation comprising 50 percent women and 50 percent male parliamentarians.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said this on Tuesday at a media briefing on the outcome of the council's meeting held on Monday and Tuesday.
The SADC Council of Ministers oversees the functioning and development of the SADC community and ensures that policies are properly implemented.
The council consists of ministers from each of the SADC members usually from the ministries of foreign affairs, economic planning, or finance, and it meets twice a year in February or March and immediately prior to the summit in August or September.
Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is Namibia's Deputy Prime Minister and also the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, urged member states to create a conducive environment and supporting structures for women to join and stay in politics and positions of decision-making.
Nandi-Ndaitwah further urged member states to commit to the regional priority power projects aimed at enhancing security of energy supply, take necessary measures to enhance packaging of projects and create an enabling environment for energy sector reforms in order to attract investors.
She urged SADC members to collaborate with the private sector to identify, package and attract investment and implement regional value chain projects.
Additionally, Nandi-Ndaitwah said the council endorsed the 38th SADC theme proposed by Namibia, in its capacity as the incoming chair of SADC of "Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development", for recommendation to the summit.
Also, she said the council noted progress on the implementation of the resolutions of the ministerial retreat titled "The SADC We Want."
In this regard, she said the council directed the SADC Secretariat to expedite the process of completing the assignments of reviewing existing institutional arrangements within SADC and developing an effective mechanism to monitor and ensure compliance to SADC Protocols, other legal instruments and regional commitments at member state level.
She said the council also directed the SADC Secretariat to finalise and operationalise the Private Sector Engagement Mechanism (PSEM) in collaboration with regional and national private sector associations.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the council furthermore directed the secretariat to submit the comprehensive review report on the implementation of the Revised RISDP 2015-2020 during its meeting to be held in August 2019.
She implored SADC to focus on implementing activities that are within the approved Implementation Frameworks of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015-2020 (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO).
WINDHOEK - The SheDecides global campaign to promote, provide, protect and enhance the fundamental rights of women and girls was launched in Namibia on Tuesday evening in light of the inequalities that continue to prevail between men and women.
South Africa launched its edition of SheDecides campaign on
August 9 and the aim is to launch it in SADC and Africa as a whole, said the Executive Director of the Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAFAIDS), Lois Chingandu while officiating at the launch of the campaign in Windhoek.
Chingandu said governments have a responsibility to create a policy environment which would enable women to make better choices about their lives and sexual reproductive health rights.
"The governments have a responsibility to make sure you have money in your pockets. The reason you can decide is because you are economically empowered. When a woman doesn't have money in her pockets, the choices become limited."
"The voice is limited and we see this with young women who date older men, or go into sex work because their voice and choices have already been taken away and it is now just about survival," added Chingandu. She also stressed the need to create an environment in which young women can know from birth that they have the right to make decisions for themselves.
"I want my daughter to know that she has a choice and not to think that in every critical stage in her life, a man has to decide for her and tell her what to do," she said.
The need to start the SheDecides campaign in Africa was inspired by the findings in the SADC Gender protocol barometer which cited views of people who believe that "women must listen to men".
"Why was it not men and women must listen to each other? Why is it one sided? We are all equal and we need to treat each other as such and if men can make decisions, why can women not make decisions?" said Chingandu.
SheDecides was created as an urgent response to US President Donald Trump's reinstatement and dramatic expansion of the Global Gag Rule - also known as the Mexico City Policy - in January 2017.
The rule prevents non-governmental organisations outside the US from receiving money from the US government if they provide safe abortions or information about abortion and has devastating effects on women, girls and their communities around the world.
This attack on women's human rights prompted then Dutch
Minister for Foreign Trade and International Development, Lilianne Ploumen, along with her counterparts in the governments of Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, to launch SheDecides as a global initiative to defend those rights. They were immediately joined by other governments, organisations and individuals.
SheDecides became the rallying call for leaders and citizens alike to stand up as a matter of urgency to protect the rights, health, safety and livelihoods of millions of girls and women around the world.
Chingandu said women have the right to decide about sexual reproductive health, the right to decide when they want to get married and to whom they want to get married. "That is what deciding is all about and once you have made that basic decision about yourself and your body, once you can make that decision, it means you can make decisions about other things in your life." She added that the SheDecides campaign should not necessarily be led by non-governmental organisations. Instead, people must ask themselves on how they would ensure that a girl child moves forward at family, community and personal levels.
The Women Leader of the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Olajumoke Okoya-Thomas, has urged APC women to attract more members into the party.
Hon. Okoya-Thomas, who promised that the party would record a minimum of two million votes from the women in the state, told the women in Shomolu and Ikorodu Local Government Areas of the state to visit markets to encourage women and men to join the ruling party enmasse and mobilise them for the collection of PVC.
Okoya spoke as a special guest of honour at a One-day Public Enlightenment Programme on the 2019 General Elections in Shomolu with the theme: "Spread The News on Permanent Voters Card (PVC)" on Tuesday.
The event was organised by the APC women in the local government, and held at the party secretariat with several women and party members in attendance.
Okoya, a former member of the House of Representatives, stated that the event coincided with the stakeholders' meeting by the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on collection of PVC and membership drive at the party secretariat on the same day.
"Go to markets and promote PVC collection and membership registration. The members would determine who would represent us in various offices since we will now adopt direct primaries.
"The work is better done by women because men get tired easily. Our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu emphasised membership registration at the stakeholders' meeting he called today.
"We need more members in the party, both men and women. We must support the Chairman of the local government as he is taking good care of women.
"Other local government chairmen should emulate him. The 2019 general elections is left for the women to handle and our party can never be divided no matter what happens," she said.
On the chances of the APC in the 2019 general elections, Okoya-Thomas said that the party would win at both the state and federal levels, and pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State had done well.
Speaking at the Lagos "East Senatorial District Women Forum Visitation" in Ikorodu LG secretariat on Wednesday, Okoya-Thomas warned that no woman must be left behind in the scheme of things, while thanking God for the local governments under the district.
She made reference to what Tinubu said at the stakeholders' meeting at the party secretariat on Tuesday on PVC collection and membership drive.
According to her, "Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said we should continue the registration of members and mobilise people to collect PVC. We need more members. We invited all your local government chairmen and gave them registration forms.
"We promised to deliver two million women votes to the party in the state. We must continue with the registration and Asiwaju Tinubu has said that any erring chairman would be penalised. Women will record more numbers this year.
"The date of PVC collection has been extended, so we should continue to drive people to collect their PVC. We have to continue the work till February, 2019."
The women leader advised the women to encourage their children into politics, saying that they have been sent to schools and that they could start from councillorship position.
She advised them to encourage youths to mobilise people for party registration, and warned that any party chairman that fails to co-operate would be dealt with by the leadership of the party.
She said: "any chairman that troubles women would be dealt with. Let us start the work immediately. We will encourage any chairman that does well for the people. They should do the work of the party as it should be done.
Women Leader of Lagos East Senatorial District, Yeye Fausat Adeola Gbadebo, observed that a state women leader was visiting the division for the first time and commended her for her kindness and love for women in the state.
Yeye Gbadebo called on women in the state to continue to support Okoya-Thomas, saying that she meant well for the womenfolk and the party in general.
The event was attended by party leaders, members and residents of the area, and a former Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Princess Adenrele Adeniran.
Today we celebrate remarkable news from South Sudan. Meet Amel Ajongo Mawut, South Sudan's second female pilot at just 20 years old. We wish her all the best.
Amel Ajongo Mawut is South Sudan's second female pilot. The 20 years old's remarkable achievement is a giant step towards shattering the country's aviation glass ceiling, and surely encourages young girls in the country to reach for their dreams. Earlier this year, we celebrated South Sudan's first female pilot Aluel Bol Aluenge who became a Captain. Captain Aluel was flying for Delta Air when she became a Captain.
Ajongo attended the Kenya School of Flying for two and a half years at Nairobi's Wilson Airport. In an interview with Hot in Juba, Ajongo while relieving her experience at the flying school said, "I think female pilots face essentially the same challenges that male pilots face. The overall difficulty is the stress of training. For instance, during my training we were eight ladies out of a class of 11 when we started out but unfortunately as we proceeded I came to be the only lady in the class. There is little sex discrimination in the aviation field but gladly there are increasing numbers of professional female pilots."
Currently without any specific airline she hopes to fly for, Ajongo regrets not being able to fly her father who supported her "financially and morally." Ajongo is the daughter of the former Chief of Defense Forces, General James Ajongo Mawut who died after a short illness in April this year.
In her message to women Ajongo said, "I believe that women in time will do great things. Don't limit yourself. Don't dream of success, just work for it and keep in mind, discipline is key."
The news of Ajongo gaining her wings comes at a time when young women in Africa are setting the pace in technology and innovation. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.
Ilhan Omar addresses supporters after her historic primary election victory to represent Minnesota's 5th District in the U.S. Congress in Minneapolis
The foundation of Democrat Ilhan Omar’s historic primary election win to represent Minnesota’s 5th District in the U.S. Congress was built on a simple campaign message.
“I am a millennial with student debt,” the 35-year-old state lawmaker told an audience in a crowded auditorium at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs during a pre-election forum with two of her competitors, both of them older.
“And a renter,” she added, someone who isn’t ready, or can’t yet afford, to purchase a home.
It was a simple yet effective message by Omar, conveying that — despite her origins in Somalia and the hijab upon her head — she was just like the many younger, progressive and liberal voters she needed to court in the Congressional district she seeks to represent.
It was ultimately a winning message, both now… and two years ago when she first made history in her election (which her campaign says saw increased voter turnout by 37 percent) to the Minnesota state House of Representatives.
“Before Ilhan, I think a lot of us didn’t know what type of government we had, but now that she was elected, a lot of us started paying attention,” says 25-year-old Somali American Khalid Mohamed. “She represented us at the state level and we saw how productive she was.”
Mohamed is just one of the tens of thousands of Somali Americans who voted on this primary election day for Ilhan Omar, who is one step closer to making history as the first elected refugee from the African continent — and the second Muslim American woman — to join the body. She follows in the footsteps of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim American in Congress, who currently represents this Minneapolis Congressional District, but stepped down to pursue the state’s Attorney General’s office — an election which he too also won the same night as Omar.
“Around America it might seem odd that one of the whitest states in the country would be sending its second Muslim to Congress,” says University of Minnesota Professor Larry Jacobs. “But not so in Minnesota,” a state that is home to the largest number of Somali refugees in the United States. But Jacobs says their votes are only part of Ilhan’s success story.
“That is not enough to prevail in a district in which Somalis really numerically are not a large number and in this race were split with another Somali candidate,” Jacobs told VOA. “What Omar has been able to do for the second time now in a few years is build a broad coalition that includes progressives who agree with her Bernie Sanders light agenda and people who believe the Democratic Party needs to become more diverse and welcome in new voices.”
New voices that have new — and old — challenges to face.
“Right now I am well equipped to organize against an administration that is using the politics of fear to further their divisive and destructive policies at a time when our nation is at a dangerous crossroads,” Omar explained to the crowd during the candidate forum. She is the Democrat’s Assistant Minority leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and has spoken out against family separations at the U.S. border. She is also a critic of the Trump administration’s so-called “Muslim Ban.”
Khalid Mohamed agrees with Omar’s policy positions, and hopes her personal experience coming from a Kenyan refugee camp will shape the ongoing debate in Congress over U.S. immigration policy.
“As a refugee,” says Mohamed, “she had experienced the struggles of being a refugee, and the vetting process, and something Donald Trump has not understood quite well.”
“In my last race I talked about what that win would mean for that eight year old girl in that refugee camp,” Ilhan Omar emotionally explained to the jubilant crowd gathered for her primary election night victory party, acknowledging her improbable journey from Kenyan refugee camp to the doorstep of the U.S. Capitol. “And today, I still think about her. I think about the hope and optimism, of all those 8 year olds out of the country. And around the world.”
Many in Minnesota’s Somali Muslim American community are refugees like her, and Omar’s election represents an opportunity to change public perceptions — and misperceptions — about their circumstances, and their faith.
“Often our community are deemed as not very supportive of in terms of gender, especially towards females or women,” says 25-year-old voter Khalid Mohamed. “It would show the world and everyone in the state of Minnesota, that we often uplift and encourage Somali women, Muslim women, to run for offices… to be part of the democracy that we have here in America... to participate and also to vote. It will showcase that often the media portrays us that we oppress our women as a Muslim community - we always tell them what to do and they don’t have a freedom - but that would totally tell a different narrative today.”
Mohamed also believes that Omar’s election sends a message of hope to not just a larger religious community, but an entire continent.
“For her to be the first African born congresswomen, I think it’s a big deal on the continent," he said. "It sends a message to everyone from Africa… that you might be a refugee, you might have come here as an immigrant, but you have rights, and you can be whoever you want as long as you put the work in.”
Work that begins for Omar after a November general election that she is also likely to win, as the district she seeks to represent heavily favors Democratic candidates.
US President Donald Trump reintroduced and expanded the Global Gag Rule to curb access to abortion services. A decision taken in far-away Washington has dire implications for African women.
The so-called "Global Gag Rule" requires foreign organizations receiving US aid not to have anything to do with abortion. It restricts such organizations from providing abortion services, information, counseling or referrals, or advocate for abortion legislation - even if these are paid for by non-US funds.
The rule, which is also known as the Mexico City Policy, has been enacted by every Republican US president and rescinded by every Democratic president since 1984. When President Donald Trump reenacted it in 2017, however, he went a step further than his predecessors.
He expanded the Global Gag Rule to cover the US's global health assistance - some €9.36 billion ($10.6 billion) in health funding in 2017 - whereas previously it only affected family planning aid worth €536 million.
The US is the world's biggest global health donor and its aid covers a wide range of essential health services, from vaccinations and nutritional supplements to treatment for HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Health providers forced to chose
Because of the sheer scale of US health aid, when a clinic in Africa has to chose between losing US funding or providing reproductive health care - it often chooses to stop offering abortion services.
Alternatively, facilities that decide not to comply with the US restrictions lose much-needed foreign aid leading to cuts in other services, such as access to contraceptives or cervical cancer screening.
Either way, the Global Gag Rule is negatively affecting women in Africa, especially the poorest of the poor, say reproductive rights organizations.
"Young people and women living in rural areas at the lowest levels of poverty are the most impacted for not being able to access services," said Suzanne Ehlers, President of Population Action International, a Washington-based reproductive health organization.
Clinic closures in Ethiopia, rising fees in Kenya
In a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia earlier in 2018, Population Action International found that adolescents and youth, people living with HIV/AIDS and sex workers in the country were directly affected by the closure of health clinics previously supported by the US.
An estimated ten sex and reproductive health clinics and 21 youth sexual health clinics have closed in Ethiopia as a direct result of the US restrictions, said Dereje Wondimu from Ipas, an international reproductive rights organization.
This means close to one million women a year in Ethiopia will no longer have access to sexual and reproductive health services, Wondimu told DW.
Fees for basic health care have skyrocketed in some areas of Kenya, says Caroline Nzandati, reproductive health coordinator at the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust.
"For example, there was a facility that was charging $3 for cervical cancer service, immunization cost $2, family planning about $5. So if you added that up, a woman can't afford it and they would rather not access the service," explained Nzandati.
Previously, women would only pay $2 for the whole package, she said.
Unplanned pregnancies on the rise
The rate of unintended pregnancies has increased - partly because of decreased access to contraceptives and partly because of cuts to abortion services.
Such unplanned pregnancies can have a range of knock-on affects, such as "ending a girl's education, contributing to child marriage, resulting in health complications, or putting a woman's life at risk," according to Human Rights Watch.
The numbers of unsafe abortion have also increased, driving up the maternal rates of mortality in many African countries, Ehlers said.
Ehlers believes the current policy won't change as long as President Trump is in the White House. But she says it is still important for reproductive rights groups to keep up the pressure.
"What we need to do is work in partnership with groups around the world, to make sure that they really understand the policy, they understand what they can do and what it doesn't let them do," she said.
"I think we also need to continue to cooperate with governments both in Africa and donor countries to make sure they put additional resources towards this."
Additional reporting contributed by Kate Hairsine
An Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is once again straining Africa's medical resources.
Prospects for progress are due in large part to lessons learned from the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa, which caught global health officials off guard and killed 11,000 people. One lesson that became clear was that foreign expertise cannot protect African communities from Ebola or other outbreaks of infectious disease. African health capacity and expertise is essential.
I was a member of the EpiAFRIC team that evaluated the response of the African Union (AU) to the West African epidemic. The AU had recruited over 800 volunteer medical experts from across the continent to combat the epidemic raging across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In its wake, we travelled extensively through the affected areas, interviewing medical personnel, community leaders and people who had lost loved ones to the disease.
In Guinea, we found that 84 percent of AU volunteers were from the DRC, which had already dealt with eight Ebola outbreaks of its own. One doctor told us how they had turned around a desperate situation. The AU team was volunteering at an Ebola treatment center built from scratch, only to have it sit empty. At the height of the epidemic, families kept the sick and dying home, even as the disease spread.
Then, one day, a desperately ill woman was carried to the center. Despite her dire condition, the doctor believed she could be saved. He rallied the medical team to provide the best possible care – medication, food, hydration, compassion – and the woman slowly recovered.
It was a turning point. People began to bring their loved ones to the center. And when they did, they saw health workers who looked like them. They were not foreigners, but Africans who understood their cultures, who delivered expert care and who they could trust.
It was clear to me that African capacity and expertise were crucial to containing and ultimately ending the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Today, the head of the AU's 2014 Ebola medical mission is on the ground fighting the outbreak in the DRC. The World Health Organization has also mobilized quickly to contain it.
Yet, even such an urgent response may not prevent another Ebola disaster—either with this outbreak or with the next. What we need is not only boots on the ground when a crisis hits, but greater African health care capacity embedded into our health systems.
Although there were early signs that the rapid response to the current DRC outbreak is helping to contain its spread, the World Health Organization worries about complicating factors such as security for health workers – including vaccinators - in an area of conflict.
Prevention is the best solution. The best way to build preventive capacity is through implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
UHC removes financial barriers to quality healthcare and encourages equity. It means that individuals and communities can receive the basic health services they need, without economic hardship. It includes the full spectrum of essential services: health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.
Health-care access for all will save lives – but also money
Of course, it will be costly. But in the end, it will not only be life-saving, but also cost-saving. African governments and the global health community spent over US$3.6 billion to end the West African epidemic and hundreds of millions of dollars more are now being directed to the current epidemic in DRC.
Although DRC is a member of the UHC2030 Partnership, the government must show enough political will to take UHC to impoverished rural communities.
The first known case of the 2014 Ebola outbreak was a child in a poor, remote village in Guinea. If this infected child had had access to a clinic or hospital, medical personnel could have taken a laboratory sample, identified the disease and initiated treatment. They also could have reduced Ebola's spread by identifying contacts of the boy and providing continuous information on good basic health practices, such as hand washing and hygiene.
This is how things work in countries with UHC – including the United Kingdom (UK), Rwanda, Thailand, Japan and China.
In the UK in 2015, UHC enabled medical professionals to quickly identify a cluster of tuberculosis within immigrant communities, treat those infected and prevent its spread.
Rwanda is one of the few African countries with UHC. Today, more than 97 percent of infacns in Rwanda are vaccinated against infectious diseases such as measles, polio and rubella, keeping cases close to zero.
Achieving UHC may seem like a Herculean task, but experience in countries as diverse as Rwanda and the United Kingdom show that it works. And, in addition to preventing and containing dangerous outbreaks, UHC could help keep them from becoming global pandemics. Today, an undetected pathogen can travel from a remote village to major cities across the world in less than a day.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, recently said, "Universal Health Coverage and global health security are two sides of the same coin."
The DRC has declared its intention to put in place UHC. Egypt and a growing number of other countries have done the same. To make good on those intentions, countries and their global partners must identify appropriate financing mechanisms that would provide the safety nets needed to strengthen health systems and prevent the emergence and spread of infectious diseases.
Dr. Ifeanyi Nsofor is Director of Policy & Advocacy for Nigeria Health Watch, CEO of EpiAFRIC and a 2018 Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow.
The Trump administration withdraws from the United Nations Human Rights Council, while racism, social deprivation and war intensify. The administration, however, denies the escalating oppression and impoverishment of the masses.
On 19 June, the administration of President Donald Trump announced the United States withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
This body was established in the aftermath of the founding of the UN in 1945. A UN Declaration of Human Rights was drafted and adopted in 1948 unanimously by the-then 48 members.
As a justification for its resignation, the Trump administration's UN representative Nikki Haley claimed that the UNHRC was biased towards the State of Israel. This statement was made while Palestinians were being massacred by the Israeli Defence Forces during peaceful demonstrations on the border between Gaza and the occupied territories.
UNHRC and the General Assembly have issued condemnations of the blatant acts of aggression and violations of international law by Tel Aviv. The US move is indicative of its unconditional support for Israel, which is backed up by billions of dollars in assistance annually along with technology transfers of sophisticated weaponry and diplomatic support.
Inside the US itself racism, national oppression and gender discrimination appears to be on the increase. Every week there are reports of police killings of African Americans where in most instances the law-enforcement agents are allowed to go unscathed.
During ordinary interactions with Whites, African Americans and Latinx people are subjected to insults, prejudiced behaviour and the unwarranted summoning of the police. In 2018 alone 576 people have been shot and killed by police, many of whom are African Americans [[i]].
The Washington Post began chronicling the number of police shootings and fatalities in 2015 since the Justice Department does not keep adequate records. 2017 saw nearly 1,000 people either wounded or shot to death by agents of the state.
According to a report by vox.com, African Americans are disproportionately victims of police violence in comparison to whites: "Black people are much more likely to be shot by police than their white peers. An analysis of the available FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] data by Vox's Dara Lind found that US police kill black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the US population. Although the data is incomplete because it is based on voluntary reports from police agencies around the country, it highlights the vast disparities in how police use force. [[ii]]"
The false notion that African Americans and Latinx people are more violent than Whites is utilised to justify such shootings and killings. These same rationalisations are also applied to the dismissing of claims centring on institutional racism within the criminal justice system involving the police, prosecutorial agencies, the courts and correctional facilities.
This same above-mentioned report goes on to note: "The disparities appear to be even starker for unarmed suspects, according to an analysis of 2015 police killings by The Guardian. Racial minorities made up about 37.4 percent of the general population in the US and 46.6 percent of armed and unarmed victims, but they made up 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police. These disparities in police use of force reflect more widespread racial inequities across the entire American criminal justice system. Black people are much more likely to be arrested for drugs, even though they are not more likely to use or sell them. And black inmates make up a disproportionate amount of the prison population."
Racialised poverty and the capitalist system
Another misnomer fostered by the administration in Washington is that the number of people living in poverty in the US is insignificant. This could not be further from the truth when government statistics indicate that over 43 million are living below the poverty line, accounting for 13.7 percent of the people [[iii]].
At the same time other scholars estimate that there are tens of millions more living in a "near poverty" status. These figures add up to approximately 100 million, some one third of the overall population of the US.
Even though the official unemployment rate is 4.0 percent for June 2018, these figures do not take into account the Labour Participation Rate (LPR), those people who are no longer pursuing work within the formal market. The LPR for the US at present is 62.8 percent meaning that over one third of the work force is not involved in the labour market [[iv]].
African Americans have the highest poverty rate standing officially at 27.4 percent. While Latinx people are right behind them with 26.6 percent in comparison to whites at 9.9. A stunning 45.8 percent of African American children below six years of age live in poverty in comparison to 14.5 of Whites [[v]].
The much championed job growth in the US is largely concentrated in low-wage labour. The service sector of the economy is notorious for the super-exploitation of workers. African Americans, Latinx and women of these oppressed groups often carry the brunt of these forms of employment, which reinforce poverty and class degradation.
A vigorous national campaign demanding a US $15 an hour minimum wage has gained traction in several sectors such as retail and food services. Although this salary would not result in a significant advancement in the status of these workers, if adopted on a federal level it would move the US further in the direction of eliminating immiseration.
Fast food workers are toiling in horrendous conditions, which are dangerous to their health, where people are subjected to sexual harassment and extremely insufficient wages at almost no benefits. Organisers of food service employees in the state of Michigan have linked the deplorable situation under which their constituencies work to the outbreak of a Hepatitis A epidemic, the largest in the US. In Detroit, with its excessive rate of water shutoffs due to high bills and low salaries, the lack of essential services provide a breeding ground for infectious disease and high levels of attrition [[vi]].
Immigrant rights and a foreign policy of imperialist war
The current administration in Washington ran on a programme of anti-immigrant racism and repression. However, it important to recall that the previous government of President Barack Obama, although appealing to Latinx people for electoral purposes within the framework of winning votes from both the Democratic and Republican parties, deported more people than any other head-of-state in US history [[vii]].
Attention has been directed by the media to the separation of families while immigrants are seeking asylum within the country. Several thousand children have been taken away from their parents and placed in detention.
Beginning in late June, hundreds of thousands of people protested these policies in cities throughout the country. Such a public outpouring forced the Trump administration to declare that they were halting the measures of family separation. Soon afterwards a federal judge ordered that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are housed, to reunite the children with their parents. In many instances the adults had already been deported without a hearing while the children are sent off to foster care facilities far away from the southern border areas [[viii]].
Throughout successive administrations the US has maintained an aggressive war policy largely directed towards people in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Russia. The war in Afghanistan has continued over the course of three separate presidencies (2001-2018).
Thousands of US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan where millions of the inhabitants of these states in Central and West Asia have lost their lives directly resulting from the massive aerial bombardments, drone attacks, ground invasions and the consequent humanitarian crises leading to displacement, human trafficking and disease. Since 2014 the plight of migrants from Africa and Asia has worsened precipitously contributing to the largest number of people being driven away from their homes as refugees and internally displaced persons. In 2018 the number of displaced persons has exceed 65 million, the greatest number since the conclusion of World War II [[ix]].
The rising repression inside the borders of the US has its parallel in foreign policy. These realities persist despite the claims by Washington that it is a paragon for human rights on the international scene.
Mass opposition to US policy needed to reverse course
Neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties are articulating a viewpoint, which would lead to more than mere surface changes in US human rights policy. The leading Democratic Party narrative in its present form does not repudiate the militarisation of oppressed communities while a cold war mentality is fostered in regard to relations with the Russian Federation, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Republic of Cuba and other purported adversaries of Washington.
A programmatic approach must emerge which challenges the notion that the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, DHS-CBP-ICE, local law-enforcement agencies and the courts have an inherent right to exercise arbitrary authority over the lives of billions around the globe. If the US ignores the fundamental human rights of people within and outside its borders, then other structures should be empowered by the masses of working people and the oppressed to put a halt to these atrocities.
Popular organisations, human rights groups, trade unions and revolutionary parties could unite around these questions. Requesting the re-engagement of Washington with the UN Human Rights Council would not be an adequate response. What is needed is a fundamental transformation in US domestic and foreign policy through the development of a new political paradigm and dispensation.
* Abayomi Azikiwe is Editor at Pan-African News Wire
[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/police-shootings-2018/?utm_term=.7e2635e15f6a accessed 9 August 2018
[ii] https://www.vox.com/cards/police-brutality-shootings-us/us-police-racism accessed 9 August 2018
[iii] http://thehill.com/policy/international/un-treaties/393659-nikki-haley-ridiculous-for-un-to-analyze-poverty-in-america accessed 9 August 2018
[iv] https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/labor-force-participation-rate accessed 9 August 2018
[v] (http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/fact-sheets/poverty/) accessed 9 August 2018
[vi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bErPYMgOYR0 accessed 9 August 2018
[vii] https://www.usnews.com/news/data-mine/articles/2018-03-13/fewer-crossing-border-fewer-deported-immigration-under-trump accessed 9 August 2018
[viii] https://www.jurist.org/news/2018/06/federal-judge-orders-reunification-of-separated-immigrant-families/ accessed 9 August 2018
[ix] http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html accessed 9 August 2018
This is an edited version of a keynote address by Professor Horace Campbell at the emancipation wreath laying at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park on 25 July 2018 under the theme "Our heritage our strength, Celebrating the African Resilience".
Good afternoon everybody. I must thank the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Creative Arts, Catherine Afeku and the Government of Ghana for working together with the Emancipation Committee to ensure that we have such a large turnout of young people to celebrate and reflect on emancipation. The theme chosen by the Committee is: Our Heritage our Strength, Celebrating the African Resilience.
Greetings and salutations to all Members of the Diplomatic Corp, Heads of Departments and especially to the youths who are gathered here with us at this Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum. I can see that while for some diplomats it was perfunctory to turn up at the wreath laying ceremony at the Du Bois Centre some of our brothers and sisters from different embassies in Africa are still with us. The job of organising the celebration as a three part event of going to the Du Bois Centre, the Padmore Library and now the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park was a good idea because it showed that this work that brought us where we are today to stand in this place right where Kwame Nkrumah is interned and that this work has always been a collective work.
When I followed the Minister through the tomb of Du Bois in the wreath laying ceremony, I asked W.E.B Du Bois, what should be a central message. Du Bois said, make sure that you carry a message that this is not just a formal occasion. Du Bois said to me this morning that remember where we are coming from. Of the writings of W.E. B Du Bois that came to me at that moment was his pamphlet on the African Roots of War. This was a short pamphlet that Du Bois had written about how the first world was basically a continuation of the partitioning of Africa 1884-1885.
In her prepared remarks at the Du Bois Centre earlier this morning, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Creative Arts, Catherine Afeku asked us to get young people to understand what is meant to go through the Door of No Return. As many of you know, the door of no return is that last door that the captured passed through on their journey into enslavement. For the Ministry of Tourism, it will be important to continue to train the tour guides so that they explain the barbarity of what awaited the Africans after the barbarity of the slave dungeons at Cape Coast and El Mina. That experience was very much in the forefront of my consciousness as I prepared for this presentation. The title that I gave the presentation is emancipation from enslavement yesterday, today and tomorrow. The teaching of the meaning of emancipation is so important because so many young Africans do not fully understand what happened in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
This is not by accident because those who were accomplices in the trade yesterday have bequeathed their ideas to a generation that is acting very much like intermediaries for slavery today. The urgency of the education campaign on the meaning of Emancipation Day was driven home this morning when a young person came to me and inquired whether Du Bois is actually buried here - at the Du Bois Centre. We ought to use the educational system so that Emancipation Day is not just one event but that Emancipation Day is brought into the curriculum of all schools in Africa as it is done in the Caribbean.
What is emancipation?
On 1 January 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, which declared, "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebel states "are, and henceforward shall be free." The proclamation also called for the recruitment and establishment of black military units among the Union forces. An estimated 180,000 African Americans went on to serve in the army, while another 18,000 served in the navy. This war changed the history of the United States.
So when we talk about the theme of resilience and struggle we remember our brothers and sisters who fought in the United States of America to end slavery.
Twenty nine years earlier on 1 August 1834, there was the legal emancipation of all slaves in British colonies, but it was a case of freedom with conditions. The Emancipation Bill had been presented in the British Parliament by Thomas Buxton in 1833 and the Act came into effect on 1 August 1834.
Slavery was not abolished outright. Under the proclamation of 1834 there was to be a period of apprenticeship of six years 1834 to 1840. The tenets of "apprenticeship" stated that the ex-slaves would work without pay for their former masters for three-quarters of every week (40 hours) in exchange for lodging, food, clothing, medical attendance and provision grounds in which they could grow their own food during the remaining quarter of the week. They could also, if they chose, hire themselves out for more wages during that remaining quarter. With this money, an ex-slave-turned-apprentice could then buy his freedom. But those who had fought for their freedom rejected this apprenticeship and after their resistance the period was reduced from six to four years. Outright enslavement was abolished on 1 August 1838.
Every year Emancipation Day is celebrated in the Caribbean and I am pleased to share my reflections on the context of the celebrations of Emancipation Day in Ghana. Emancipation emerged out of protracted struggles yesterday.
Tomorrow the emancipation project is about whether you are going to be human beings and I want to direct my statement especially to young people who are here today because we want to say that from the global African family the most important resolution for us in terms of emancipation is to repair the damage that has been done by enslavement and to repair the damage that has been done by enslavement requires that we bring the concept of reparations to the forefront of the discussion on Emancipation Day.
Emancipation and freedom arose in the Americas as central components of the project of the humanisation of the African person. This was a project to recover the dignity of the peoples who had been treated like chattel by the system of slavery from the 16th century to the present. This emancipatory project assigned itself the tasks of restoring the humanity and dignity of the indigenous and African persons and indeed all humans.
Suffice to say, that in the Caribbean, and Latin America, the projects of slavery and colonialism were always clothed in the robes of white supremacy. In other words, a whole intellectual culture was developed to justify slavery. The words and writings of Aristotle were invoked, that Humanity is divided into two, masters and slaves. Important chapter in the book by Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade 1440-1870.
In the 19th century the ideas that humanity was divided into two were reproduced as Social Darwinism. White supremacy was only one of the many contradictions of the relationships in this planet. The other glaring contradictions were the exploitation of the labour power of the majority of the citizens. There is the obscene situation where the world's eight richest billionaires control the same wealth between them as the poorest half of the globe's population. This contradiction is reinforced by the racist and sexist hierarchies of the international system. Today the emancipation project carries the same urgency as it did 170 years ago with the added responsibility of stopping the new slave trade from Agadez, Niger to Europe through Libya.
The search to resolve some of these contradictions has gone through many iterations from the period of enslavement to the current period of domination by transnational capitalism when corporations have given themselves the right to patent life forms. The biotech companies are threatening to introduce new slavery in this century. There are already pressures to repeal the 13th amendment of the US Constitution that rendered slavery illegal
The 13th Amendment of the US Constitution had stated,
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The thirteenth Amendment in the US abolished slavery. While the Emancipation Proclamation had been a statement by the President, the Amendment to the Constitution carried the force of law.
The 13th Amendment of the US constitution said that black people were full human beings and no longer 3/5ths of a person. Now in the 1980s the United States Patent Office gave the companies the right to patent life forms and to say that you can have life that can be created in a laboratory. That means that it is in the interests of the biotech companies to repeal the13th amendment of the US Constitution. The long-term logic of the economic activities of Big Pharma is to repeal the 13th Amendment so that other people can own other people so that in the 21st century we must understand the struggle against bondage, enslavement and dehumanisation of human beings is not over.
This struggle over enslavement in the present and the future sets up the scene for the current emancipation struggles. This is against the struggles against the new slavery. If you go to Niger, there is a town called Agadez, which is the headquarters of the current slave trade where thousands and thousands of Africans are shepherded as human bondage persons to Europe. The trade in Niger and Libya is today a mufti million-dollar industry and there are reports from journalists how the traffickers are protected by police and soldiers as the traffickers travel from Agadez in Niger to Sabha in Libya. As an article in The Washington Post had noted,
"Perhaps the most glaring sign of the complicity comes each Monday, when the smugglers and their migrant cargoes leave Agadez in a loose convoy led by a military escort," The Washington Post, 20 July 2015.
"On the road in Agadez: desperation and death along a Saharan smuggling route, [[i]]"the military escort from western countries who are supposed to be in Niger in the war against terror are complicit in this current slave trade.
Why is it that on Emancipation Day, we are not raising our voices against this new slave trade when there are hundreds of people who are dying in the Mediterranean Sea on Emancipation Day 2018? According to numerous reports, in 2015 there were more than 5,000 persons who died in the Mediterranean Sea.
Why is there no massive outcry in Africa against this new enslavement?
How could Africans sell their own into slavery? These questions are not entertained because some leaders in Africa still celebrate their 500-year relationship with the enslavers such as the British or the Dutch. Walter Rodney in identifying the class distinctions in Africa before enslavement and colonialism pointed to a class of African rulers who considered profit over the fate of their brothers and sisters.
Today, I am so tormented when decent persons refer to other Africans as their slaves. Class distinctions are so entrenched that the African ruling classes today have no hesitation in referring to the working classes in language that is so disparaging.
Slavery yesterday and Black lives today
Today when we celebrate Emancipation Day and we talk about resilience, heritage and strength, we must remind the young people that in North America, in the Caribbean and in South America Black people are fighting for their lives and they have a movement called Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter is saying that black people should not be shot down in the streets. Today I am pleased to be the Kwame Nkrumah Chair at the Institute of African Studies and as my sister Professor Jessie Sutherland has always said, we cannot go forward without understanding the culture of resistance and how there was a fight against slavery.
As a young boy, I grew up in Jamaica and as I was preparing this lecture for today I was listening to the lyrics of Bob Marley, Slave Driver on the album, Catch a Fire:
"Every time I hear the crack of a whip
My blood runs cold
I remember on the slave ship
How they brutalize our very souls
Today they say that we are free
Only to be chained in poverty
Good God, I think it's illiteracy
It's only a machine that make money."
Our consciousness continues to be refurbished by these cultural leaders such as Bob Marley so every Caribbean leader and intellectual must reject the ideas that underwrote the enslavement of Africans. We just came from the George Padmore Library and in an unusual presentation we had the General Manager of the Republic Bank speaking. That is not usual because bankers do not get to speak at Emancipation Day celebrations, but there is a reason for that. The reason is that in Trinidad and Tobago, the history of the fight against slavery is very strong. The former Prime Minister of Trinidad, Eric Williams, wrote the important book entitled, Capitalism and Slavery.
Every major Caribbean intellectual grew up with the images and knowledge of the meaning of enslavement. That generation of Caribbean intellectuals exposed the full workings of international capitalism with Eric Williams, C.L.R. James Richard Hart, Walter Rodney, Elsa Goveia, Bridget Brereton, Hilary Beckles, and Verne Shepherd among scores of others doing world class scholarship to reject the idea that Africans were being civilised by enslavement. My own scholarship had been inspired by the energies from the grassroots as manifest in the movement called the Rastafari. The study, published as a book, Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney, chronicled the resistance to enslavement then, and the implications for the continued struggles for the dignity of the African person.
C.L.R. James in his book on the History of Negro Revolts wrote about the struggles of black people for freedom and that tells us that the end of slavery did not come about as a proclamation by Abraham Lincoln or by acts of the British Parliament. The end of slavery came because people fought for the freedom and in Trinidad and Tobago they only had 17,000 enslaved people as compared to a country like Jamaica that had 300,000 but in Trinidad the people have been recently coming from Africa so they understood what freedom and independence meant. The consciousness of emancipation and struggles for freedom remains very high and as the representative of the Republic Bank stated, the independent government of Trinidad was among the first to declare Emancipation Day a public holiday.
So the question for the Caribbean everywhere was that people do not accept the idea that Africans are second-class citizens; that Africans are human beings like everyone else. So that whether it is Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser on all levels, we know the struggle for emancipation came from our people.
The first fighters for emancipation were opposed to the robotics of yesterday when the forms of enslavement on the plantations in the Americas treated Africans like "machines to make money". The book by Edward Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, has documented this phase of the dehumanisation of the African person. This book elaborated on how Africans were treated like machines to enable American society to accumulate immense amounts of wealth to become the preeminent industrial power that it is today. The availability of cheap land and the shortage of labour led to a ruthless system of exploitation called the "pushing system" that enslaved people and which Baptist aptly describes as "innovation in violence". It was the vibrant emancipation movement of the grassroots of stalwarts such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner, and Gabriel Prosser at the grassroots that precipitated the rebellions against that form of robotisation.
Abraham Lincoln had been pressured by war. The enslaved that ran away had precipitated a break in the US military and it was the hundreds of thousands of African soldiers in the federal army that decided the fate of the US Civil War 1861-1865.
Today, the fate of the USA is being decided by the new freedom fighters and by the Blacks and Latinos in the US military.
I want to tell the young people that one of the reasons they want us to think that Abraham Lincoln freed the people is because they do not want us to teach you about Harriet Tubman, Toussaint L'Ouverture and the other freedom fighters who made emancipation possible, C.L.R. James in the book, The Black Jacobins had written about the victory of the people of Haiti for freedom. Haiti remains the most important symbol in the struggle of African people for freedom because people of Haiti in one blow struck against slavery, colonialism and white supremacy.
We cannot talk about Emancipation Day today without opposing all forms of colonialism and in the Caribbean and in Africa we still have colonies. France holds on to colonies in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Cayenne and in the Comoros; so we cannot talk about fighting against slavery yesterday, without fighting against colonialism today. Rebellions against enslavement had been the most constant aspect of the period of enslavement. The first black republic had named their country Haiti after the name that had been the name given by the original peoples, the Taino.
The physical destruction of the lives of the original peoples of the Caribbean along with the destruction of the peoples of Africa ensured that the transatlantic slave trade was an unparalleled crime in human history. There was the destruction of the productive capacities of the environment and of whole societies. This destruction and unconcern for human lives continue.
Hilary Beckles in Chapter four of the book Britain's Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide noted the complete dehumanisation of the African body occurred by the 17th century when as the British state and private industries realised the potential to profit from slavery and by the end of the century, "enchained African bodies became the national policy of England, an initiative that was considered in national interest" (40-3). This Chapter is entitled, "Not Human: Britain's Black Property," Africans never accepted the dehumanisation that had been inscribed in practice and in law.
Beckles starts by saying, "The British legally defined Africans as 'nonhuman,'" which helped them to be identified as property (56). Slaves were often seared on the chest or shoulder with the same hot iron brands used to brand cattle, which set them apart from white slaves, who were typically working off a debt and still considered human. Laws were created giving British slave owners absolute ownership and authority over their slaves, which legalised the wholesale slaughter of a slave owner's slaves if the slave owner so desired. These laws also set in motion a series of punitive punishments for slaves who were found to be threatening in any way, or who broke laws.
While all of these punishments were exorbitant, the favoured form of punishment, castration, was particularly crippling as it left the slave population even more incapable of reproducing and replenishing (61). That castration was such a popular form of punishment and speaks to the level of fear that slave holders had towards their enslaved men, both as men who could possess their wives and daughters (even though they were not usually on the islands), and as strong and therefore capable of overpowering the slave owners themselves. Beckles writes, "It was not until 1805 in Barbados that the murder of an enslaved person by a white person became a capital felony" (62). In the USA, blacks could not be full citizens and were designated as three fifths of a person. This was overturned by the Amendments to the constitution after the Civil War.
The form of barbarity outlined by Beckles had been practiced by all of the enslavers whether they were British, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Danes, Swedes or Portuguese. For a long time there had been the mistaken ideas represented in European textbooks that the enslaved in the Portuguese, Spanish and French territories were not as harshly treated as the enslaved in territories under the British.
C.L.R. James in his book The Black Jacobins demolished these arguments and spelt out how enslavement as a form of coercion and bonded labour reinforced labour coercion and social control in all territories. The level of capital of the slaveholders had an impact on the nature of their economic activities, but the dehumanisation was clear whether it was Brazil, Trinidad, Cuba, Colombia or Barbados.
What was clear in all the territories was the resistance to enslavement.
Resistance to enslavement
The title of my book, Rasta and Resistance took its inspiration from the resistance to slavery that had been part of the culture of the Caribbean and the Americas. This culture of resistance was manifest in every sphere of life. Richard Hart in the book, Slaves who Abolished Slavery noted that the rebellions of the great leaders such as Tacky, Cudjoe and Nanny along with the Maroon communities of freed persons were not the only form of rebellions.
There were rebellious every day, everywhere and in every way. Beckles wrote about the Natural Rebels, about the role of the enslaved women who opposed enslavement with every fibre of her being. The emphasis on the centrality of African women in the rebellions against enslavement emanated from the fact that the women knew that it was from their very bodies that the system of capitalism was sustained. These women reared their children to see themselves as humans and sung lullabies to their children, you were not always enslaved, and one day you will be free. This inspiration for freedom supported the morality of the emancipatory ideas that were translated into everyday acts of rebellion against an unjust system.
It was a consciousness of rebellion. The Haitian revolution had taken these rebellious of everyday life to a formal attack on the social system and birthed freedom for the entire American continent. Not much is known in Africa how the enslaved in Haiti contributed to the independence of the entire South American continent. This freedom and militant opposition to enslavement was episodic and every person in Africa ought to study the heroism of Toussaint L'Ouverture and the Haitian revolutionaries. Caribbean youth and African youth will need to study Zumbi of Palmares in Brazil and the courageous alliances made with the indigenous peoples
Full scale rebellions broke out everywhere in the world of slavery, with--Tobago 1802, The Bussa rebellion in Barbados 1816, Demerara (Guyana) 1823, and the Sam Sharpe rebellion in Jamaica 1831. These great rebellions, and the terrible reprisals which followed, helped to convince the authorities in Britain that it was simply too dangerous to maintain slavery in the colonies. This is what we are celebrating today, the victory of the Bussa rebellion, the Demarara rebellion, the Sam Sharpe rebellion and the rebellions that occurred in every island territory of enslavement.
Economic arguments on emancipation
For a long time there had been the economic arguments about the end of slavery by pointing out that the transition from mercantile capitalism to industrial capitalism meant that Britain wanted the enslaved to earn a wage so that they could buy the products coming out of the industrial heartland of Britain. However much it may be true that there had been economic motives for the end of slavery, the main point that should be borne in mind was that the end of slavery came from the actions and rebellions of the enslaved.
The other cogent point was that those who fought for freedom in the English speaking Caribbean were well ahead of those in other territories. Slavery was abolished permanently in the French Empire in 1848, in the Spanish Empire in 1880, and in Brazil in 1888. Opposition to slavery in Africa and Asia was not as strong as it was in the Caribbean, Europe and the United States.
The Emancipation Proclamation, 1834
As a boy, when I passed through Spanish Town, which was the capital of Jamaica in 1834, we were always reminded of how the people gathered on the steps of the governors house to hear the Emancipation Proclamation. We knew then that the slave masters were compensated and the enslaved were not compensated.
Richard Hart in the book Slaves Who Abolished Slavery provided the specific figures of how much was spent in each island [[ii]].
The figures about the numbers of enslaved in each island became important in the context of the payment to the slave masters. The names and figures are important for the current reparations claim. It is from these claims where we know that the family of David Cameron, the former Prime Minister of Britain was a recipient of money after emancipation.
Religion and the fight against enslavement
Let me move to conclude by talking about what kind of prayers we pray. In Chapter 1 of the book, Rasta and Resistance, I dealt at great length Spiritual World and the Material world. In order to dehumanise a human being, it is first necessary to chip away at their spiritual essence. During the fight against slavery we had two kinds of religion. We had the religion of the masters and the religion of the people who wanted to be free. The masters prayed to their god so that their god could give them the strength to keep some people in slavery. The African people prayed to their god, the god of freedom and the goddess of liberty and the goddess of love and the goddess of joy. These two different religions existed side by side and it was the religion of freedom that triumphed.
The history of the Baptists in Jamaica is replete with the struggle to convert the slaves while maintaining some sense of dignity in being African. In Jamaica there is a church called East Queen Street Baptist Church. This church was started by George Lisle and Africans from Savannah Georgia who came to Jamaica to support the fight against enslavement so the religion of freedom among Africans was a religion of yesterday, a religion of today and a religion of tomorrow. That religion says that god is a just god and god does not support those who want to be prosperous while keeping others in slavery.
Emancipation and reparations
It is because the Caribbean people and the black people support that god and that goddess for whom the Caribbean people say that religion of resistance means that not only should we resist, but also we should repair. So the reparations movement today from Africans everywhere are saying that slavery constituted a crime against humanity and that we should oppose all forms of denigration.
In the Black Lives Matter in the United States of America in 2016 they came with a six-point program:
End the war on black lives
Invest and divest. Invest in the black community and divest from the military
Everywhere black people live in the world they can identify with these points of the Black Lives Matter. In the Caribbean all Caribbean governments have agreed to the Caribbean Reparations Commission.
The Caribbean Reparations Commission is a direct result of the work of the emancipation committees in Barbados, in Trinidad, in Jamaica and in all of the territories of the English speaking Caribbean. One of the good things about the British is that they kept very good records so when the slaves were freed they paid the slave masters £20 million, which today is equivalent to £200 billion dollars and the point was for every one of those slave masters to know how much money they got. So when we call for reparations we know exactly which families in Europe were benefitting from the enslavement of African people.
The Caribbean Reparation Commission has a ten-point programme. Namely:
A full formal apology from all the European powers that kept Africans in slavery. The British government have refused to apologise and instead they say we regret enslavement because this was an unfortunate part of European history. We do not accept regrets; we want the British and all governments in Europe to say they carried out crimes against Africans.
Repatriation, pointing out the legal right of the descendants of more than ten million Africans, who were stolen from their homes.
An Indigenous Peoples Development Programme. We do not only talk about enslavement we talk about genocide against the indigenous people.
Attention to be paid to the "Public Health Crisis" in the Caribbean.
An African Knowledge Programme to teach people of African descent.
(So yes Minister we agree with you that we should be bringing young people from the Caribbean to teach them of going through The Door of No Return.)
The Caribbean Emancipation Committees and the Caribbean government are calling on African governments to support them in the call for reparations. To support them in saying crimes against humanity were carried out. We support the resilience of the people of Ghana. This resilience comes from long struggles to uphold the dignity and the unification of Africa. We believe that the struggle to be humans in the 21st century is the most important of the struggle for emancipation and we want all the young people to grow up and remember that Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves but rather it was the people who fought for their own freedom.
Thank you very much.
* Professor Horace G. Campbell is the Kwame Nkrumah Chair at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. He is on leave from Syracuse University where is holds a joint professorship in the Departments of African American Studies and Political Science.
* This is an edited version of his keynote address at emancipation wreath laying at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park on 25 July 2018
[i] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/09/on-the-road-in-agadez-desperation-and-death-along-a-saharan-smuggling-route accessed 9 August 2018
[ii] https://www.brh.org.uk/site/articles/slaves-who-abolished-slavery/ accessed 9 August 2018
President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa yesterday scoffed at the decision by the United States of America to renew illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe. He implored newly-appointed US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols to have a correct appreciation of events here.
Government, the President said, would remain focused on developing the country and safeguarding peace.
President Mnangagwa made the remarks at State House while addressing journalists after holding a meeting with Mr Nichols, who had paid him a courtesy call.
The meeting came a few days after US President Donald Trump signed into law the amended Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act aimed at renewing illegal sanctions against Harare.
Asked what his views were on Mr Trump's decision to renew sanctions, President Mnangagwa said: "Should I concern myself about what is happening in Washington? Do they concern themselves about us?"
President Mnangagwa said Mr Nichols, who presented his credentials last month, should have a proper understanding of political developments in the country.
"These discussions are necessary. He is an ambassador from the United States to Zimbabwe. He must have correct appreciation of the environment in the country. He came into the country to have that appreciation.
"We were able to share his views and my views on the current situation in the country and we are moving forward as a country," said President Mnangagwa.
"We would want our people, yourself to be peaceful, to convey the message of peace, tranquillity and unity. Only when the country is stable and people are peaceful, can development thrive, not when we are throwing stones at each other. That is the message you people must convey."
Earlier on, Mr Nichols said Zimbabwe had registered positive developments over the past nine months, but bemoaned violent incidents that occurred on August 1, 2018.
Six people died while property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed in the MDC-Alliance-orchestrated violence.
"The events of August 1 to the present had been deeply troubling to the international community and my Government in particular. President Mnangagwa's commitment to transparency in investigating those events is very important for my Government," said Mr Nichols.
Commenting on the signing of Zdera last month, Mr Nichols said the law was meant to update a number of provisions.
"This brings it in conformity with the reality and advocates for reforms in the area of democracy, human rights, economic reforms and rule of law. These are all important steps which I know President Mnangagwa is committed to and Nelson Chamisa is committed to. We believe that this provides a framework of our cooperation with Zimbabwe," said Mr Nichols.
Political observers accuse Washington of harbouring a pre-conceived view by renewing illegal sanctions before the harmonised elections which have since been endorsed by local and international organisations, had been held.
"Zidera deals with loans and arrears to international financial institutions, it does not deal with individuals. What it calls for are investigation into past human rights abuse, reforms to the judicial system, promotion of rule of law, it calls for economic reforms, land tenure, and I am sure these will be debated vigoruously in the next Parliament," said Mr Nichols.
He denied allegations that his country was sympathetic to the MDC Alliance as Washington had failed to condemn the wanton destruction of property by supporters of the opposition.
"We do not support any particular party or persons or political figure in Zimbabwe," he said.
Mr Nichols claimed his country was concerned by reports of intimidation of opposition party members and assault of people in high density suburbs.
This is despite a meeting by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Dr Sibusiso Moyo with diplomats dismissing such claims.
"The violence of August 1 2018, which resulted in death of six people, intimidation of opposition polling agents, violence in the densely populated suburbs around Harare has always been issues of concern, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has put up a statement which addresses, their view and concerns are things my Government share," he said.
Mr Nichols said he was encouraged by the commitment by President Mnangagwa's administration to set up an independent investigation into the violence that rocked central Harare.
He said the Constitutional Court should prove to the people of Zimbabwe that it was impartial when it hears a presidential election challenge lodged by Mr Chamisa who lost to President Mnangagwa.
"That is a question (of impartiality) that would be answered by the performance of the court and not by me or any other person giving their opinion."
The number of aspirants seeking to get the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set to rise as Senate President Bukola Saraki said he is considering running against President Muhammadu Buhari.
Saraki, who is in a faceoff with the All Progressives Congress (APC) after defecting to the PDP, gave the indication in an interview he granted to Bloomberg at his Abuja residence.
"I am consulting and actively considering it," Saraki said, adding that "I believe I can make the change."
Daily Trust reports that if Saraki decides to run, he will vie for the PDP ticket along with at least 10 other contenders.
They include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto), as well as governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo (Gombe).
There are also former Minister of Special Duties Kabiru Turaki, founder of Baze University Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed, among other contenders, some of whom have not formally declared interest but were expected to do so before the party's primary election likely coming up in October.
Daily Trust reports that Saraki's visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military President Ibrahim Babangida earlier may all be part of the consultations the senate president said he was making.
Saraki said investors and citizens had lost confidence in the president, who won election in 2015 after three previous attempts, thereby putting an end to 16 years of PDP rule.
He however said that "The PDP has learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015, and I think unfortunately the APC did not learn from their victory."
While negotiating with the PDP "we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. We listed a number of items during the discussions with the PDP, and there is a written agreement to that. We trust that we can hold them to that."
"We would ensure that the party is strong on security. The APC too have not done well on the issue of security. We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction."
We're not afraid of Saraki, others- APC chieftain
Daily Trust reports that there was no immediate reaction from the ruling APC to Saraki's hint at running for president, but a chieftain of the APC and the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, said yesterday that the party was not afraid of any presidential aspirant, including Senate President Saraki.
Okechukwu, in a phone interview, said President Buhari who remained the presumptive consensus presidential candidate of the APC was ready for any challengers.
He said the party would present its massive infrastructural development and the feat achieved in the fight against corruption and insecurity.
He said, "We are not afraid of anybody, as from today in Nigeria, who will defeat President Muhammadu. Whoever wants to challenge him, we are waiting for the person. The little we know is that we are going to present the facts. We are going to present massive infrastructural development going on across the country - 5000km of federal roads, 5000km of rail lines, 5000 additional megawatts of electricity and the target for self-sufficiency in food production.
"It's the most ambitious and massive infrastructural development in the history of Nigeria as an independent nation. It has three, five years completion cycle. That is what Mr President has on the table.
"We are have to present the fight against corruption and insecurity. So, we don't know who become the candidate. But we are waiting.Our happiness is that President Buhari today is the presumptive consensus presidential candidate of the APC. We are waiting for anyone of them to come."
Other party leaders as well as top government officials, including the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, APC national chairman Adams Oshiomhole and leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had all said recently that no defections or gang up will stop Buhari from winning re-election in 2019.
Buhari too old to lead Nigeria - Tambuwal
Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal yesterday said there was mounting pressure on him to declare for presidency.
He said though President Muhammadu Buhari is a man of integrity, he should be voted out because he is too old to lead Nigeria.
The governor said this in Sokoto yesterday while addressing different associations of students and youths as well as residents who paid him solidarity visit.
Alleging that some cabals had hijacked Buhari's government, he dismissed the insinuations that he was the president's enemy.
"We love President Buhari and that was why we supported him in 2015 unconditionally and while doing that we are too sure that he will seek for re-election after his first term but when things are wrong we have to tell him.
"We still believe in his integrity, patriotism and courage, but these are not enough for a leader. We all know that there is a vacuum in government occasioned by his disposition probably because of his old age or health condition that is why Nigerians are yearning for younger ones to lead this country.
"The country needs somebody who will respect the rule of law and who will not be selective in fighting corruption," the governor said.
Tambuwal also disclosed that there was mounting pressure on him to declare for presidency.
"I have been receiving advice and encouragement from our leaders, peoples across the country and even from abroad to contest for presidency and this pressure is being mounted. It is not my making, but the quantum of pressure from everywhere because of leadership gap in the country," he said.
The governor said he would make his position public on the matter "in days to come".
Earlier, leader of the groups, Bashir Gorau, pledged their support to Tambuwal's presidential ambition.
'Tambuwal has been declared missing'
A Presidency source yesterday night asked our correspondent to find out, where is Tambuwal speaking from.
The source who do not want to be named said information available to the Presidency is that Sokoto People have declared their governor missing from the day he announced his decamping from the APC.
"We heard this announcement on FRCN Kaduna's missing persons program. Where is he? His people are looking for him," the source, a top aide said.
Incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali has won a landslide victory in the West African nation's presidential runoff election.
Official results announced Thursday reveled Keita won 67 percent of the vote from Sunday's second round, soundly beating challenger and opposition leader Soumaila Cisse. Turnout in the runoff vote was an abysmally low 34 percent, as voters stayed away due to threats of violence by jihadist militants.
The government stepped up security for Sunday's run-off, deploying 6,000 troops in addition to the 30,000 who already were on duty.
But despite the added security, a polling station president was killed in the northern Timbuktu region and the polling station there was burned.
The 73-year-old Keita took 42 percent of the vote in a field of 24 candidates in the first round of voting, compared to 18 percent for the 68-year-old Cisse, who also lost the 2013 election to Keita.
Cisse accused Keita's government of fraud in the first round of voting, but the constitutional court upheld the result.
The earlier round of voting was marred by armed attacks blamed on jihadists, including some linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State, and ethnic violence that closed several hundred voting places.
Maputo — Samora Machel Junior (known as Samito), the son of Mozambique's first President, Samora Moises Machel, on Tuesday entered the race for Mayor of Maputo, as an independent.
Machel is head of the list of candidates for the Municipal Assembly submitted by "Ajudem", a coalition which has been set up by a variety of Maputo civil society organisations.
Machel had hoped to be the candidate of the ruling Frelimo Party, the Party which his father had led to victory against Portuguese colonial rule in 1974, but his name was not included on the short list of three candidates, drawn up by the Frelimo Maputo City Committee.
His exclusion, and that of other relatively young Frelimo members, such as the actor Gilberto Mendes, from the short list, led to an outcry, with accusations that the City Committee had behaved in a non-transparent manner.
The civil society organisations in Ajudem asked Machel to head their list (and thus become their mayoral candidate) at a meeting last Friday.
He asked for some time to think the matter over.
"I am going to consider this very carefully", he said at the time, "because I put the people first".
His definitive answer is now known - and the Frelimo leadership cannot say it was not warned. When the City Committee drew up its short list in July and sent it to the Party's Political Commission, Machel warned that he might run as an independent.
The short list consisted of a former mayor and former Finance Minister, Eneas Comiche, former Tourism Minister, Fernando Sumbana, and Razaque Manhique, the Deputy Chairperson of the Maputo Municipal Assembly.
Out of these three, Comiche won the nomination. He certainly has experience - he was mayor of Maputo from 2004 to 2009. He was well respected for his competence and integrity - but there were those who were made uncomfortable by Comiche's drive against corruption, and in 2008 he did not win the Frelimo nomination for a second term. Instead, the former Minister of Youth and Sport, David Simango, won the nomination and was elected mayor in 2008 and 2013.
Now, at the age of 79, Comiche, who is a member of the Frelimo Political Commission, is making a comeback - but in a context where the support for Frelimo in the capital, has fallen sharply. In 2008, Simango became mayor with about 85 per cent of the vote - but in 2013, his share of the vote fell to 58 per cent.
Machel's decision to head the "Ajudem" list could throw the mayoral contest wide open. The magic of the name of Samora Machel may well win many voters to Ajudem. The Ajudem list also means that many disillusioned supporters of Frelimo now have somewhere to go other than the established opposition parties, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
The Renamo candidate is Venancio Mondlane, who in a highly publicised act of betrayal, defected from the MDM (which had already chosen him as its mayoral candidate) and joined Renamo instead.
But some MDM members believe that Mondlane may not be eligible to head the Renamo list. This is because a law passed earlier this year, and accepted by all three parliamentary groups, including Renamo, states that someone who has resigned from an immediately prior term of municipal office may not run again in the following elections.
In 2013, Mondlane resigned as head of the MDM group in the Maputo Municipal Assembly, in order to stand as an MDM parliamentary candidate.
His opponents say that this means that the National Elections Commission (CNE) should disqualify him.
Others claim that the 2018 law is not retroactive, and so Mondlane's 2013 resignation is irrelevant.
Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi as depicted in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II (file photo).
Luanda — The exhumation and burial of remains of the opposition UNITA party's founder Jonas Malheiro Savimbi, killed in action in 2002, may occur this year, according to the party's leader, Isaias Samakuva.
The UNITA president said this at the end of an audience the head of State, João Lourenço, granted to him on Tuesday.
Samakuva said he received assurance from the president, João Lourenço, that the issue will be tackled still this year, but he did not disclose the specific date.
According to him, the most important is the Government's availability, nothing else matter.
Jonas Savimbi died in combat on February 22, 2002, in the commune of Lucusse, eastern Moxico province.
The remains were buried on the following day in the municipal cemetery of Luena, provincial headquarters of Moxico.
In addition to the exhumation and burial of Savimbi remans, Samakuva said that the audience focused on the inclusion of widows in the pension process or reform of the former military.
UNITA leader said he encouraged the country's foreign policy. He also asked the
the Executive for the need to focus on the country's social and economic issues, aimed at addressing the job situation.
Asked about the proposals he took, he replied that the President must have ideas to overcome the current plights.
He spoke of the need for Angolans to overcome the existing differences by working in a process of inclusion to develop the country and bring prosperity to the citizens.
Samakuva also said he has defended a more open dialogue among all sensitivities so that everyone contributes to national reconciliation.
UNITA - National Union for the Total Independence of Angola - was founded in 1966.
MDC-Alliance -- led by Mr Nelson Chamisa -- is on the brink of an imminent split fronted by one of its co-principals Mr Tendai Biti, who has the backing of several Western capitals, principally Washington, to take over the opposition's leadership, The Herald can reveal.
The new threat posed by Mr Biti in the opposition ranks is also threatening to affect the original MDC-T structures.
Briefings by several MDC-Alliance sources and others privy to developments in the fringe coalition are that Mr Biti is the favourite of the West to lead the opposition.
To affirm their bidding for Mr Biti, Western ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe last week sought a meeting with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo where they emphasised on his safety more than anything else following his deportation from Zambia and subsequent arrest here.
"Whilst (Mr) Chamisa thought his real challenge will come from people like Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T secretary-general) and (Engineer Elias Mudzuri -- MDC-T vice president), indications are that the real man to watch is Tendai Biti who has not disguised his glee at the fact that Chamisa is not in Parliament alongside many other alliance leaders except himself and five other MPs from PDP," said an MDC-Alliance insider.
"For that reason, he (Mr Biti) claims that he is the natural leader of the opposition in Parliament - a platform which he hopes to use to rebuild his stature post (Morgan) Tsvangirai and MDC-T break away. Even more worrisome is the political windfall which he thinks he got from his border jumping, subsequent denial of asylum by the Zambians and the ongoing trial which he wants to consider as political persecution.
"The ambitious Biti is relishing every moment of it even loudly bragging that the two days of his border jumping and subsequent deportation drew more publicity and sympathy for him than the alliance was ever able to attract since its launch. Biti also enjoys "religious" support of the American establishment and interest groups."
Mr Biti's bidding for the opposition throne was further buttressed by some Western ambassadors who fought from his corner during a meeting with Ambassador Moyo on August 08, 2018.
The ambassadors, who attended the meeting were US ambassador Brian Nichols, Catriona Laing (Britain), Sofia Calltorp (Sweden), René Cremonese (Canada) and head of the European Union in Zimbabwe Phillippe Van Damme.
A Government source privy to the meeting said: "Their concern was very clear even though they sought to cloth it as a concern for the country and its interest. They worried about Biti as an individual more than they worried about legal processes or even diplomatic propriety. They made it clear that eventually all the Western capitals were concerned about the safety of Tendai Biti and were hugely interested to see if his rights were respected.
"Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister (Dr Moyo) not only reassured them that the due processes will be respected but expressed surprise that the Western ambassadors sought to put (Mr) Biti above the law and above the general citizenry of Zimbabwe. What this whole development did was to clearly show that Tendai Biti was in a league of his own in the eyes of the West and especially when it comes to American attitude towards Zimbabwe. In any event, Mr Biti had been instrumental in the re-framing of Zidera which has since been signed into law by Donald Trump.
"The revised Zidera may as well be called TB Bill."
A concerned MDC-T member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reinforced the point that Mr Biti was now Mr Chamisa's real threat saying: "Whilst this (Biti's US links) is of concern to Government, it is proving of greater concern to young Chamisa and his party who fear that with such resolute support especially from the Americans, the ambitious Biti will break the leash and seek to bolt away with the MDC party. After all, when Mr Chamisa went to the US before the elections, he leaned heavily on Tendai Biti to access both the American establishment as well as key levers of the American society.
"It was basically a Biti show which whilst benefiting Chamisa as the new leader left Chamisa over-awed by the extent of Biti's contacts and influence. This is why the young politician then tried to countermand Biti by the disastrous appearance in the British media."
It is understood that even before the death of Mr Tsvangirai, the Americans and the British differed on the leadership issue with the Americans favouring Biti to Tsvangirai.
Now with Tsvangirai out of the equation, the Americans are of the view that was a Biti moment and the fact of sheer immaturity of Chamisa had not helped his case.
An MDC-Alliance source said there was a growing feeling that Mr Chamisa disastrously failed to manage the alliance though they viewed it as a good concept to challenge Zanu-PF.
MPs both from alliance partners and MDC-T are blaming Mr Chamisa for doing them down whilst he sought comfort and support from make shift structures which the alliance brought into being.
"We let go of our organic structures for make shift structures that operated in the name of the alliance," said a senior MDC-T member.
"Our people, our supporters were demoralised and demobilised because the operating structures were unfamiliar to them. Even when one looks at the campaign strategy, everything revolved around (Mr) Chamisa and his co-principles and not on organic structures of the MDC-T which had served us well in 2008. Much worse, his rough leadership style fractured our old structures in a very bad way especially when we lost key members of the old MDC-T and when we were forced to throw our lot behind candidates we didn't know all in the name of the alliance.
"As if that was not bad enough, we then had terrible intrusion by way of MDC-T dissidents like Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti and their people on the one hand as well as Mugabe and his NPF on the other. The whole thing was a political pizza with so many discordant elements and that disoriented our support."
Now his blanket court action which we thought will be limited to the presidential result is threatening the few of our MPs who won. MDC-Alliance cannot afford a fresh election if the court so decide."
As it stands, Mr Chamisa's only closest ally in the Western diplomatic circles was EU's Van Damme who unfortunately is coming to the end of his term.
It is however not clear if Mr Chamisa could still use Van Damme to mobilise EU support from wherever he will be.
A political analyst who assessed recent political developments especially in the opposition circles said: "There is a complication though in that presently the EU and Britain are in competition when it comes to Zimbabwe. Post Brexit, Britain is reasserting her place in Zimbabwe and has been encouraged by the new dispensation's commitment to join the Common Wealth which Britain thinks is a good instrument for outflanking the EU on the African continent.
"In a way Zimbabwe faces a unique cold war moment only one involving the West. We have US on the one side, the EU on the other and Britain slowly receding back to splendid isolation politics reminiscent of the post First World War. All these forces are competing in Zimbabwe only agreeing on overarching issues like free and fair elections as well as absence of political violence. Beyond these its dog and this before you even factor in the Russian and Chinese factor. Really it's a conflict which is playing out at various levels, except the first important issue is that of resolving the leadership question within MDC in order to re-launch the opposition as a good minder and protector of Western interests."
Commenting on Mr Biti's political theatrics, the analyst said: "The fact of (Mr) Biti who fool hardly takes on Zambia on grounds of denied asylum status has had a dual effect. At one level, it has consolidated his image as America's favourite son in Southern Africa and therefore a source of concern for Sadc. Secondly, it has alienated a key member of the old Frontline States in Sadc namely Zambia which cannot understand how Zimbabwe's opposition personality stands between it and its relations with America. It would have been understandable if this was inter-State conflict pitting Zambia against Zimbabwe, thus forcing a choice for the Americans. But to put the life and prospects of a nation on line because of some small opposition figure who is not even in Government is something that the Zambians cannot understand. It's not helped by the fact that in two days-time, Sadc will be convening in Namibia."
Police keeping watch on the striking miners (file photo).
The 2012 Marikana massacre in South Africa's North West Province, in which 34 miners were killed by the police, remains an unhealed scar in post democratic South Africa. Two of the most important unresolved issues involve accountability and reparations.
Organisations such as Amnesty International have long called on the South African government to ensure that all those suspected of criminal responsibility for the killings are prosecuted. This is about more than justice. It speaks to the heart of the government's credibility and legitimacy.
As academic and political analyst William Gumede has argued, if democratic institutions aren't responsive and accountable, ordinary people will increasingly look to new ones, including populist groupings. Alternatively, they will seek answers in violence.
Accountability for crimes committed by the state is crucial for upholding the rule of law and restoring trust in government.
President Cyril Ramaphosa told Parliament in February 2018 that "the Marikana tragedy stands out as the darkest moment in the life of our young democracy".
And in his maiden state of the nation address he promised a new spirit of accountability on his watch.
It's vital for his credibility that these words be followed by action. Initiating prosecutions would show that he is serious about his intention to strengthen accountability.
Ramaphosa has also pledged that government must finalise reparations for the families of striking miners killed by police. Although a settlement of R100 million was recently reached with the families, it can be argued that much more remains to be compensated. The protracted negotiations have left families financially and emotionally frustrated.
In the six years since the massacre, the findings of the 2015 Farlam Commission of Inquiry can be described as the main form of accountability. The commission laid the blame squarely at the feet of the South African police.
The establishment of the commission was always supposed to be only the first step on the road towards accountability. Government's follow up actions on its findings were dismally disappointing. It took until early this year for criminal prosecutions to be initiated. Six senior police officials now face charges, among them murder, attempted murder, and obstructing the ends of justice.
The fact that the prosecutions followed hot on the heels of Ramaphosa's statements in Parliament suggests that the National Prosecuting Authority is finally taking heed of his call for accountability.
The initiation of the prosecutions has been positively received by South African civil society, as well as by international groups. The newly appointed acting national head of public prosecutions should move to prioritise more people responsible for the massacre.
There's no doubt that the R100 million settlement for victims' families is a positive development. But families of the victims have said that reparations should include a formal apology from the police minister, criminal charges against the police and financial compensation.
In 2015 the families of 37 mine workers filed a civil claim against then police minister Nathi Nhleko. At the time, people expressed hope that the minister would consider an out of court settlement.
Two years later the government concluded a loss-of-support settlement of R3.9-million with the family of one of those killed in the massacre. But to date, most of the settlement agreements have yet to be finalised.
Ramaphosa's words earlier this year were encouraging. He is showing that he intends to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.
There's a great deal at stake for the president. Though he was exonerated by the Farlam Commission, he was personally implicated in the shooting that investigated the massacre given his role at the time as a non-executive director at Lonmin's platinum mines. He wrote a series of emails in which he called for stronger action from government to bring the strike to an end.
Ramaphosa has been repeatedly attacked by opposition parties, most notably the Economic Freedom Front, for his stance during the strike. He has denied responsibility although he's never explained the exact nature of his involvement.
But he does, finally seem, to be acknowledging the ongoing exploitation of miners. It's hoped that this will lead to policies that won't only compensate the families of Marikana's victims, but also result in a more humane living standards for mine workers.
The Kenyan Cabinet has approved the construction of a Ksh4.1 billion ($40 million) cable car project to ease movement of passengers between Mombasa Island and the mainland.
A Kenyan and Austrian company, which will fund the project, will be expected to charge commuters a fee before ceding the investment to the government after 25 years.
The cable cars will reduce the existing journey the ferry makes across the 500-metre Likoni Channel from 10 minutes to two minutes and will be able to carry up to 11,000 passengers an hour.
The only cable cars in sub-Saharan Africa are in Nigeria and South Africa.
"Cabinet approved a privately initiated investment proposal to develop a cable car system to address the human traffic challenges across the Likoni Channel," read the communication from Cabinet.
The express link will have 22 cable cars, which will carry 38 passengers per cabin.
The cars will carry 11,000 commuters per hour in both directions, a total of 180,000 people daily.
Conservative estimates indicate that some 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles use the channel daily.
The C&C Construction Company, which will be in charge of erecting two 90-metre masts and building the landing stations, will construct the cable car system.
The firm will work alongside the Austrian technology company, Doppelmayr Group, which will provide the cars and ropes.
According to the initial communication, the operator will be the Likoni Cable Express, a subsidiary of the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) and Tropos, a Nairobi-based aerial transit development firm.
The KFS is banking on the cable cars to give commuters using the Likoni channel a long-term solution to transport hitches through cable cars and better maintenance of the rickety ferries.
Currently, commuters use four ferries namely MV Jambo, MV Likoni, MV Harambee, and MV Nyayo to cross the channel.
The state of the earth's biodiversity - the world's variety of living organisms - is in crisis. About one third of the world's land has been severely degraded from its natural state. Some of the worst forms of degradation include deforestation, soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, declining water quality and pollution.
This has a huge negative impact on poor rural people whose livelihoods depend heavily on natural resources, like pastoralist communities and smallholder farmers. Land degradation is also devastating for land animals - in about 40 years vertebrate species populations have dropped by more than half.
This crisis has attracted international attention, and efforts to restore degraded lands are underway. For instance, the Bonn Challenge commits countries to the ambitious task of restoring 350 million hectares of degraded lands by 2030. African nations committed to 100 million hectares. This entails the enormous task of planting trees and ground cover and restoring soil fertility - all actions which also help increase the soil's ability to absorb water and reduce erosion.
But with such large areas in need of restoration, and the persistent problem of limited resources, how and where should efforts be deployed?
In our recent publication we show how the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework could solve this problem by systematically measuring and tracking indicators of land health. It includes very precise maps, which show how degraded land is, and how well it can recover. This helps to prioritise land restoration over huge areas. It's already being applied to restore degraded lands in many parts of the world including East Africa, the Sahel, the Peruvian Amazon and India.
Our study focused on the drylands of Kenya, where the framework is being used. We found that key indicators of land and soil health vary. This meant that consistent and robust monitoring methods are needed to prioritise and inform investments. Specifically, indicators that are science based, can be measured, are fast, based on varying scales (plot, field, landscape, region) and are representative of the complex processes of land degradation in landscapes.
The Land Degradation Surveillance Framework ticked all of these boxes.
Testing in Kenya
To start with, field data is systematically collected to provide a baseline for biophysical properties like; soil fertility, soil organic carbon, vegetation cover and biodiversity, land use and land degradation. The field data is combined with data from earth observation platforms - like NASA's Landsat and the European Space Agency's Sentinel 1 & 2 which create images from satellites - to map processes of land degradation.
We then apply these maps to assess the effectiveness of rehabilitation options like tree planting, improved rangeland management, agroforestry practices and erosion control.
By providing information on indicators of land degradation - like soil erosion - in the form of maps, it helps to target rehabilitation efforts. It will show how degraded the land is, and how well it can recover.
We used the 200 square kilometre Mpala Research Centre in Laikipia County, Kenya, as a test case. This was done to compare plots to each other, assess the level of degradation in each and to create maps of it.
Over a month we took soil samples, described and measured vegetation and recorded erosion levels from 160 plots within a 100 square kilometre area. These were taken to labs in Nairobi to analyse the soil's physical and chemical soil properties.
For a portion of the samples, we did conventional soil chemical analysis and combined these data with results from spectroscopy - which uses infrared light to analyse for multiple soil properties. This gave us an indication of soil health in the study area as it examines the soil organic carbon, sand content, and pH.
Finally, using these data we created predictive maps of soil characteristics and land degradation. This provides a clear visualisation of the areas in most need of attention, for instance where erosion is high and soil organic carbon, an important indicator of land health, is low. We also used a combination of predictive maps to identify the areas with the greatest chances for successful habitat restoration, and to get a sense of the urgency and level of effort required for restoration on Mpala.
The approach is innovative on several levels:
First, by using mid-infrared spectroscopy we significantly reduce the time and cost of analysing soils
Second, the highly precise models used to predict soil characteristics allows us to take enough soil samples to accurately account for variation across the landscape
Third, by integrating all the data we were able to expand the scale of our projections and mapping to the landscape and regional levels.
Although we only mapped a 200 km2 land area, the approach has the potential for mapping land rehabilitation needs for much larger areas. This will assist national and regional level decision makers on how to invest scarce funds to restore productivity to the land, and help bend the trajectory of declining nature.
Margaret F. Kinnaird, Practice leader, Wildlife at WWF International and Timothy G. O'Brien, Senior Scientist, Conservation Measures at Wildlife Conservation Society, contributed to the writing of this article.
WINDHOEK - Large numbers of young people in Southern Africa do not attend school and at least 675 children under the age of 15 years from poor families are forced to work to contribute to household income.
According to the SADC Gender Protocol Barometer report launched this week hundreds of children aged between seven and 14 work in SADC.
Malawi has the highest proportion with 95 children aged between seven and 14 reported to be working, denying them an education.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recorded 83 children of whom 44 are female and 39 are male.
Zambia is reported to have 75 children in the same age category who are employed. Out of this, 40 are female and 35 are male. Tanzania recorded 34 females and 35 males, while Mozambique has 28 females and 27 males.
Comoros has 28 females and 26 males, Madagascar has 27 females and 29 males, Angola has 25 females and 22 males, while Lesotho has 21 females and 25 males, while Zimbabwe has 14 females and 12 males.
Namibia has 12 females and 15 males, eSwatini has nine females and 15 males, and Botswana has the lowest at seven females and 11 males.
The statistics obtained from the World Bank were updated in April 2018, according to the SADC Gender Protocol Barometer report. Data was not available for Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa.
Progress to eliminate child labour has stalled in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) found that child labour increased between 2012 and 2016 due to economic and demographic changes as well as crisis and state fragility.
"Most children work in the agricultural sector, often for members of their own family," according to information provided in the SADC Gender Protocol Barometer report.
THERE is doubt that Namibia would regain a positive investment grading, following Fitch Ratings maintaining the country's rating at junk status.
Analysts said this is because the economy is still faced with hardships, from both the domestic and global front.
In November last year, the ratings agency downgraded the country's credit rating from BBB- to BB+.
Fitch maintained the current rating because it took into consideration the government's commitment to stabilising the debt and fiscal reforms, while the domestic economy is showing signs of a modest recovery.
"They also reflect the challenges to fiscal consolidation in a difficult economic and social environment," a statement said yesterday.
Fitch noted that the modest economic recovery in 2018 projected at 0,6%, compared to a contraction of 0,8% in 2017, also played an essential part in avoiding a further downgrade.
Meanwhile, the high wage bill, as well as transfers to public enterprises, remain major challenges for the country to regain a positive outlook.
Fitch predicted that the central government's deficit would exceed budget projections, narrowing from 5,1% of GDP in the 2017 fiscal year (ended March) to 4,9% of GDP in 2018, and further to 4,1% in 2019 against a target of 2,3%.
Furthermore, the agency regarded Namibia's long-standing political stability as a major credit strength. However, the upcoming land conference, as well as the revised New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework could create some policy reservations.
Economic Association of Namibia's research associate Klaus Schade agreed that the current review maintains the 2017 rating, and thus remains one notch below the investment grade of BBB-.
"Earlier in May and July, Fitch affirmed the ratings for the Development Bank of Namibia at BB+ with a stable outlook as well as the rating for NamWater respectively. In general, institutions cannot be rated better than the overall country rating," he said.
Schade stressed that there are no quick-fix solutions, and it usually takes countries a couple of years to regain an investment grade.
"However, to regain an investment grading, the government should address the high wage bill, which prevents it from investing in necessary infrastructure, ranging from transport to water, which can attract domestic and foreign private sector investment.
"Investment in infrastructure will create short-term jobs in the construction sector and afterwards jobs in the private sector, owing to additional investment.
"Additional business activities will increase tax revenue from individuals and corporate income tax, and thus support the government's efforts to reduce the budget deficit and public debts. As argued earlier, a thorough review of all government structures, not only OMAs (offices/ministries/agencies) with the aim to develop a leaner, more efficient public sector should be the starting point," he continued.
Weighing in on the topic, PSG Namibia head of research Eloise du Plessis noted that Fitch said future developments which could result in a positive rating action include lower government and external debt-to-GDP ratios, a narrower current account deficit, and stronger-than-expected medium-term growth.
"We expect that a positive rating action from either Fitch or Moody's is unlikely in the coming 12 months and that risks to the sovereign credit rating are skewed to the downside.
"Although growth is expected to recover over the medium-term, it will be hampered by fiscal consolidation, structural problems such as high unemployment, a large skills shortage, a lack of investment in value-added sectors, as well as the ongoing global trade frictions," she stressed.
Although demand for imports weakened significantly due to the economic downturn, oil prices are expected to increase further, and the domestic currency has weakened, which will place pressure on the import bill and inflation.
"Furthermore, the South African economy's expected meagre growth will weigh on Southern African Customs Union revenues, and new multilateral loans to boost infrastructure spending and support the government budget will put pressure on the debt-to-GDP ratios," Du Plessis added.
Economics lecturer at the University of Namibia, Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, said it is a good thing that Fitch did not further downgrade the country, but instead kept it at sub-investment grade.
"This is also good news for investors and lenders, and it shows that the economy might improve. But there is no way that the country will regain an investment grade anytime soon because the economy still faces hardships. The Bank of Namibia had earlier in the year said economic growth would average 1,6%, but now they have had to revise down their outlook," he observed.
He said one other way for the country to be at investment grade is to reduce expenditure, and cut out corruption, to get an improved rating.
The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has published a new report into the killing of 34 striking miners on the 16 August 2012.The South African thinktank has found that the police officers responsible were not under threat when they fired at the miners.
The research' published under the title Sound of Gunfire, includes photographs' witness accounts and forensic evidence presented to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the massacre.
If the stain of the worst killing by post-apartheid South African police is to be expunged, the cleanup has to start from the top, says Gareth Newham, ISS head of justice and violence prevention.
"We are currently at a crossroads when it comes to policing in South Africa," Newham said on Wednesday at an ISS seminar on the police's conduct at, and after, the 2012 shootings. "Since the ill-conceived appointment by [former president] Jacob Zuma of the disastrous Riah Phiyega as [SA Police Service] SAPS commissioner in 2012, police performance has declined notably."
He went on to say that the 2012 incident called for a deeper structural reforms in the SAPS, which would have left South Africa with a different form and improve police service.
Scene Two hidden from view
The killing of 17 striking miners by police in a 12-second volley of police gunfire at the so-called "Scene One" site, was recorded by media from around the world.
The new ISS report deals with Scene Two of the Marikana massacre where another 17 miners died in an 11-minute shooting by 54 police officers from the top of a rocky hill onto men huddled in bushes below.
This was not witnessed by the media.
Independent researcher David Bruce finds the police were taking revenge for the killing of two of their comrades by strikers two days earlier.
"Prima facie indicates that those that fired at Scene Two were not doing so in self-defence," commented Ian Farlam' the now retired Judge who chaired the commission of inquiry into Marikana and attended the seminar.
Farlam said they had never learned why police were deployed in a paramilitary fashion.
He had referred evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate but no further action has been taken.
Police carry a casket bearing the remains of the late Nicholas Bett, former World 400m hurdles champion, on arrival at their home in Simat, Uasin Gishu County, as Bett’s wife Gladys Bett second (right) and mother Esther Boit follow on August 15, 2018.
Elite and upcoming athletes Wednesday morning converged at the Eldoret Hospital mortuary to escort the body of former 400m hurdles world champion Nicholas Bett.
Bett, who died last week following a tragic road accident, will be buried at his Simat home in Uasin Gishu County on Thursday.
Among those who have arrived at the morgue to pay their last respects to Bett, 28, include Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, former World 1500m world champion Asbel Kiprop, former 800m world champions Janet Jepkosgei and Eunice Sum, Sally Kipyego (marathoner), former 5000m world junior champion Augustine Choge among others.
Bett, who was a police officer based at the Kondele Police station in Kisumu County, will be accorded the ceremonial police send off by his former comrades.
Dressed in their ceremonial attire, the officers arrived on Wednesday morning at the morgue to escort the deceased.
Bett's body was escorted in a state of the art hearse.
By the time of going to press, it is not yet confirmed whether Deputy President William Ruto will be among top government officials who will attend the burial.
The burial of Bett was brought forward from Friday to Thursday following a request from the family.
Athletics Kenya Central Rift Branch chairman Abraham Mutai said the family had confirmed the change of burial date.
Bett had landed a deal with Fenerbahce Istanbul in Turkey.
He went to Simat Primary School before joining Paul Boit High School where they were transferred to Cheptil High School before getting an opportunity to serve in the National Police Service.
After winning the silver medal in the men’s marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Feyisa Lilesa spent two years in self-imposed exile in the United States. Now, he’s returning home.
Feyisa will return to Ethiopia in the coming weeks with his wife and children after two athletics groups notified him that he would receive a hero’s welcome upon arriving.
Ashebir Woldegiorgis, the president of the Ethiopian Olympic Committee, told VOA Amharic that the call for Feyisa to return is meant to better the country.
“He can teach his exemplary ways to other athletes and teach strength to our youngsters. That’s the main call, so he can come back to participate in the sport he loves and pass it on by running and by advising to elevate Ethiopia’s sport,” Ashebir said.
Show of protest
Feyisa made international headlines when he raised his crossed wrists above his head at the finish line, and again on the podium, at the 2016 summer games.
The gesture showed his support for people protesting in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, raised international awareness of human rights concerns in Ethiopia and made Feyisa a target.
At the time, the country was heading into a state of emergency, and violent protests were spreading across Oromia, its largest region. Ethnic Oromos were speaking out against marginalization and oppression, and the gesture Feyisa used in Rio became a symbol of solidarity with protesters, many of whom were young students.
Shortly after the games, Getachew Reda, then the information minister of Ethiopia, congratulated Feyisa and assured him it was safe to come home.
But the decorated athlete felt differently and, after the games in Rio, used a special-skill visa to come to the U.S., where he settled in Flagstaff, Arizona. He spent six months alone, before his wife, son and daughter joined him.
Taking a stand
After the Olympics, Feyisa made occasional statements to raise awareness of the situation in Ethiopia, and he continued training.
“There were times when things were happening, and I wrote things from my inner thoughts, not because I have skills, but people take my message and share it,” Feyisa told VOA’s Afaan Oromoo service, speaking in Amharic.
“But I am an athlete, and I am not that appealing. But when I write what I feel and people share, I am happy with it,” he added.
Haile Gebrselassie is a retired Ethiopian runner and twice won Olympic gold medals. He’s now with the Ethiopian Athletic Federation and told VOA that the decision to invite Feyisa back reflected his willingness to take a stand.
“He was born fearless. I knew him personally, and I was close to him. And he questions why people should be oppressed. He stands up for his people.”
Feyisa was willing to raise his voice at great personal cost, Ashebir added. “I like heroes. I respect people who stand up and speak up.”
Feyisa isn’t the only Ethiopian to whom the country has been extending an olive branch.
Since a fresh state of emergency was lifted in June, Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has reached out to the country’s many political and ethnic groups to create more space for constructive dialogue.
The government has removed several groups from its list of terrorist organizations, and, in a sign of continued thawing, a delegation of Oromo Liberation Front members visited the capital, Addis Ababa, Tuesday after agreeing to end hostilities with the government last week.
For his part, Feyisa said he doesn’t have ambitions beyond running. “My skill until now is athletics, and I want to work hard and return back to my previous capacity,” he said.
“I just want to share my gratitude. I would like to thank our citizens who sacrificed their lives … all of the young people and the elders who participated in the struggle,” Feyisa said.
Tigist Geme, with VOA’s Afaan Oromoo service, contributed reporting from Washington. Eskinder Firew, with VOA’s Amharic service, contributed reporting from Addis Ababa.
Nigeria's Victor Moses has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 27.
The Chelsea winger played 37 times for Nigeria, scoring 12 times since making his debut in 2012.
He had previously represented England up to Under-21 level, while coming through the ranks at Crystal palace.
"I have experienced some of the best moments of my life wearing the Super Eagles shirt and have memories with me that will last a lifetime," he said.
"However, I feel that now is the right time to step away in order to be able to focus fully on my club career and young family, as well as to allow the next generation the opportunity to step up and to flourish.
"Thank you for the memories and good luck to the team for the future."
Moses won the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria in 2013, and represented the nation at two World Cups, in 2014 and 2018.
Super Eagles were knocked out at the group stage in Russia this summer, having beaten Iceland but suffered defeats by Croatia and Argentina.
Chelsea winger, Victor Moses, has announced his retirement from international football.
Moses who switched allegiance to play for Nigeria after initially featuring for the English Youth teams, said on Thursday that he would like to focus on his club career now and his young family.
In a statement on his official twitter handle, Moses admitted that he enjoyed wearing the Green and White jersey of Nigeria but he was quick to add that he would want to bow out to see the new generation take over.
Moses said he has already told the Super Eagles coach Genort Rohr about his decision. He thanked the NFF and all that made his stay with the national team worthwhile.
Aside helping Nigeria win the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, Moses featured for Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups in Brazil and Russia.
The player's full statement reads, "I would like to announce that after much thought, I have made the decision to retire from playing international football. I have experienced the best moments of my life wearing the Super Eagles shirt and have memories with me that will last a lifetime. Nothing will ever compete with what it felt like to represent Nigeria on behalf of our country.
"However I feel that now is the right time to step away in order to be able to focus fully on club career and my young family as well as to allow the next generation of Super Eagles stars the opportunity to step up and to flourish. We are blessed as a nation to have so many exciting players coming through, and now is their time.
"There are so many highlights that stand out for me over the years; from making my debut to playing in two World Cups, and being part of the team to win the African Nations Cup for first time for our nation since 1994 being just a few of them.
"I have already spoken to the manager by telephone, and would like to say thank you to him and his staff, the NFF and all of my teammates for all of their supports over the years.
"Most importantly, I would like to say thank you to the Nigerian people for believing in me and supporting me over the years. It means a lot to me and my family and I will always be a proud Nigerian supporting the team. Thank you for the memories and good luck to the team for the future."
Defending champions Gor Mahia moved within five points of retaining the SportPesa Premier League after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Chemelil Sugar at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru County on Thursday.
After a barren first half K'Ogalo finally found the back of the net in the 78th minute when supersub Eliud Lokuwam stabbed the winner following a goalmouth melee.
Gor now just need five points from their remaining eight matches to retain the title.
Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr fielded a second string side, perhaps with eyes on their crucial Caf Confederation group D match against Rayon Sports of Rwanda at Kasarani on Sunday, and they managed to overcome an ultra-defensive Chemelil side just a few hours their trip to play Everton in a friendly match at Goodison Park on either November 7 or 8 was confirmed.
More to follow...
The Government of Ghana (GoG) has called for further discussions with the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) over a liquidation petition against the Ghana Football Association (GFA).
In the letter dated Tuesday, August 14, 2018 and addressed to the Head of the Liaison Team, Dr Kofi Amoah, FIFA directed the government to withdraw its law suit at an Accra High Court, failure of which the Ghana Football Association (GFA) would be banned from the global body.
The letter described the Ghana Government's petition to liquidate the GFA as an interference in football which contravened FIFA's rules and regulations and gave the country an August 27 deadline to withdraw the petition.
The decision to petition the court to liquidate the GFA came on the back of an investigative documentary by an investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, which uncovered massive rot in Ghana's football.
The meeting, slated for Thursday, August 16, 2018 at the FIFA headquarters, is expected to bring an amicable solution to the problem between the Government of Ghana and FIFA over the future of GFA.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, yesterday, the Minister Designate for Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the dialogue between the two bodies was in the right direction in efforts to find a common ground to reach an amicable settlement and also find a way out over the recent developments regarding the administration of football in the country.
Mr Nkrumah said, Ghana had, over the years, acknowledged and recognized the mandate of FIFA to administer football globally and would continue to do so.
"It is our understanding that FIFA remains committed to purging football administration in Ghana of corruption and related criminal conduct, which objective is in accord with that of the Government of Ghana."
Touching on the recent development in the financial services sector, the Minister Designate said government was in support of the actions being taken by the Central Bank to recapitalize and grow a robust economy.
He said, the development was part of on-going reforms aimed at strengthening the country's financial sector to raise the capacity of local banks to withstand the vigorous competition in the financial industry.
He explained that every step that the government was taking in the financial sector was to ensure that shareholders, depositors and the general public were protected, adding that so far, 7.9 billion cedis had been pumped into the financial sector.
He explained that government had taken steps to clean up inherited debt and adopt mechanisms towards the sustainability of the banking sector as well as take punitive measures on persons found culpable of mismanaging depositors' funds.
Mr Nkrumah, therefore, urged the general public not to politicize the challenges faced by the financial sector.
An estimated 78 million babies - or three in five - are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding, say UNICEF and WHO in a new report. Most of these babies are born in low- and middle-income countries.
The report notes that newborns who breastfeed in the first hour of life are significantly more likely to survive. Even a delay of a few hours after birth could pose life-threatening consequences. Skin-to-skin contact along with suckling at the breast stimulate the mother's production of breastmilk, including colostrum, also called the baby's 'first vaccine', which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies.
"When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything. In many countries, it can even be a matter of life or death," says Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. "Yet each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons - all too often - are things we can change. Mothers simply don't receive enough support to breastfeed within those crucial minutes after birth, even from medical personnel at health facilities."
Breastfeeding rates within the first hour after birth are highest in Eastern and Southern Africa (65%) and lowest in East Asia and the Pacific (32%), the report says. Nearly 9 in 10 babies born in Burundi, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu are breastfed within the first hour. By contrast, only two in 10 babies born in Azerbaijan, Chad and Montenegro do so.*
"Breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life," says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "We must urgently scale up support to mothers - be it from family members, health care workers, employers and governments, so they can give their children the start they deserve."
Capture the Moment, which analyzes data from 76 countries, finds that despite the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, too many newborns are left waiting too long for different reasons, including:
Feeding newborns food or drinks, including formula: Common practices, such as discarding colostrum, an elder feeding the baby honey or health professionals giving the newborn a specific liquid, such as sugar water or infant formula, delay a newborn's first critical contact with his or her mother.
The rise in elective C-sections: In Egypt, caesarean section rates more than doubled between 2005 and 2014, increasing from 20% to 52%. During the same period, rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40% to 27%. A study across 51 countries notes that early initiation rates are significantly lower among newborns delivered by caesarean section. In Egypt, only 19% of babies born by C-section were breastfed in the first hour after birth, compared to 39% of babies born by natural delivery.
Gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns: The presence of a skilled birth attendant does not seem to affect rates of early breastfeeding, according to the report. Across 58 countries between 2005 and 2017, deliveries at health institutions grew by 18 percentage points, while early initiation rates increased by 6 percentage points. In many cases, babies are separated from their mothers immediately after birth and guidance from health workers is limited. In Serbia, the rates increased by 43 percentage points from 2010 to 2014 due to efforts to improve the care mothers received at birth.
Earlier studies, cited in the report, show that newborns who began breastfeeding between two and 23 hours after birth had a 33% greater risk of dying compared with those who began breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Among newborns who started breastfeeding a day or more after birth, the risk was more than twice as high.
The report urges governments, donors and other decision-makers to adopt strong legal measures to restrict the marketing of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes.
The WHO and UNICEF-led Global Breastfeeding Collective also released the 2018 Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, which tracks progress for breastfeeding policies and programmes. In it, they encourage countries to advance policies and programmes that help all mothers to start breastfeeding in the first hour of their child's life and to continue as long as they want.
* Among countries with recent data (2013-2018).
Majority of the global population now living in cities and their numbers growing daily, which have made cities inclusive, sustainable, resilient and safe as currently observed, is critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, a high level UN meeting has noted.
The event was led by the UN Sustainable Development Group, UNSDG, last week at the High-level Political Forum, focused on how the cities of the world are accelerating progress towards the SDGs, as well as showcasing how SDGs' implementation in cities can contribute to transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.
The chairperson of the meeting, UN Deputy Secretary-General and UNSDG Chair, Amina Mohammed, revealed that "Cities are economic powerhouses with an estimated global GDP share of 88 per cent by 2025.
"However, cities are also locus of complex and interconnected challenges, producing more than 50 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and using 80 per cent of the world's energy. We need to get urbanisation right to achieve the 2030 Agenda," she stated.
The event provided a unique opportunity for member-states, city authorities and non-state actors to come together to showcase their own innovative work, and to illustrate how the UN system can support these efforts.
Bahrain's Housing Minister, Mr. Basim Bin Yacob AlHamer; the Mayor of Bangangté, Cameroon, Ms. Célestine Ketcha Courtès, New York City's Commissioner for International Affairs, Ms. Penny Abeywardena, the President of United Cities and Local Governments, Mr. Parks Tau, and the Chair of the international women's grassroots network Huairou Commission, Ms. Violet Shivutse, discussed how cities and local actors are championing the sustainable urbanisation agenda.
UNDP Administrator and UNSDG Vice-Chair, Achim Steiner, highlighted inequality within cities on issues like income, health, and education but said cities had enormous potentials in addressing climate change where they were already leading by example.
He called on the international community to unleash the power of cities to help solve global challenges. Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, told the meeting that cities are "in the front lines of nearly every global challenge we currently face, and they need to be at the centre of our strategy to solve them. Looking ahead requires new approaches - the "urban development of yesterday will not suffice," she added.
In Kenya, floods and landslides killed around 100 people and displaced nearly 300,000 between March and May 2018. Smallholder farmers along the Upper Tana River basin are now investing in bamboo trees to curb floods.
Many of the Kenyan communities affected by floods and landslides this year were already struggling to recover from the 2017 drought - a result a failed rainy season in 2016 and unusually high temperatures.
"The rainfall patterns have completely shifted. We are receiving more torrential rains of high intensity, accompanied by flooding," Catherine Muthuri, a research scientist at the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi, told DW.
Degraded soils vulnerable to erosion reduce soil fertility in farmlands and decrease yields, thus intensifying hunger and poverty. Additionally, floods wash away massive amounts of sediment into the rivers.
Smallholder farmers along the Upper Tana River basin in central Kenya have turned to bamboo trees in a bid to reduce sediments flowing into rivers, repair the riparian areas alongside the rivers and stabilize land that is prone to landslides.
"We are promoting bamboo trees in flood and landslide-prone areas to help stabilize the soils. We aim to help restore and repair the riparian [areas] already destroyed by floods, and reduce sedimentation flowing into the rivers," said Anthony Kariuki, general manager of the Nairobi Water Fund.
Protecting soil and water
The Upper Tana River basin covers approximately 17,000 square kilometers (4,200,785 acres) and is of critical importance to the Kenyan economy. Home to 5.3 million people, its water provides half of the country's hydropower output. It supplies 95 percent of Nairobi city's water, according to the Nairobi Water Fund. Kariuki clarified that a bamboo-rooting system helps retains water in the ground, binds the soils and helps filter out sediments, thereby reducing the amount of sediments that flow into the rivers downstream.
"Bamboo covers the soil through its canopy, reducing evaporation, hence rehabilitating highly degraded areas faster. Depending on the species it forms a canopy (shelter) within the first four years compared to other trees that can take about 15 to 30 years," Peter Kung'u, who is in charge of bamboo propagation at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), told DW.
The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) highlights bamboo as a core development resource that can help create a wealth of practical solutions while reducing the negative effects that changing climate patterns have on millions of rural communities.
INBAR says bamboo is critical in building climate resilient communities and can help the poor control flooding while protecting the environment, biodiversity and the ecosystem.
A 'woody grass'
Of the more than 1,400 different species of bamboo trees found globally, about 14 species are found in Africa, according to Kung'u. While three are found in mainland Africa, 11 species are located on the island of Madagascar. Bamboo has existed for hundreds of years in Asia, Latin America and parts of Africa.
Known as "the wonder grass," bamboo is a fast growing woody grass naturally found in diverse climates. Plants usually grow three to five feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters) high annually. Their stems range from one mm to 30 cm (11.8 inches) which is why they are sometimes called "bamboo trees." After harvesting, new shoots appear from the roots every year. In four to five years, these shoots grow to harvestable size.
"Bamboo plays a valuable environmental role. Its complex root system acts as an efficient water filter, removing nutrients and dangerous poisons such as heavy metals before they get into the food chain," Kung'u said.
"Additionally, its ability to grow faster than many hardwoods makes bamboo ideal for absorbing greenhouse gases [such as carbon dioxide], compacting desertification and global warming," he added.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping gas, released through human activities such as deforestation, and the burning of fossil fuels.
In 2015, the Paris Agreement formally recognized the key role played by landscapes and resilient forests in reducing the global average temperature to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Farmers need to see the benefits
While research scientist Muthuri agrees that bamboo is one of the plant species that can help tackle climate change, she underlines the need to combine it with other crops.
"Bamboo is attractive to rehabilitate areas that are deforested. We have a wide range of species, adaptable to every place, but it's not a one fit situation," Muthuri warns. "They take time to establish but once established they take very little time to grow."
Muthuri sees bamboo's potential along river banks and farm borders as a buffer and water filter "but it's not an attractive species for the farmlands unless [there is an] economic incentive for the farmers."
Smallholder farmers along the Upper Tana Basin have planted about 65,000 bamboo seedlings since last year across the watershed, according to Kariuki.
The Nairobi Water Fund is training them in bamboo-farming practices and linking them to markets "as an incentive to improve their economic livelihoods through selling bamboo products such as firewood, charcoal, animal feeds, building and fencing materials."
This comes after Kenya issued a logging ban for its forests earlier this year. It has also embarked on evicting communities illegally settled in its indigenous forests.
The government will upgrade additional 136 health posts
The government is investing 360 million Br to construct 100 health posts across nine regional states and in one city administration.
The Ministry of Health will undertake the project with financing from the government's budget and pledges from development partners. The ministry will also invest 7.41 million Br on 136 existing health posts by upgrading, equipping and providing medicine supplies.
Under the new project 100 new posts will be built, replacing an equal number out of the existing 17,187 health posts spread throughout the country. The posts designated for replacement were constructed poorly and provide inadequate facilities and services, according to ministry officials. Another 136 posts will be upgraded, equipped and supplied with medicine, while the remaining old posts are planned to be rebuilt by regional health bureaus over the next ten years.
The pilot project is part of the second generation health extension programme launched in 2015, which includes: upgrades of health extension packages by adding mental health and non-communicable diseases, such as diabetics and hypertension, to the list of 16 other services; upgrading health extension workers' skills from level three to level four nurses; two-year courses for workers on health extension packages and a Certificate of Competence; and the replacement of the rest of the posts located in different parts of the country by new facilities.
This second generation program aims to increase health-related awareness in the community, makes provisions for quality and equitable health care services, treats patients for non-communicable diseases and provides emergency medical services according to Temesgen Ayehu, director of the Health Extension Programme and Primary Healthcare at the ministry.
"Locations of the new health posts are based on formula made by the parliamentary body, House of Federation," said Temesgen.
The largest shares will go to Oromia Regional State with 34 posts, Amhara Regional State with 22, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) will receive 20. In addition, Ethiopia Somali Regional State will get 10, Tigray six, Afar Regional States three, and Benishangul Gumuz two. Harari, Gambella, Afar Regional States and Dire Dawa city will each get one.
Each of the new 100 health posts is expected to cost the government about 3.6 million Br. The buildings were designed by in-house architects of the ministry and will include maternity wards, vaccination and outpatient rooms, restrooms, storage facilities and living quarters for health extension workers.
In addition, 54,480 Br will be allocated for upgrading, procurement of medical equipment and supplies and worker training for each of the 136 existing posts.
Currently, there are close to 40,000 health extension workers in rural areas of the country. The tuition fee for each worker will be 8,316 Br a year and is covered by the regional health bureaus.
"The design of the new posts will enable them to provide delivery and post-delivery services for women," said Netsanet Sorri, senior architect of the Ministry, "this was previously offered at the health centre levels only."
The first generation health extension programme was launched in 2003 in rural areas and was later expanded to urban and pastoral areas. It focused on hygiene, sanitation, family health, disease prevention and health education.
The health extension programme has played a significant role in the health status of women and children in the past decades, according to a report by the Demographic Health Survey, where child mortality was reduced to 88 per 1,000 from 123 per 1,000. The contraceptive acceptance rate has increased from 15pc in 2005 to 29pc by 2011, according to the survey.
Ansha Nega (PhD), a lecturer and researcher at Addis Abeba University, School of Public Health for the last 16 years, also recognises the positive outcomes of the health extension programme. Hence, she believes the project has lacked some additional packages.
"The package should be more inclusive, integrating the unseen rural as well as urban communities," she said.
Community-Based Rehabilitation, a basic rehabilitation service for disabled persons, occupational safety, employee workplace health and safety packages for the informal sector has to be included in the extension packages, according to Ansha.
Defending the new fiscal year's federal budget before parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) revealed that there would not be any new projects by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) until the corporate governance and financial status of existing projects are reviewed. This is a serious step next to the recent announcement to fully or partially privatise major SOEs in the service sector.
The government has not officially admitted a policy shift. We can, however, infer from the above measures that the government is pausing for thought as the developmental state model that Ethiopia has pursued over the past decade seems to run out of steam. The weak performance of many of the SOEs, chiefly those established in the past decade, proves this fact.
Examining what led us into this situation is crucial to come up with ways of addressing them.
The past 27 years can be marked into two distinct periods from the vantage point of the government's role in the economy. Between 1994 and 2005, it was engaged in massive privatisation, unwilling to set up new SOEs, preoccupied with agricultural development and infrastructure expansion. Many of the SOEs had been managed by professionals.
What is remarkably different after the 2005-contested election was the change in the role of the state in the economic sphere. To derive legitimacy from economic growth, the ruling party promulgated the developmental state model as its guiding ideology. The model is based on the premise that as there are serious market failures in developing economies, state intervention is crucial to rectifying them. Market failure exists because of capital intensive, high risk, low return and long-term investment ventures that put off private investors.
The trouble with Ethiopian policymakers is that they have the incorrect perception that state intervention is the panacea for every market failure.
One policy instrument of the developmental state model (DSM) is the creation of SOEs. The government established a large number of corporations with subsidiaries in metals, engineering, chemical, sugar, retail, agricultural inputs and industrial parks.
The intervention went as far as engaging in retail business with the intention of modernising the retail sector and reducing inflation. In 2015, the Ministry of Public Enterprises (MoPE) was established to bring many of them under one umbrella.
What is breath taking has been the pace of creation of SOEs. Without prudent studies regarding the availability of finance, markets, technical and managerial capacity and foreign currencies, the government moved forward with the establishment of SOEs.
Despite the model helping to bring considerable economic growth, its application has resulted in multi-faceted problems. Many of the SOEs, created using this economic underpinning, are riddled with corruption, waste and inefficiencies. They are socked with debts, and their financial viability is questionable.
For instance, Alle Bejimla, an enterprise established with much hoopla, has gone into obscurity without achieving any of its targets. Corruption cases swirled around it and neglect and under-capitalisation dragged down its growth.
Sugar and fertiliser projects are likewise stuck in the mire due to repeated project extensions and enormous debt build-ups. Metals & Engineering Corporation (MeTEC), the military-industrial complex of SOEs, created with the great hope of enhancing technological capabilities, has been repeatedly blamed for corruption, huge waste and delayed projects.
The loss-making Ethiopian Electric Power is saddled with enormous debt and is exposed to multiple financial risks due to the massive expansion of its operations. Ethio-Djibouti Railway, constructed for over four billion dollars, and chiefly financed by Chinese loans, is expected to bring in 100 million dollars a year from freight and passenger transport. Its intake after management fees of 57 million dollars a year hardly covers the interest cost of the project.
Aggressive state intervention in the economy required huge financial resources from the government coffers and the banking sector. Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) expanded at an unprecedented scale to mobilise funds, and private banks followed suit to remain competitive and to comply with the National Bank of Ethiopia's (NBE) rules.
Deposits of the banking sector have grown by eight fold in a decade. Despite the share of private bank branches doubling from 33.4pc, their share of deposits have remained pretty much the same, at 35pc. The book for loans, advances and corporate bonds in the sector also grew by 11 fold.
What is striking is that the share of loans, advances and corporate bonds of public enterprises soared from 18.2pc in 2007/08 to 52pc almost a decade later. A huge chunk of private bank deposits has also been channelled to the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), so that it would lend them at generous terms mainly to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
The proliferation and bloating of SOEs has increased the credit exposure of state banks. At the end of 2017, 44pc of the total credit of the state banks was given to a single borrower. Close to half of the loans disbursed by state banks in the second quarter of the past fiscal year went to a single borrower as well. Imprudent lending for agricultural and industrial development by DBE has caused soaring non-performing loans (NPL).
The level of indebtedness of SOEs is staggering. By the end of September of last year, they owed 251 billion Br and 269 billion Br to foreign and domestic lenders, respectively. The expansion of SOEs has also created a huge appetite for foreign countries to export their capital goods, spare parts and other services.
Repayment of capital and interest on foreign loans also caused enormous strain on the precarious balance of payment. The total debt servicing of government guaranteed and non-guaranteed debts of state-owned enterprise soared by 120pc to 987.3 million dollars in the four years leading up to 2016/17.
When the number of entities owned by the state increases at an alarming rate, they required qualified human resources. Unfortunately, the government drew human resources for running them chiefly from the vast sea of party members, who were lightly screened for their capability and professionalism. In employment, when party membership and loyalty become everything, and meritocracy is side-lined, accountability surely gets compromised.
In the political environment of a single-party monopoly, which lacks accountability and transparency, launching a highly interventionist economic policy with unrealistic ambitions and poor deliberation resulted in the massive accumulation of wealth in the hands of the state. It opened the floodgate to corruption, waste, inefficiencies and enormous debt build-ups. It overstretched resources and brought a lack of focus.
Privatization is a good step if it is undertaken in an orderly, transparent and accountable manner. If it is preceded by the liberalisation of the monopolised industries and establishment of effective regulatory frameworks, it will be fruitful.
Abiy's administration needs to come up with detailed ideas of what the role of the state in the economy should be from the perspective of creating SOEs. This requires answering where, how and when to intervene.
State intervention should only be considered when there is a genuine market failure and options such as incentivising the private sector, and public-private partnerships (PPs) have not borne fruit. SOEs thrive when there are clear targets, accountable and transparent systems, rewards are aligned with performance and professionalism is fostered.
The idea of state intervention is not a license to stifle the private sector. It is a means to rectify genuine market failures. Once these are corrected, the private sector can and should take over.
Nairobi — Hemingways Collection has announced an eco-awareness programme targeted at locals and tourists that seeks to encourage the disposal of plastic waste along the Kenyan coast in a sustainable manner.
As part of its commitment to preserving the Kenyan coastline and ecosystem within it, the hotel has partnered with a local non-governmental organization 'EcoWorld Watamu,' which employs underprivileged locals to collect plastic debris along the beach each week and reuse and recycle it for better purposes.
All plastic waste from Hemingways Watamu is directed to EcoWorld where it is separated according to weight and colour, before being shredded or melted, and recycled.
The recycled waste is used in creating artworks, furniture, fence posts, and trinkets - generating income and removing debris from the ocean.
Hemingways Watamu Operations Manager Melinda Rees, says collaboration with the local community is an important step in raising environmental awareness adding that the hotel has begun to replace palm leaf roofs on some structures with recycled plastic roofing in addition to banning the use of plastic straws in the establishment.
Ms Rees noted that luxury that makes the world a better place is a trend that is on the increase with many travellers keen on the importance of sustainability.
"Guests can now spend a day learning about the Watamu Marine Association and EcoWorld Watamu, with an educational day joining in on the recycling process and learning about the impact that plastic waste is having on this fragile environment." Hemingways Collection Group Operations Director Mr. Ross Evans explained.
The hotel has created provision for guests to also have the opportunity to contribute to the effort on a more informal basis by picking up one of the hotel's recycled plastic bags and collecting plastic waste as they take in their daily walk along Watamu beach Mr Evans further explained
The Watamu coastline is at the heart of the hotel's community and offers guests a chance to view the Watamu big five Dolphins, Whales, Sea Turtles, Whale Shark and Shark. Protecting it ensures that populations of marine life such as the Humpback whale are sustained.
Three among 11 Nigerian secondary school students have qualified to participate in this year's World Adolescent Robotics competition, which holds this month in China.
The China Association of Science and Technology has reached out to the three students who will be representing Nigeria at the competition.
The students, Tawakalitu Giwa, Oluwaseun Omotayo and Ayomide Adetunji, were members of Team Nigeria to the First Global Robotic Olympics in Washington DC, in the United States(US) in 2017 and they were sponsored by Aramex and Doculand Nigeria.
Their performance at the Washington competition earned them the opportunity to be invited by the China Association to participate in this year's competition.
The students were picked based on their outstanding performance at the First Global Robotic Olympics where Nigeria placed 25th out of the 163 teams from 157 countries, emerging third out of the 41 African countries in attendance. The three students left Nigeria for China recently.
Similarly, five secondary school students will be representing Nigeria at the next First Global Robotic Olympics coming up in Mexico City this August, while another three students will be representing Nigeria at the Pan African Robotic Competition holding in Senegal this week.
Founded by philanthropic inventor, Dean Kamen to inspire a passion for science and technology leadership and innovation among the world's more than two billion youths, FIRST Global provides the framework for an Olympics-style robotics event that drives home the importance of obtaining the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills needed by future leaders to overcome the greatest challenges facing the world today and tomorrow.
National Coordinator, of the programme and CEO, Roboglobal Educational Consulting, Mrs. Remi Willoughby, said: "Without any doubt Nigeria is slowly but gradually establishing herself on the map of technology developed nations. This may not be presently evident; however, it is an indication that progress is being made."
According to her, "we have the right talents to compete successfully on the global stage and move Nigeria to a technology advanced nation, but we need the right support and encouragement and to do this, we need to quickly address the evident deficit in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in our educational system."
Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Science, Technology and Innovation Dialogue, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria
Your Excellency, President Xi,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Scientists from China and South Africa,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great privilege to address this groundbreaking dialogue between scientists and innovators from China and South Africa.
I wish to express our sincere appreciation to the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology under the leadership of Minister Wang and the South African Department of Science and Technology under the leadership of Minister Kubayi-Ngubane for organising this event as part of the State Visit of President Xi Jinping.
This event demonstrates South Africa and China's shared commitment to invest in and leverage science, technology and innovation as instruments for growth and development.
It is further proof of the strong bilateral cooperation in this domain and should serve as a platform for enhanced cooperation.
Science, technology and innovation is an integral part of South Africa's National Development Plan, both as a means to bolster economic growth and competitiveness, and advance social development.
Fostering a vibrant knowledge economy and a culture of entrepreneurship is at the heart of Government's agenda.
Our efforts are focused on developing and supporting a dynamic national system of innovation by strengthening relations between public research and technology organisations, universities, industry and civil society.
These efforts include developing South Africa's human capital, addressing demographic imbalances, increasing research output, and using knowledge for economic and social development.
Democratic South Africa has much to be proud of in the domain of science and technology.
Through funding more than 200 research chairs and 15 centres of excellence at South African universities, we have significantly increased South Africa's research output.
The big policy challenge remains to ensure an effective translation of research outputs into new products and services.
Investment in science and technology to beneficiate South Africa's raw materials has, for example, led to the development of an ambitious hydrogen fuel cell technology programme.
Scientific advice to improve natural resource management and decision-making is benefitting from the South African National Space Agency's Earth observation programmes.
South Africa is at the cutting edge of drug and vaccine development for infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.
While discussion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has been focused on manufacturing and the implications for global supply chains, it is important to have a holistic perspective of the impact of these disruptive new technologies on all aspects of human endeavour and well-being.
South Africa is determined to respond effectively to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The danger is that an inappropriate response would reinforce South Africa's dependence on primary resources and on imported technology.
South Africa already has some of the components necessary to play a role, especially in its universities and innovative companies.
Disruptive technologies will open up new industries and will change existing industries, processes and services.
Focused investment in well-funded programmes is essential for success - hard choices must be made in where and how to invest.
The development of skills and expertise underpins all preparation for and participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
International cooperation will be crucial.
It is an imperative for all nations seeking to progress in science, technology and innovation.
The frontiers of human knowledge are expanded through joint investments, the pooling of resources, and the sharing of experience and expertise.
Major societal challenges such climate change, disease and food security will only be effectively met through strong international cooperation in science and technology.
South Africa's hosting of the global Square Kilometre Array radio telescope is an excellent example of successful international cooperation in science.
A project of the scale of the SKA, which will be the flagship frontier science project of the 21st century, cannot be undertaken by any nation alone.
In addition to providing a better understanding of our universe, the SKA will drive innovation in crucial technology areas such as high performance computing and high-speed data transmission networks.
We wish to acknowledge China's crucial contributions to the SKA project as a valued partner.
I also wish to express my appreciation to President Xi Jinping for China's commitment to cooperation in science, technology and innovation.
This evidenced in many ways, including the two Action Plans to establish joint research centres, in crucial economic sectors such as mining and forestry, and to promote the exchange of young scientists between the two countries.
There is great potential to further develop cooperation between the two countries, for example, in fostering partnerships related to the establishment of science parks, which in turn can facilitate the investment by China's leading technology intensive enterprises in South Africa.
We also wish to thank China for its commitment to African development and the inclusion of a science, technology and innovation component in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
I wish this Dialogue well in its deliberations and look forward to the outcomes of the various discussions.
These outcomes will serve to inform the South African Government's policy thinking notably with regard to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its strategic cooperation with China.
There are several important intangible benefits of international cooperation in science, specifically the impact on building networks, friendship and solidarity across differences of culture, language and nationality.
I am certain that this Dialogue will achieve all of these benefits and more.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
A robot platform known as the "Monster" is one of the technologies that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) hopes will improve safety in mines.
This is according to the CSIR, which on Tuesday showcased the technologies that would aid the country's mining sector at the Mandela Mining Precinct in Johannesburg.
Principal researcher at CSIR Dr Shaniel Davrajh said robotic technology in mines would be able to reach areas not easily accessible during an incident.
"A robot equipped with safety inspection sensors will enter the mine during a safety period. It becomes very difficult and dangerous for humans to enter into the mine after an incident," Davrajh said.
Davrajh said the Monster also has the ability to assess and identify risks in underground mines.
Other technology that was showcased was a ground penetrating radar (GPR). The radar is used for rock mass stability investigations.
40% of fatalities caused by fall of ground
Geophysicist Dr Michael Van Schoor said the GPR would provide valuable information regarding immediate hanging wall integrity.
He added that there was a need for reliable rock mass stability determination in mining.
"Managing health and safety risk in a mine requires real-time monitoring and quantification of the underground hazards and the exposure of personnel and equipment to such hazards," Van Schoor said.
He said 40% of mining fatalities were caused by the fall of ground, a statistic which could be reduced by GPR technology.
Glass rock technology was also showcased. According to the council, the technology will allow miners to see through rock faces where reefs are located.
Van Schoor said most of the technologies were still early experimental prototypes that would first need to be proven effective and then commercialised before being eventually taken underground.
CSIR Mining technologies: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)
Mining companies 'positive'
"Some of the technologies like the GPR are very much more mature. In fact some mines are already using GPR technologies," Van Schoor told News24 during the exhibition.
He added that the organisation was working on improving the technologies every day. "Because it's not that easy to use these technologies, some mines will buy it and use it on a needs basis. But we encourage mines to implement these under routine basis. In order to do that we have to modify them," Van Schoor added.
He said the council would probably, for the next decade, work towards finding more solutions that would help the mining industry.
"There are different programmes for different technologies. Some focus on safety and others on production improvements," Van Schoor said.
He added that mining companies were positive towards the technologies that would improve safety.
CSIR Mining Technologies: The robot platform, also called the "Monster" presentation. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)
Spate of mining deaths
"Many years ago, mines were a bit careful to just bring any technology to the mine, which is understandable, because you cannot just take anything underground, it must be proven, safe and must add value to them," he said.
Van Schoor added that mining companies were, however, now more excited about and interested in most of the technologies.
The CSIR believes that the technologies it has developed can play a major role in mitigating fatalities in mines.
In the latest spate of mineworker deaths, six workers died after a fire broke out at the Palabora Mining Company mine in eastern Limpopo this month.
Meanwhile, the death toll at Sibanye-Stillwater's operations this year alone stands at more than 20 - close to half of the fatalities in the entire mining industry.
One person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution.
According to the UNHCR, as of today, there are over 68 million people displaced, over 25 million of whom are refugees - people who have been forced to flee home, and sometimes their country, as a result of war, violence or persecution.
The refugee crisis has almost always been a topic high on the humanitarian and development agenda, especially in the context of how support can best be provided in the short and medium term in a decent and dignified manner.
Ensuring refugees access to critical services is key. But how can accessibility be improved, especially in the areas of healthcare, education and financing? When forcibly displaced from their homes, many refugees lose exactly this access to vital, everyday support.
As they cross borders into new jurisdictions without formal identification, the lack of legal identity results in millions of refugees being denied or delayed from accessing services that many of us in the developed world often take for granted. However, leveraging blockchain technology to deliver digital identities can deliver the much-needed solution to the refugee identification crisis.
Blockchain For Good
Blockchain can be thought of as an incorruptible ledger that stores transactions which are replicated across multiple computers on a decentralized network (this could be hundreds, thousands or even millions of computers). Each computer plays a role in making the ledger tamper-proof, thus increasing the strength of the network. This digital ledger maintains security and traceability, while cutting out unnecessary intermediaries.
Organisations working hard to improve the lives of refugees can utilise blockchain-enabled digital identity solutions as a means of understanding how resources are distributed, as well as to cut down on identity fraud and data mismanagement, while allowing organisations to reduce their burden around costs and resources.
Digital identities function as the basis for refugees accessing entitlements such as aid, welfare, remittances, donations, and healthcare. With every activity immutably recorded, a blockchain solution provides transparency and traceability to the process of recordkeeping. As data builds on the blockchain, information accumulates and the technology effectively provides a de facto foundation where information can be structured, reviewed and utilised. When refugees use their digital identity to receive aid and support, they are also capturing data of their activities - building a social and economic history.
Possibilities Beyond the Crisis
Blockchain aids in the resettlement of refugees, providing greater security and transparency in the immigration process, and allowing them to focus on life after conflict. With a permanent, cross-border identity record, blockchain can be used for work permits and asylum application processing. The technology could also greatly increase a refugee's ability to work and give them the ability to legally access basic services, including banking, healthcare and welfare.
Blockchain ensures a refugee's identity is not stolen, forged or duplicated by hosting their personal information on a decentralized ecosystem. Stored on "blocks" that are continuously verified and secured through cryptography, blockchain is critical in protecting a refugee's data from being exploited. The documentation of these refugees could make a huge difference to their lives especially as it might alter the public's perception of them.
While no technology should be considered a silver bullet that solves all ailments, there is little doubt that blockchain has the capacity to affect significant, positive change for the future of refugees and humanity. Blockchain will not only emerge as the integral infrastructure capable of revolutionising assistance during a refugee crisis, but also as the mechanism that has the potential to eradicate it.
Joseph Thompson is the CEO and Co-Founder of AID:Tech, the world's first company ever to deliver international aid using blockchain technology.
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The constant refrain from early stage African start-ups is that there is no funding for them. Nigerian-based Ventures Platform is part-VC and part-accelerator, offering support to those most in need. Russell Southwood talked to Ventures Platform Founding Partner Kola Aina,
The latest video clip interviews from Smart Monkey TV can be found at the bottom of this e-letter
The idea for launching Ventures Platform came out Kola Aina's time building his own software company:"We were working with medium sized companies and Government. I realized you couldn't rely on Government to sort out everything. I had this thesis that if entrepreneurs were empowered to solve problems, they would stand a better chance of doing so".
It describes itself as "a start-up to enable start-ups." It does funding of tech-enabled start-ups across different business verticals. The businesses have to be scalable across several countries. They want start-ups that are beyond ideas at the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage:"If you need funding to scale faster, we're biased towards scale. We're also looking into how we can partner with SMEs.
It provides capital with mentorship and support:"We have a mentor network and we connect founders to this network. We're interested in how (for example) a healthtech start-up can go from 100 users to 10,000 users through growth hacking skills and communicating to customers. Our team consists of people who have experience. The start-ups send us quarterly reports. We also help them get talent from our deep networks".
Ventures Platform also operates Ventures Park, a physical space in Abuja that operates as a hub and hires space within it. At present, it's a hub for 150-200 entrepreneurs:"The physical space is there to help build a community so there's everyone from Uber to the guy who's just had an idea working in the space".
It has invested in 24 companies with sums of between US$20,000-100,000 through sourcing capital through local investors and institutions. Start-ups it has invested in so far include: Kangpe (health advice from doctors), Mobile Forms (crowdsourced data), PayConnect (mobile loans), Paystack (fintech), Proteach (home tutor platform), Wesabi (handyman platform), Accounteer (online accounting), Gerocare (subscription-based home healthcare for the elderly), ThriveAgric (supplying inputs to smallholder farmers), Printivo (design and print) and Wifi.com.ng.
A good example of a start-up it has helped to the next stage is Piggybank.ng, an online savings platform. At the end of May this year, it announced that it had raised US$1.1 million in seed funding from High Net Worth Individuals, led by Olumide Soyombo, Founder of LeadPath Nigeria, and with participation from international and Pan-African investors Village Capital and Ventures Platform:"It went through our accelerator programme. You could see the market potential of the product. There were clearly opportunities with the middle class and below".
"What we're looking for in start-ups is good founding teams, companies where we genuinely like the founding team. They need to have complementary skills including, technical, business and operational. We're always looking for entrepreneurs who have skin in the game. Most important of all: is this the best thing to solve this problem? Is it an imaginative solution? We're not carried away with digital products. We're still building the first layer of the digital economy: credit, identity, data and medical devices will all come before e-commerce".
Over its first eighteen months it raised all its own funds but it is now looking to "raise a large part of the funding and increasing the size of our cheques so we can back all the way to Series A".
And will Ventures Platform invest outside of Nigeria?:"We've already made an investment in Cameroon in Viva, a content distribution company with offline hardware. We're looking at Ghana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya and the rest of francophone Africa. I truly believe that entrepreneurship will impact the continent and this is why we do what do".
Innovation: Africa (iA), a non-profit organisation, and Bayport Management Ltd, a multinational financial services provider with a strong presence in Tanzania, recently announced that they have formed a partnership to help Tanzanians improve their living conditions through access to clean water and lighting.
iA has already implemented 18 solar systems in Tanzania, 16 of them powering schools and medical clinics in the Bagamoyo and Chalinze regions. Now, with the support of Bayport's network in Dodoma, iA's work in the country will be extended.
Bayport Tanzania, through the provision of a vehicle and other logistical support have enabled iA to commence a project in the Dodoma region of Tanzania to install a solar system at the Bumbuta Health Center, as well as a pump system to supply Iyoli village with clean water.
"The partnership with iA is a good fit for us," says Stuart Stone, joint CEO of Bayport. "Both our organisations are employing technology and innovation to give people in emerging markets access to the means to improve their lives and build a more secure future."
In June this year, iA re-located its Tanzania office to Dodoma region to better meet the high demand for clean water and solar energy. iA plans to complete five water projects and two solar projects in Dodoma over the next few months.
A global partnership made in Africa
The collaboration between the two companies will help to improve health and better education, having a positive impact on the lives of people across Tanzania through the use of solar energy and water technologies.
"Bayport's support enables us to offer solutions to remote villages in Tanzania, which allow communities to uplift themselves from extreme poverty and provide the tools to be independent," says Sivan Ya'ari, Founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa. "We are extremely grateful to partner with Bayport and look forward to the evolution of this fruitful collaboration."
iA is a US-based organisation with a mission to bring Israeli solar, water and agricultural technologies to rural African villages. Its goal is to reach 1000 villages, impacting six million people, over the next seven years. To date, it has completed over 200 solar installations bringing light, access to clean water, improved education, refrigeration for vaccines and medicines, and proper nutrition and food security to over a million people in remote villages in Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Cameroon.
Bayport is a market-leading provider of unsecured credit, insurance and retail banking services to customers in emerging markets. It currently serves more than 600,000 customers in seven African countries and two in Latin America. The communities Bayport serves overlap with iA's areas of operation in Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa.