Saturday, May 26, 2018

AU Marks Africa Day Reiterating Call for Robust Efforts to Rooting Out Corruption
2018-05-25 21:37:21

ADDIS ABABA, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Friday marked Africa Day that commemorates the birth of the then Organization for African Unity (OAU), reiterating call for the fight against corruption.

The 55th AU anniversary celebrations at the headquarters of the pan-African bloc in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, have featured panel discussion, African bazaar that displayed cultural costumes and items of AU member states, as well as music concerts.

Stating the achievements of Africa in different arenas, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, underlined the need to remain vigilant and conscious that much is still to be done to overcome the obstacles that could derail the hard-won progress.

"Central to the work ahead is the fight against corruption in all its forms," said the chairperson, emphasizing that corruption destroys the lives of ordinary people and undermines the trust in their leaders and public institutions on the continent.

"Resources that are needed for development and the delivery of services, such as electricity, education, healthcare, sanitation and clean water, are diverted by a few, thus depriving the majority of the people from access to these critical services," he said.

The AU has dedicated 2018 as anti-corruption year, under the theme "Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation", and African leaders have declared the July 11 every year as the African Anti-Corruption Day.

"I want to challenge all of us, leaders and Africans from all walks of life, to firmly deal with this scourge (corruption)," noted the chairperson of the AU Commission.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been named champion of AU's anti-corruption theme, in recognition of the Buhari administration's commitment to fighting corruption in Nigeria and globally.

In his remarks, Bankole Adeoye, Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to AU, reiterated the need to sustain robust efforts to root corruption out of Africa.

The ambassador urged more efforts to ensure transparency and determination of all to address the scourge of corruption, which he said is one of the major impediments to structural transformation in Africa.

Reiterating that several African countries are among the world's fastest growing economies, despite the global downturn, the Chairperson of the AU Commission also said the continent has achieved gains in its endeavor on democracy, food and agriculture, industrialization, health, and climate change issues.

On the ground, AU is making a tangible contribution to the improvement of the livelihoods of the African people and the development of Member States, he said.

Robust efforts are being made to create opportunities that the youth need to fulfill their aspirations. Gender equality and women empowerment are also a central element of our efforts. Measures to deal with diseases and pandemics are in place, with the establishment of relevant institutions.

"Continental integration is being vigorously pursued. So is the objective of ensuring that Africa speaks with one voice on the international stage, especially in the current context marked by increasing threats against multilateralism," he said.

"In parallel, a far-reaching institutional reform process is underway, to ensure that our Union is fit for purpose and financially autonomous," added the chairperson.

The Organization for African Unity (OAU) was established on 25 May, 1963 with a Charter signed by 32 member states, and it was transformed to the African Union (AU) in 2002, which now comprises 55 member countries.

Editor: Shi Yinglun
Ethiopia, UN Launch 280 Million USD Relief Appeal
2018-05-25 21:07:11

ADDIS ABABA, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia and the United Nations jointly launched on Friday a 280.4 million U.S. dollars relief appeal for lifesaving interventions.

The appeal was launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the Ethiopian National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC).

In a press statement, UNOCHA said the funds are needed for the next six months, focusing on priority areas including emergency health services, water and sanitation facilities, access to education and improvements in basic living conditions.

The joint UNOCHA-NDRMC relief appeal will mainly focus on the border regions of Ethiopia's Oromia and Somali regional states, where communal conflict has seen around 1 million people get displaced.

The 280.4 million dollars relief appeal also in part targets the requirements of 7.88 million people in Ethiopia who need emergency food aid.

Recent successive failed or under-performing rains mainly in southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia, an increase in conflict-related displacement in the border areas of Ethiopia's Oromia and Somali regions, and conflict induced drought conditions, has left 7.88 million Ethiopians in need of urgent food aid.

Editor: Shi Yinglun
Zimbabwean President Pays Tribute to AU Founders
2018-05-26 02:58:40
Editor: Yurou

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) speaks to his Equatorial Guinean counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo before bidding a farewell at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 25, 2018. Mbasogo finished his two-day visit to Zimbabwe Friday.(Xinhua/Wanda)

HARARE, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday paid tribute to the founding fathers of the African Union (AU) for their vision of a united Africa.

Speaking to journalists at the Robert Mugabe International Airport where he was seeing off visiting Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Mnangagwa said it was time Africa moved beyond political cooperation to economic integration.

"We are grateful to the founding fathers of the AU and remembrance of their vision for Africa to be united, we will continue to remember and honor Africa Day," he said.

He said the recently formed African Continental Free Trade Area was a huge step towards economic integration of Africa.

"Again the last summit in Kigali which created the African Continental Free Trade Area is enhancing the vision for Africa to be united both politically and economically, for economic cooperation. This is where Africa is going," he added.

The continent on Friday marked 55 years since the AU, then Organization of African Union, was founded.

Mbasogo, who spoke through an interpreter, echoed Mnangagwa's sentiments saying there is need for the AU to enhance cooperation among member states.

"It is a wonderful day. Africa has been brought together one more time. We are almost there as a free continent except for the need for Africa to have closer cooperation in economic areas and political areas," he said.

Commenting on his two-day visit to Zimbabwe during which he held talks with his counterpart Mnangagwa and former President Robert Mugabe, the Equatorial Guinea leader described it as wonderful.

"It has been a wonderful visit. It has afforded me the opportunity of meeting new members of government," he said.

He pledged to continue working with Mnangagwa's new administration.
740 Ethiopians Receive Pardon from Government
2018-05-26 22:12:02

ADDIS ABABA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The Office of Ethiopia Federal Attorney General announced on Saturday it has pardoned 740 individuals and four companies.

Speaking to journalists, Federal Attorney general Berhanu Tsegaye said 137 individuals imprisoned on terror charges were released, along with 27 individuals imprisoned on corruption charges were give the pardon. Corruption charges on four companies was also discontinued.

Tsegaye said another 576 individuals serving time on various other criminal charges were also pardoned, 18 of whom are females.

The prisoner releases are part of the Ethiopian government's promises to institute political reform and affirm commitment to good governance.

Since the swearing in of new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on April 2, several thousand prisoners including prominent opposition figures and activists have been released.

Editor: Li Xia
Ethiopia Pardons Prominent Rebel Leader
2018-05-26 21:21:48

ADDIS ABABA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopia Federal Attorney General announced on Saturday a decision has been made to pardon a prominent rebel leader, Andargachew Tsige.

Tsige, a British citizen of Ethiopian origin, has been serving a prison sentence since June 2014, for leading and directing an outlawed rebel group Ginbot 7, based mainly in Ethiopia's arch-foe Eritrea. Ethiopian law doesn't allow dual citizenship.

The state media Ethiopia News Agency reports Tsige was pardoned under "special reasons" with the intervention of the attorney general.

Prisoner releases are part of the Ethiopian government's promises to institute political reform and affirm commitment to good governance.

Since the swearing of new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on April 2, several thousand prisoners including prominent opposition figures and activists have been released.

Editor: Li Xia
Ethiopia Intercepts Illegal Arms Shipment from Sudan
2018-05-26 22:01:57

ADDIS ABABA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Ethiopia's northern Amhara regional state announced on Saturday they've intercepted 116 guns and thousands of bullets which were being smuggled to Ethiopia from Sudan.

Aberaraw Yehuala, Chief of West Metema locality police department, West Gonder zone, Amhara regional state, said the illegal arms were intercepted through the coordination of local civilians, regional security forces and the Ethiopian army, reported state media Ethiopia News Agency.

Yehuala further said the arms were intercepted in a three-day period this week, during checks on lorries coming from Sudan and that three drivers have been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle the illegal arms to Ethiopia.

Violent anti-government protests in Gonder region of Amhara regional state in July 2016, over a reallocation of a district to the neighboring Tigray regional state two decades ago morphed into an armed confrontation between security forces and armed civilians, leaving several dead from both sides.

Since then, the Ethiopian federal government and Amhara regional state have strengthened checks on vehicles entering into and from Sudan to Gonder region to avoid a repeat of the July 2016 clashes that shocked many Ethiopians.

Ethiopia strictly controls licensing and movement of arms across the country and private arms ownership is relatively rare in the East African country.

Editor: Li Xia
More Than 1.61 Million IDPs in Ethiopia:UN
Editor: Li Xia

ADDIS ABABA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) disclosed on Monday there are 1,613,436 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Ethiopia. The displaced people figure by UNOCHA is for those registered up to April 30, 2018.

In a press statement, UNOCHA said about two thirds of IDPs were displaced by conflict while the rest were displaced by climatic conditions like flooding and drought.

Oromia and Somali regional states were the most hard-hit areas in the UNOCHA report, accounting for more than 1 million IDPs.

In addition to the more than 1.6 million IDPs, Ethiopia also hosts around 915,000 refugees, the second largest refugee hosting nation in Africa next to Uganda.

Most of the refugees hosted by Ethiopia come from neighboring countries of Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, fleeing drought conditions and conflict in their home countries.
Tanzania Supports UN Position on Israel, Palestine Conflict
2018-05-23 21:39:55

DAR ES SALAAM, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania said on Wednesday it supported the United Nations position on the need to have two different sovereign nations of Israel and Palestine that are free and secure.

"Tanzania believes that Israel has the right to live as a free and secure nation, the same applies to their neighbors Palestine," Augustine Mahiga, the east African nation's Minister for Foreign Affairs, told Parliament in the capital Dodoma.

Mahiga assured the House that Tanzania will continue participating in efforts aimed at bringing peace in the Middle East.

Bilateral ties between Israel and Tanzania which were severed for the past years were revived in 1995, but Israel was still conducting diplomatic services with Tanzania through its Nairobi mission in Kenya.

Recently, Tanzania and Israel signed an agreement to cooperate in defense and security issues together with sharing information to combat rising cases of crime, including terrorism.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries opened a new chapter in their diplomatic relations.

Israel ranks among the top 18 nations in the world on the UN's Human Development Index, which places it in the category of "Very Highly Developed"-- the highest ranked in the Middle East, allowing the country to enjoy a high standard of living rivaling other Western countries such as Austria, France and Finland.

The major economic sectors in Israel include high-technology and industrial manufacturing.
UN Says Gender-based Violence Hinders Kenyan Women's Participation in Development
2018-05-26 19:16:15

NAIROBI, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Gender Based Violence (GBV) hinders Kenyan women's participation in national development, a UN official said on Friday evening.

Ademola Olajide, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative to Kenya, said in Nairobi that despite the progress made in the area of policy and the availability of various services, there is need to step up the efforts to reduce the level of tolerance of GBV within Kenyan society.

"GBV disproportionately affects women and hinders their optimal participation in national socio-economic development," Olajide said during a strategic advocacy event on GBV co-hosted by Nicolas Nihon, the ambassador of Belgium to Kenya, UNFPA, International Centre for Reproductive Rights (ICRH) and International Centre for Aids Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP).

The event highlighted the lessons learned from the services provided for GBV survivors as well as its implications for community services, prevention and response programs, and legal protections.

Nicolas Nihon, the Ambassador of Belgium to Kenya, stated that violence against women and girls is an extreme manifestation of gender inequality and systemic gender-based discrimination.

"The right of women and children to live free of violence depends on the protection of their human rights and a strong system of justice," Nihon said.

He said once you realize that four in every 10 women in Kenya suffer one form of violence or another, you just cannot allow the silence to reign.

The envoy said gender based violence is not just an issue for female gender activists, but a prerequisite for sustainable development.
Ethiopia Undertaking Border Demarcation With Neighboring Countries: Official
2018-05-26 22:52:07

ADDIS ABABA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia is undertaking border demarcation with all its neighboring countries except Eritrea, an Ethiopian official said on Saturday.

Shemsudin Ahmed, Director of Border and Trans-border Resources Affairs in the Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Ethiopia is jointly working with neighboring countries to ensure the border demarcation is done on a mutually satisfying basis and strengthens inter-country relations, reported state affiliated media Walta Information Center.

He said the demarcation of the border will facilitate peace and assure movement of citizens.

A border dispute between Ethiopia and its northern neighbor Eritrea led to a bloody two-year border war between 1998-200, which killed an estimated 70,000 people from both sides.

Since then, the two countries are engaged in a state of armed standoff along their common border, punctuated occasionally by sporadic small-scale clashes.

Friday, May 25, 2018

It Is Needed to See DPRK-US Dialogue Squarely
The international community is supporting the DPRK’s effort to promote détente on the Korean peninsula and build a fine future.

Kim Jong Un, chairman of the DPRK State Affairs Commission, has raised the profile of the DPRK as a world-level strategic state and safeguarded peace and stability on the peninsula and beyond by displaying outstanding wisdom, matchless courage and extraordinary political acumen.

With a strategic determination to put an end to the bitter history of the relationship between the DPRK and the US, he met US State Secretary Pompeo in Pyongyang and took a series of crucial and generous measures to seek peace and stability on the peninsula and in the rest of the world.

Foreign media attribute the current tendency towards dialogue to the DPRK’s great strength and positive efforts.

The courageous decision of Kim Jong Un and the proactive efforts of the Workers’ Party of Korea have brought a peaceful environment to the Korean peninsula, Kazbek Taysaev, secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, said as he addressed a joint seminar of Russian political parties and organizations. The rapid development of the DPRK makes the world community better understand the greatness of the Korean leader and the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea, he added.

While north Korea is leading the current situation, the US is following it, Canadian newspaper Toronto Star said. What is noteworthy is that north Korea emerges victorious in the long-standing confrontation and the US and its allies are on the defensive in their approach towards north Korea, it noted, adding that it is not a big country but it is a military power and centre stage.

“Compared to the US boasting of its economic and military capabilities, the DPRK is a small country in terms of territory and population,” Nigeria-based African Regional Committee for Friendship and Solidarity with the Korean People said on a website. “But the DPRK is led by Kim Jong Un endowed with outstanding strategy and courage and has an army and people committed to their cause.”

Such being the case, some are arguing that the thaw on the Korean peninsula is a result of the US’ “hardline diplomacy” and “sustained pressure”. This is of no slight help to the development of the situation on the peninsula. Rather it hurts the atmosphere for the DPRK-US negotiations.

Explicitly, the current situation is not a passive response to any pressure but an active shift effected by the peerless political acumen and strategic decision of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

To have a proper view on the current peninsula situation is indispensable for promoting global peace and stability.

By Kim Rye Yong PT
CMC Enlarged Meeting Held
The First Enlarged Meeting of the Seventh Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held at a time when the entire Party, the whole army and all the people are dynamically waging the general  offensive  to  achieve  a  fresh  victory  in  the  revolution  by  demonstrating  the  mettle  of  heroic Korea—true to the spirit of the Seventh Party Congress and the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Party Central Committee.

Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, Chairman of the DPRK State Affairs Commission and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, presided over the enlarged meeting that brought together members of the CMC of the WPK, commanding officers at service and corps levels, senior officials of military organs and those of the Party Central Committee.

The agenda items included organizational measures to be taken in order to strengthen the People’s Army into a revolutionary army of the Party militarily and politically and improve the national defence affairs as a whole, on the basis of the comprehensive analysis of the requirements of the developing revolution and the current situation of the People’s Army.

The meeting also dealt with the organizational issue on dismissing and appointing some members of the Party Central Military Commission and removing, transferring and appointing senior officials of military organs.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un reviewed how the People’s Army has carried out its military and political tasks since the Seventh Party Congress and specified the main direction and ways of army building and military activities, stressing the need to further establish the Party’s unified command system across the revolutionary forces and exercise the revolutionary military discipline, to consistently implement the Party’s policies on effecting a radical turn in training and ideological work and modernizing the army, and to improve the soldiers’ living standards.

He called on the whole army to safeguard and guarantee by dint of arms the all-people efforts to implement the decisions of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Party Central Committee.

He highly appreciated the People’s Army that is fulfilling its duty as the vanguard ranks and main force of the revolution on every major front of socialist economic construction upholding the banner of “Let us take upon ourselves both national defence and socialist construction!” And he was hopeful that the People’s Army would maintain its revolutionary nature and features as the army of the Party and leader and fulfil the sacred mission and duty it assumes on behalf of the country and people.
Despicable Act of South Korean Conservative Party
The die-hard conservative opposition "Liberal Korea Party" (LKP) of south Korea keeps provoking the DPRK.

Its representative Hong Jun Phyo reeled off again rhetoric for "continued pressure", slandering the measure taken by the DPRK for the dismantlement of the northern nuclear test ground as a "nuclear test ground dismantlement show", "deception" and "nothing new".

It is ludicrous for such a faint-heart like a loach in mud to trumpet about a cliché of "pressure".

The April 27 historic event which opened up a new history, a new era of peace in the Korean peninsula, is commanding full support and approval by the Korean nation wishing for peace, prosperity and reunification and the international community.

It is only the LKP and conservative forces of south Korea, including its representative Hong Jun Phyo who goes reckless to slander and insult it.

Obsessed by the ill-tempered manner to oppose whatever is done by the DPRK, they become reckless now.

It seems that, to the eyes of the conservative group, their fellow countrymen with whom they share the same blood are seen as a "thief carrying a dagger" and the sincere and earnest efforts made by the DPRK as a "threat".

It is by no means fortuitous that, looking at the recent behaviour of the LKP, the south Korean people have recalled Ri Hoe Chang who had used to turn off TV at the news of the historic Pyongyang summit in June 2000 out of his crooked disposition and traitor Lee Myung Bak at the time of the publication of the October 4 Ddeclaration 11 years ago.

Hong and his group are beating the worn-out "pressure" drum, still mired in the swamp of confrontation. This is a despicable act to totally deny the historic agreement common to the nation and to check the improvement of the north-south ties.

The group of traitors, which can exist only in reliance on division, confrontation and war for their survival, are clinging to a senseless act in a bid to turn back the phase of situation.

Now the south Korean public brands the LKP, which denies the Panmunjom Declaration and makes all sorts of vicious propaganda, as "Goebbels party," "awful party" and "war ogre", commenting "there is no remedy for inveterate confrontation frenzy".

A frog in a well can never tour the world and a loach is fit for mud.

The group of heinous traitors like Hong Jun Phyo cannot understand even the concept of nation, peace and reunification.

Those challenging the trend of the times are consigned to the garbage ground of history.
DPRK To Develop Renewable Energy Sources
Researchers of the Renewable Energy Research Institute under the State Academy of Sciences are vigorously conducting scientific research to further consolidate the independence and Juche character of the national economy and improve the people’s living standards and making many achievements.

In recent years alone, they developed a variety of products by applying renewable energy, including various wind-driven generators and solar modules, and installed them at the Kumsanpho Fishery Station, Ryuwon Footwear Factory and Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory.

They also developed and manufactured water-wheel pump urgently needed in the agricultural sector and people’s livelihood. As it uses no electric power and fuel, but utilizes flowing water to pump up water to the designated spot, the pump is highly commented upon for being cost-effective as well as favourable for environmental conservation.

The oxyhydrogen gas generator developed at the institute resolves water and produces the mixed gas of oxygen and hydrogen to be used as fuel.

The institute has built solar module production base equipped with such processes as cutting of wafers, sealing, assembling and testing, to mass-produce various sizes of solar modules.

Many other successes achieved at the institute, including electrostatic water treatment equipment, solar water heater, 250kW wind-driven generator, submersible pump and equipment for treating magnetized materials, are rendering an active contribution to the economic development of the country and the improvement of the people’s living standards.
Letter to Chairman of Non-Aligned Movement
Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, sent a letter to President Nicolas Maduro Moros of Venezuela, chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, on May 21 with regard to the bloody suppression committed by the Israeli occupying forces that caused thousands of casualties among the Palestinian demonstrators opposing the moving of the US embassy to Kuds.

The letter said:

We strongly condemn the brutal atrocities and indiscriminate violence of Israel upon the peaceful Palestinian demonstrators who demanded their legitimate rights.

I would like to hereby recall the Paragraph 289 in Chapter 2 of the Final Document of the 17th Summit of the NAM which underscores the need for efforts to achieve the goal of establishing the legitimate state of the Palestinian people, including their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom to build the independent State of Palestine with East Kuds as its capital.

In accordance with the above Final Document I feel the urgent need for the action of the NAM to condemn the bloody suppression and atrocities of Israel and express support to and solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people to achieve their inalienable legitimate rights, including the building of the independent State of Palestine with East Kuds as its capital.

Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to reaffirm the principled position of the DPRK to strengthen close cooperation with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and all other member states of the NAM in adhering to the principles and purposes of the NAM and enhancing its role.

The letter was distributed to the member states of the NAM.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Zimbabwe Hails Africa’s Support
25 MAY, 2018 - 01:05
Fidelis Munyoro Senior Reporter

GOVERNMENT has hailed African countries for the support they rendered during the country’s peaceful transition last year that opened a new chapter in the history of Zimbabwe.

Addressing diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe during celebrations to mark 55th Africa Day commemorations in Harare last night, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said the day had added significance in that it was the first under the new dispensation.

“Allow me to once again thank you all for the tremendous support that your countries, individually and collectively rendered us during and after the peaceful transition,” said Minister Moyo.

“I would like to especially thank Sadc and the African Union for their apt reading of the events in Zimbabwe as well as their unwavering support.”

Minister Moyo noted that after the peaceful transition, both the chairperson of the African Union Mr Mousa Faki Mohamat and the executive secretary of Sadc Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax came to pay tribute to President Mnangagwa and his new administration.

The minister said seven decades ago, one of the founding fathers of Africa Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana urged his fellow countrymen to face their challenges with courage to dream, believe, dare, work and achieve.

Taking a cue from a courageous and great statesman of Africa, President Mnangagwa has dared “us to dream, to work, to hope and believe in ourselves again as a nation”, Minister Moyo said.

“We are more than determined to see this nation rise out of the ashes of the last two decades,” he said.

“You may want to know that for us ministers, there are no weekends under the new dispensation. With boundless energy and wisdom, our President has in the past six months traversed the globe with one enduring message that Zimbabwe is open for business.”

Speaking to The Herald, Dean of African ambassadors Mr Mawampanga Mwana Nanga said Africa Day signifies the continent’s freedom and unity.

“On this day we celebrate the requirements of African people to be free, united and in that as our forefathers said we have strength and prospects for prosperity,” he said. “In March this year we had our leaders converged in Kigali and they came up with significantly one thing that will make Africa a free trade area that will eventually lead into free movement of businesses and services and bring Africa together as a free market.”

Saharawi Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Tayeb Sadik Bachir said: “Africa Day is a great day for all Africans as we take time to celebrate our freedon from colonial bondage have suffered for many years under foreign occupation by the western countries.”

Zambian ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Emmanuel Tawana Chenda said there was reason to celebrate Africa Day because it is a day when Africans take occasion to celebrate the continent’s de-colonisation and to re-affirm the commitment by its four fathers to unite the Africans.

In his congratulatory message to President Mangagwa, Russian leader Mr Vladimir Putin said Africa Day symbolises the aspirations of Africans as a whole.

“Please accept my sincere congratulations on the occasion of Africa Day, a significant holiday symbolising the aspirations of the peoples of your continent to freedom, peace and unity.

“For decades of independent development, African countries have achieved considerable success in social and economic spheres. Within the framework of the African union, as well as other regional and sub-regional associations, mutually beneficial integration processes are being promoted, and coordination of actions to resolve local conflicts and crises has been established.

“Russia notes with satisfaction the growing role of African States in international affairs and supports the efforts to build a just and democratic world order, and to counter terrorism, extremism, trans-border crime, and other threats and challenges to regional and global security,” Mr Putin said in his message.

“Let me reiterate that Russia is ready to expand the traditionally friendly relations with African partners, both bilaterally and in various multilateral formats, and to continue its active participation in programmes of assistance for Africa under the auspices of the UN, G-20 and BRICS.”

Turkey foreign affairs minister Mr Mevlut Cavusoglu said evolving political institutions in Africa had led to the emergence of a strong middle class.

“As Turkey marks the annual Africa Day, I take the opportunity to celebrate Africa’s achievements and rejoice in our developing partnership. Africa’s ascendency makes all Turks proud and motivates us to engage in closer ties and cooperation. Political institutions around Africa are evolving even as we are witnessing the emergence of a strong middle class in many African countries,” he said.

“The continent has the aspiration to take strides across all Sustainable Development Goals. Africa’s aspirations include not only eliminating absolute poverty, but also reducing inequality, offering a wealth of valuable education opportunities to all and reinforcing good governance as the norm. Africa operates increasingly as a cohesive unit. The Continental Free Trade Area Agreement has been a critical milestone that will shape the future of Africa.”
Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea to Scale Up Ties
 25 MAY, 2018 - 01:05 

President Mnangagwa addresses journalists at State House in Harare yesterday alongside his Equatorial Guinea counterpart President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (purple tie) who was speaking through an interpreter. — (Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba)

Zvamaida Murwira and Felex Share

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who arrived in the country yesterday, has pledged to continue working with the new administration led by President Mnangagwa and take existing bilateral ties to new heights.

President Mbasogo said this last night while addressing journalists at State House after holding a three-hour closed-door meeting with President Mnangagwa.

He was accompanied by a high-powered delegation comprising four Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials.

Speaking through an interpreter, President Mbasogo said they had come to reinforce already existing bilateral relations which blossomed during the Mr Robert Mugabe-led administration.

“Indeed, it was a timely visit meant to establish our cooperation, bilateral relations with the Government of Zimbabwe as well as to ensure that we give our full support to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his policies to continue to help Zimbabwe for the overall development of this nation,” said President Mbasogo.

Asked if there were any new areas of cooperation, President Mbasogo said their primary focus on the present visit was to deepen existing areas.

“We did not at this particular visit come to make new negotiations. We have some from the past. We came to reinforce what we have already established for the development of both nations,” said President Mbasogo.

President Mnangagwa described President Mbasogo’s visit as natural and normal.

“This is natural. His Excellency (President Mbasogo) has been coming here in the past and he continues to come here and in future he is going to come. So there is nothing out of the way, this is natural and normal,” said President Mnangagwa.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) said his administration would maintain already existing cooperation agreements and explore more areas.

“We have several agreements between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea government. We will continue to implement them and embrace new ones as we go forward. We have always worked together. We have had cooperation with Equatorial Guinea; we shall cooperate today and tomorrow and forever,” he said.

President Mbasogo arrived at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in the afternoon and was welcomed by Vice President General Dr Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant General Dr Sibusiso Moyo (Retired), Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and senior Government officials.

ZDF deployed military personnel to provide services at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The security personnel contingent, which comprised of police, soldiers and intelligence, travelled to Equatorial Guinea at the invitation of President Mbasogo.

Bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea were bolstered in 2004 when Harare foiled an attempted coup by mercenaries to topple President Mbasogo and replace him with exiled opposition leader and Spanish-based Mr Severino Moto.

Zimbabwean security forces arrested British mercenary Simon Mann and 69 others at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport when they landed to pick up weapons, while on their way to overthrow President Mbasogo’s government.
Zanu-PF Pulling Power on Show: 35 000 Welcome ED
24 MAY, 2018 - 00:05

Thousands of Zanu-PF supporters listen to the address by President Mnangagwa at St Noah College in Bocha, Marange, yesterday

Farirai Machivenyika
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Zanu-PF’s pulling power was at play yesterday when over 35 000 people thronged St Noah College in Bocha to witness the official ground-breaking ceremony of the St Noah Sports Stadium by President Mnangagwa.

The Sports Centre is the brainchild of High Priest, Mutumwa Noah Taguta, the leader of the Johane Marange Apostolic Church.

The President thanked the people for coming out in their thousands.

“I never thought I would see such a huge crowd because I thought I would just come here and within a short period of time return because I had another engagement in Harare.

“I am, however, happy and very grateful for such a huge turnout,” said President Mnangagwa.

He commended Mutumwa Taguta for the role he has played in complementing Government in the provision of education and recreational facilities.

“I want to thank the Johane Marange Church for inviting me to officiate at the ceremony for a sports stadium that is going to be the first one to be constructed in the rural areas,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Something like what we are witnessing today does not just happen or can be done by an ordinary person. It is something that is done by someone with a vision. Ideas like that do not come to those without a vision and I was talking to your leaders and they were saying they are building six schools at the moment and they would want to come to Harare and I told them we will provide them land for that.”

He commended Mutumwa Taguta for his efforts in providing educational facilities.

“Even in urban areas there are very few schools that are as beautiful as the one we are seeing here,” added President Mnangagwa.

“This is exemplary. May other church organisations follow what you are doing. Government should be providing these facilities, but we are so happy when you provide these facilities,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said the sports facility would ensure healthy lifestyles for children.

“Sports ensure physical fitness and produces mental health in our children. The facility that is going to be constructed here should benefit both boys and girls and will offer various sporting disciplines,” he said.

The President, who is also the Zanu-PF First Secretary, also thanked the Johane Marange Church for contributing towards the country’s food security through their farming activities.

“I saw how your farm as a church and I am impressed by how you do your farming activities.

“In the past two years, from the time I was appointed to lead the Command Agriculture programme by the former president, we have said this country should never endure food shortages again whether we experience droughts or not.

“This country should never be food deficient. We have a programme that this country will become and permanently become a food basket for Southern Africa,” said President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa promised that his Government would continue to ensure freedom of worship in the country.

“I want to promise that as long as Zanu-PF and I am in power, freedom of worship will be guaranteed.

“Our Constitution gives us those rights and that make our families, villages and country stable,” said President Mnangagwa.

Family representative Mr Nesbert Taguta said the construction of the stadium would go a long way in their quest to produce well-groomed students.

“It is our belief that the establishment of the sports centre will go a long way in producing students who are empowered, academically, spiritually and physically,” Mr Taguta said.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa donated balls for various sporting disciplines, $50 000 to go towards the construction of the stadium, 100 computers to St Noah College and pledged to bring 100 more and rice and maize to be consumed during the construction.

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kazembe Kazembe donated $10 000 while ZANU-PF national chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Minister of State for Government Scholarships in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Christopher Mushohwe donated 30 tonnes of cement.

Several businessmen also donated cement and money towards the construction of the stadium.
Zimbabwe Government, Civil Servants Seal Salary Accord
25 MAY, 2018 - 01:05
Felex Share Senior Reporter

Government yesterday further increased its salary offer to civil servants from 15 percent to 17,5 percent in a move that saw the employer and workers’ negotiators finding common ground and putting pen to paper.

Negotiations for a further salary review will, however, continue with other non-monetary incentives being considered.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Government has upped its salary offer to the workers, having last week tabled 15 percent from the initial 10 percent.

The two parties met yesterday under the National Joint Negotiating Council and came up with an agreement after more than four hours.

Apex Council chairwoman Mrs Cecelia Alexander confirmed the development.

“The Apex Council had a meeting with the Government today (yesterday) at Livingstone House in Harare to iron out outstanding issues,” she said.

“After a protracted meeting which almost took the negotiations to their knees, the two sides later agreed on the Government’s latest offer of 17,5 percent as a special civil service salary that covers basic salary, housing and transport allowances. It will be paid to the members of the civil service with effect from July 2018.”

A memorandum of agreement signed by the two sides states that the concessions were made after taking “cognisant of the state of the economy.”

“It was agreed that cash-in-lieu of vacation leave in excess of 123 days maximum accrual for teachers be paid on a staggered basis from July to December 2018,” reads the agreement.

“It was agreed that rentals at institutional accommodation be aligned to appropriate levels of members’ housing allowance and members’ appropriate grade be implemented with effect from July 2018. Government undertook to revisit and review the rental framework for accommodation at institutions like training centres and schools as such accommodation is tied to duties.”

The vacation leave days being paid for came after Government rescinded its decision to bar teachers from going on vacation leave.

Government deferred vacation leave for teachers in 2016 as a cost-cutting measure.

The employer argued that it did not have the resources to pay relief teachers for the months substantive educators would be on vacation.

It was also agreed yesterday that a collective bargaining council be established this year.

Cabinet has already approved principles on the amendment of the Public Service Act to allow civil servants to engage in collective bargaining.
South Sudanese Women Demand Representation on Peace Talks
23 MAY, 2018 - 00:05
JUBA. – South Sudan’s women activists have called for an end to conflict in the country, as delegates hold a forum in in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa in an attempt to jump-start a peace process.

Members of the South Sudan Women Coalition for Peace also used the meeting to demand an increase in the participation of women in all peace and development processes.

The coalition which represents refugee and diaspora communities, released a statement on the side-lines of the talks, calling for a 35 percent allocation in all upcoming processes.

Zainab Yassir, a member of the group and her colleagues made a point to speak with leaders attending the talks, reminding them of their duty to promote peace in the country.

“We are wearing white today because we want to tell our leaders it is time for them to decide for our country, to decide for the peace. This is what the South Sudan people need,” she said.

“The conflict which occurred in South Sudan since 2013 has affected women and children and elderly persons. It is continuing; the suffering of the innocent women and children is continuing, and up to now the majority of the South. Sudanese people have lost hope,” said Amer Deng, representative of Women’s Block of South Sudan.

Despite several agreements and ceasefires, fighting has rumbled on in South Sudan with barely any break since civil war erupted at the end of 2013, just two years after independence.

Troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with forces loyal to Riek Machar, then the vice president. Tens of thousands of people have been killed.

The government and rebel groups signed the latest ceasefire in December in the Ethiopian capital, aiming to revive a pact reached in 2015. But the truce was violated within hours.

The conflict has forced almost 2.5 million people to seek refuge in Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The UN says a further two million are displaced inside the country.

Children are at risk of malnutrition; many are unable to attend school and have been recruited by armed factions.

Women have reported being raped after their husbands were killed.

The forum in Addis was organised by the regional East Africa group, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The meeting between the government and rebel forces was held from May 17-21.

“South Sudanese stakeholders asked to be alone and continue the consultations among themselves. We agree to it and since yesterday we have intra South Sudanese consultation ongoing. And so far, as far as I can see, it’s going very well and it will be very beautiful and recommendable, and this will make the people of South Sudan very happy and very proud if the South Sudanese, without any interventions from outside could come to a solution and lead their country into peace and stability,” said Ismael Wais, the IGAD special envoy to South Sudan.

Agricultural production has also declined as insecurity has left sometimes entire villages abandoned and crops untended.

Aid groups warn that almost two-thirds of the population will need food aid this year to stave off starvation and malnutrition as agencies prepare for the “toughest year on record”. – Reuters
Mozambique, UK Firm Sign Power Generation Pact: KBC
24 MAY, 2018 - 00:05
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
NAIROBI/MAPUTO. – The Government of Mozambique has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Great Lakes Africa Energy (GLAE) to generate electric power using natural gas for domestic use at an estimated value of US $400 million.

The agreement signed last Friday in Maputo, Mozambique with GLAE, a United Kingdom registered Pan African energy solutions provider, will involve the construction of a 250 megawatt gas fired electricity generating power plant.

As part of the agreement, GLAE will develop, finance, build, own and operate the power plant to be fed with natural gas supplies from Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin.

The agreement was signed by Mozambique’s Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Dr. Max Elias Tonela, and GLAE Director, Mr. Michael Kearns.

The agreement follows the result of Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin domestic gas tender, the results of which were announced in January 2017.

Michael Kearns of GLAE said: “As part of the Mozambique Government’s intended use of natural gas for the development of domestic power projects, GLAE will develop, finance, build, own and operate a250 megawatt (MW) gas-fired electric generating power plant, planned in Northern Mozambique.”

Mozambique, which has vast offshore gas resources, has decided to use some portion of the extracted gas for domestic power projects, with an aim of achieving a sustainable economic growth, including domestic energy production.

Speaking on behalf of the Government, Bruno Senguaio, an Assistant to the Minister, said: “Mozambique has considerable renewable and conventional energy resources and is fast becoming significant energy producer. Our Government’s chief priority is to ensure a secure and reliable energy supply for the people of Mozambique. This is why the project is so important. In GLAE we have found a reliable partner which will help us deliver this power plant.”
Three Ebola Patients Escape Quarantine in DRC, Two Later Die: MSF
24 MAY, 2018 - 00:05
KINSHASA. – Two of three Ebola patients who escaped quarantine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Mbandaka have died, the head of medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) mission in the city said.

The third patient was found alive and is currently under observation by MSF and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the MSF’s Henri Gray said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the WHO said yesterday it was accelerating efforts with nine countries neighbouring the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to try to prevent the spread of the current Ebola outbreak beyond its borders. The UN agency said teams are being deployed to assess how prepared the countries are.

“The highest priority countries at risk are the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo, Congo Brazzaville, due to their proximity to the current event,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said.

Moeti said the two countries are high risk due to their shared border with the region at the epicentre of the current outbreak. Both Brazzaville and Bangui have porous borders with the Ebola-affected areas, she added.

“At the second level of priority are Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia, which are also neighbouring countries to the DRC but not directly linked to the epicentre of the epidemic,” Moeti said.

The current outbreak is believed to have claimed the lives of at least 27 people since it was first reported last month. Three of those deaths are confirmed to be from Ebola, according to Congolese health ministry.

The Health Ministry of the central African country reported late on Tuesday that the total number of suspected and confirmed Ebola cases had risen to 58.

– Al Jazeera/News Agencies
Kenya Issues 60 Day Ultimatum to Expatriates 
NAIROBI. – Expatriates working in Kenya have been given 60 days to regularise their status with the authorities as the government intensifies a crackdown on illegal foreign workers in the country.

The interior minister, Fred Matiang’i said the government is determined to weed out undocumented foreigners because they are a security threat and deny the government tax revenue in addition to cheating Kenyans of job opportunities.

The department of immigration services which began the exercise on Monday will be issuing foreign workers with electronic work permits in a bid to improve efficiency and reduce paperwork.

“The verification exercise, which will be ongoing for the next 60 days, shall be used to rid the country of illegal and undocumented workers by according them an opportunity to standardise their papers. Those who fail to do so within this period will be jailed,” said Matiang’i.

The verification exercise, which will be ongoing for the next 60 days, shall be used to rid the country of illegal and undocumented workers by according them an opportunity to standardise their papers.

The government says it has records of only 34,000 work permits yet there are more than 100,000 foreigners in the country.

“We want, for the first time, to come up with clean, new and searchable effective digital registers of those who have work permits in the county,” Matiang’i added.

Police officers are to be issued with gadgets that can confirm the authenticity of the electronic cards.

After the 2 months window, foreigners who will not have obtained valid work permits will be deported.

Matiang’i who was opening the work permit and passport control sections in Nairobi, also mentioned that government is working on a proposed law that will see deportees cater for their own expenses.

According to Matiang’i, the government of Kenya spends about $3.6m on air tickets every year to deport foreigners.

– Africa News

Namibia’s Homeless Get Voice in Parliament
Southern Times
May 23,2018
By Annines Angula 

Windhoek - Lack of proper shelter, unemployment and human rights violations were the main concerns that a group of homeless Namibians raised during their special parliamentary session in the National Council Chambers last week.

A group of 31 extraordinary women and men gathered in the National Council Chambers as ambassadors for homeless people for a one-day model-parliament session, which gave homeless people a voice at the heart of Parliament for the first time in Namibia under the theme: “Voice of the Voiceless, Dignity Restored”.

During the session, the homeless expressed the anguish of being homeless and how they feel left behind by the system, and that they do not feel they form part of the Namibian House.

Former First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba, who officially launched the Homeless People’s Parliament, said it provided a unique opportunity for Namibia to examine challenges that the homeless people face.

“Homelessness is not just a housing problem and getting people off the streets. It's also about us working hard to find lasting solutions to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place; not just this generation, but future generations as well,” she stressed.

“The proliferation of homeless people is evident everywhere in the world and Namibia is no exception. Every day we see homeless people struggling for survival in parks, and on the streets, especially in and around the business districts. In Windhoek, they are more prominent in the city business district, in old and abandoned buildings, under the bridges and in and around informal settlements.

“These homeless people receive handouts from good people but a good number of them become scavengers at rubbish dumps for survival, thereby exposing themselves to different hazards, contamination and possible poisoning.”

Madam Pohamba said “it is a shame for people who have once been able and contributed to the development of the country to find themselves is such a horrible and unacceptable situation.

“These fellow Namibians should be given the opportunity to restore their lives back to normal. This is the first project ever undertaken to look at the homeless who find themselves in hopeless situations. This is the reason why we are all here today to launch this noble project.”

The Chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah-Williams, said the theme of the Parliament labels the story of a group of people who were once voiceless but now have been given a chance to speak and to be listened to.

“As a result, they now feel empowered and that their dignity, once lost, has been restored,” she said.

Mensah-Williams also said that the reports of meetings of the Homeless People’s Parliament would be tabled in the National Council for consideration and later confirmed that her office has in place a plan of action through which she will render assistance to street kids and homeless people.

“By bringing their voice to the public and national platform, that is, Parliament, the whole nation will be afforded a rare opportunity to hear their key priorities, concerns and stories about what it is like to be homeless,” she said.

During the session, the homeless delegates who have made the country’s bridges, abandoned government buildings and many other unusual places their homes, blamed and accused the police, especially the Windhoek City Police, for abusing the power vested in them to abuse them.

They described how they are kicked and poured with cold water to wake them up in the middle of the night chasing them from the abandoned building, which the police claim belong to the government.
‘Colonial Shoprite’ Obnoxious - Shareholders and Directors ‘Too Busy’ to Meet Government
Southern Times
May18, 2018
By Timo Shihepo

Shoprite shareholders have ignored the Namibian government’s call for a meeting to address the issue of alleged exploitation of workers at Shoprite stores in Namibia.

The Southern Times has established that the Namibian government requested to meet the Shoprite shareholders in April. The request was, however, flatly rejected allegedly because the owners of Africa’s largest retail chain were too busy.

Namibia’s Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation called the meeting in the hope of resolving a four-year impasse between Shoprite and its workers.

Labour Minister Erkki Nghimtina and his management team decided to intervene in the hope of finding an amicable solution to the plight of workers employed by the Shoprite/Checkers group of companies.

The Southern Times understands that Shoprite initially wanted to send a team comprising the Namibian operation’s management team, but the attempt was rejected by the ministry, which demanded that it wanted to deal directly with the multinational company’s board of directors and shareholders. The company then requested for the meeting to be held on May 21, a date the ministry also rejected.

Shoprite Holdings, a company listed on the Johannesburg, Namibia and Zambia bourses, has been at the centre of the alleged exploitation of its workers. The company has allegedly been denying its workers in Namibia a living wage.

The Southern Times has learned that Namibia’s labour ministry has gathered a dossier on Shoprite’s alleged exploitative behaviour. Some of the information in the dossier states that 42% of the Shoprite/Checkers employees in Namibia are classified as ‘permanent part-time employees’. The workers in that category perform the same amount of work as permanent employees but are not entitled to benefits and are subjected to lower wages.

 These employees do not have fixed time schedules and are paid less per hour than full-time employees, work an average of 30 hours per week, and some are kept on the permanent part-time employment status for more than 10 years.

The dossier further records that workers, employed as till cashiers, at some Checkers stores are not allowed to sit during their nine-hour shifts.

Same concerns raised in Namibia have also been aired in other SADC countries such as Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia.

Information provided to The Southern Times shows that the average worker at Shoprite Namibia still earns about R2,500 or less per month. As they receive no transport allowance, the workers spend between R480 and R960 per month on transport, depending on where they live. They also have to pay rent, on average R1,000 a month.

In contrast, Shoprite boasted that it made a turnover of over R130 billion in 2016. During the same year, former Shoprite CEO, Whitey Basson, was paid a total package of over R100 million, which included a bonus of R50 million and an annual basic salary of about R49 million. News of Basson’s salary drove Shoprite workers in South Africa to the streets in protest.

In Namibia, the company dismissed 176 workers in Rundu and Gobabis, while 100 workers are facing ongoing disciplinary proceedings, emanating from a strike in 2015. The workers downed tools after protesting to what they called was the company’s unilateral decision to give them a R200 increase. The workers felt their union representatives were not consulted and that the R200 was just too little an increase. 

Permanent secretary in the labour ministry, Bro-Mathew Shinguadja confirmed this week that Shoprite refused to meet a government committee for the whole month of April.

“Yes, we had requested to meet up with the shareholders of Shoprite in April but they declined. They informed us that they are only available on May 21. They are demanding to meet up on their terms apparently they are occupied with other things.  But you must remember that we are the State and we are not a banana republic. We will not meet up with them on May 21 but what I can tell you is that we will deal with them. We cannot be taken for a ride. The government has always been serious with this issue and we will not rest until a solution has been found,” said Shinguadja.

Government sources also informed The Southern Times that if a solution is not found soon, the government might be forced to initiate a consumer boycott against Shoprite and its subsidiaries in Namibia.

Some of the shareholders in Shoprite Holdings include the chairman, Christoffel Wiese who is the majority shareholder with 17.1 %, the Namibian Government Institution Pension Fund (GIPF) with 1.92%, Public Investment Corporation of South Africa with 12.0%, former CEO Basson with 1.52%, Government Pension Fund – Norway with 1.41%, Government Employees Pension Fund of South Africa (11.22%), among others.

GIPF said the fund is a mere investor and does not directly get involved in Shoprite’s operations. This was because it acquired its shareholding on the stock exchange through an asset management firm.

Questions sent to Shoprite Group of Companies communications manager, Sarita van Wyk were not answered at the time of going to print. 

During October, last year, eight cashiers, at the Shoprite Pelican Park store in South Africa, were dismissed after they accepted tips. The workers were quoted saying there was no money missing from their tills and tips have been allowed for several years, but the store manager handcuffed them (all women) and called the South African police service to arrest them.

In Malawi, media reports state that compassionate leave for Shoprite employees is available for permanent workers only. Permanent workers employed for less than a year, go on maternity leave without pay. In 2003, it was revealed that Shoprite forced its employees to sign a contract that states that, “you agree that from time to time you may be scheduled and required to work up to 12 hours a day, inclusive of meal intervals, without overtime pay”.

In Swaziland, some employees have complained that even though they are classified as managers they cannot afford to eat lunch every day except on paydays. 

In Namibia, Shoprite seized the opportunity provided by a divided labour movement to sideline the unions altogether. As a result, the company has for years ignored the workers and their union representatives’ demands when deciding on increases in salaries and benefits. It was also reported that workers at a Checkers store in Windhoek were also compelled to clock in when taking bathroom breaks. Namibian labour researcher and unionist Herbert Jauch, this week, told The Southern Times, that the attitude of Shoprite towards Southern African Development Community governments, unions and workers is that of colonial masters.

“They are arrogant. They think they are untouchable throughout the region. They are constantly in blatant violation of the workers’ rights. They are acting like colonial masters and you can quote me on that,” he said.

Jauch, who has been vocal regarding the ill-treatment of workers in Namibia especially by Shoprite, added that the company must drop the charges and they must understand that the 2015 strike was a result of provocations from their ill-treatment of workers.

He urged the Namibian government to take the first steps of not purchasing goods from Shoprite and their subsidiaries.

“They (government) can also start giving sanctions because really this can’t go on like this anymore. I really hope that the government can now really go after them because the disrespect that these guys are showing is equivalent to the colonial period.”
China to Build Polytechnic in Gorongosa
By Southern Times

Maputo-  The Mozambican government is negotiating with China to fund a mid-level polytechnic institute in Gorongosa town, in the central province of Sofala.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher and Technical Education, this would be a professional and technical training institute with the capacity to accommodate 400 students. It would be set up on an area of 310 hectares – 10 hectares for school buildings, and 300 hectares for agriculture and livestock facilities. 

 The Minister of Science and Technology, Jorge Nhambiu, received a Chinese delegation in Maputo, with whom he discussed the design of the Gorongosa institute, which will cost an estimated US$18 million.

 The eight member Chinese team included designers and engineers as well as the manager in charge of overall coordination.

 The institute will include classrooms, libraries, laboratories, workshops,  dormitories, a kitchen and a canteen that can accommodate 210 people. There will also be houses for the teachers, a gymnasium and sports facilities.

It will teach courses linked with agriculture, livestock, agricultural processing, renewable energies, and information and communication technologies.

 Nhambiu told the visiting delegation he wants the Gorongosa institute to become a “centre of excellence”, as a step towards Mozambique becoming a reference point for excellence in technical and professional education within the SADC region.

 Once the plan of the project of the institute is ready and approved, construction should take 24 months.

  - AIM.
Museveni Promises to Finance Moza School
By Southern Times

Maputo – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday promised to finance a technical school in Montepuez, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

 Museveni, who was on a state visit to Mozambique, visited the Military Training Centre in Montepuez where he, and 28 other Ugandans, had trained in the late 1970s, in preparation for the war to overthrow Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

 According to a report on the independent television station STV, Museveni also promised to finance reconstruction of the barracks in Montepuez.

 This, he said, was to thank the Mozambican people for their solidarity. After his training in Montepuez, Museveni headed one of the Ugandan rebel units which fought alongside Tanzanian and Mozambican troops to overthrow Amin in 1979.

 During the visit, Museveni also decorated some of the military instructors involved in training the Ugandan contingent in the 1970s.

 Mozambican Defence Minister Atanasio M’tumuke thanked Museveni for his gesture, and declared that his visit would immortalise the relations of friendship between Uganda and Mozambique. 

 On Thursday, the first day of Museveni’s visit, the Mozambican and Ugandan governments signed a general cooperation agreement, which covers defence and security matters, as well as political and diplomatic cooperation, agriculture, industry and trade and tourism. 

  - AIM.
The Struggle of African Women in Politics Continues
By Southern Times
May 21,2018
Charity Ruzvidzo

Most African countries are signatories of numerous protocols that encourage gender equality in politics, yet analysts say more still needs to be done to implement these protocols and ensure women are not sidelined.

Women in the region and beyond are breaking the glass ceiling in politics as evidenced by the likes of former Malawian president Joyce Banda and other women who have managed to occupy important positions in national governments and multilateral organisations.

Despite this development, statistics indicate that worldwide at least one-fifth of the seats in parliaments are occupied by women.

Countries like Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe are amongst the signatories of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) .

CEDAW defines discrimination and provides a practical blueprint to promote human rights and open opportunities for women and girls in all areas of society.

The treaty calls on each ratifying country to overcome barriers to discrimination in the political, social, economic, and cultural fields.

Recently, Zanu-PF, the ruling party in Zimbabwe, held its primary elections and the large majority of female candidates fell by the wayside. Out of 190 national assembly constituencies being vied for, only 21 will be represented by women in the harmonised elections scheduled for July or August.

Women constitute 54 percent of Zimbabwean population but have been lacking when it comes to occupying high ranking positions in political parties.

According to female politicians in the country, women continue to face challenges due to lack of finances, stereotyping, political violence and low support from fellow women.

The incumbent Goromonzi Member of Parliament, Beater Nyamupinga, who lost in the Zanu PF primaries, said Government should financially empower women ahead of elections.

“It is very important that women are empowered financially so that they are able to conduct campaigns. Unlike men, women lack the financial muscle to undertake a campaign. We thought that the coming in of a Women’s Bank would ease the financial challenges that we face. We were looking forward to having a project that would give women access to funds to use for campaigns,” she said.

Nyamupinga said political violence discourages women from contesting in elections.

"The primary elections this year were marred with violence. Women vying for a political office are subject to political violence. In most cases women shy away from violence and this leaves a gap for men to participate. There is need for a conducive political environment for women to participate without them fearing for their lives,” she said.

MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said women were ready to take up leadership positions save for lack of support from the Government.

“Women are capable of leading but they face challenges of a low performing economy. This makes it difficult for them to raise money for campaigns, which are very expensive, instead of looking for bread and butter for their families.

“Also, political parties are very patriarchal, we have seen how men hold the top leadership positions and women are just given honorary positions in most cases.  Political violence limits women. In most cases women are beaten up and even raped. This affects women’s participation in politics,” she said.

Bulawayo legislator, Jasmine Tofa, said despite having a constitution that stipulates on gender equality in politics women are still under-represented in the political arena.

“Our constitution is clear and fantastic when it comes to gender equity. However, this is not practiced but it’s just on paper. At the end of the day women are being given a pie in the air. We need to have equal opportunities for women as we have for men to participate in politics,” she said.

According to the country's Constitution, 60 National Assembly seats are reserved for women, 60 senatorial and 10 persons on each provincial council are elected on the basis of proportional representation.

Tofa said young women must be taught not to shy away from politics.

“Education is very important if we are to have female politicians in the country. Young girls and boys must be educated at a tender age to think like leaders. For example, in Australia, children start learning to vote from school for a class monitor. In Zimbabwe most people vote during national elections and it’s a feared process. Women must be taught not to fear leadership, elections or joining politics,” she said.

According to organisations that advocate for women’s rights, women have made strides in the economy, engineering, science, technology, academia, media, and many more sectors.

However they say this progress does not translate to politics. In 2001, nine out of 191 countries had a woman elected head of state or government.

They say there is a need to implement laws that call for gender equality in politics in order to fully realise women's potential.
Land Reform Hots-up in SADC Regional Agricultural Body Calls for Speedy Reforms
By Southern Times
May 21,2018
Ranga Mataire in Victoria Falls

The Southern African Confederation of Agriculture Unions (SACAU) has called for the speedy implementation of land reform before the issue gets out hand and destabilises economic growth in the region.

SACAU’s call follows initiatives by the South African government to introduce a motion in parliament calling for the expropriation of land without compensation after the dismal failure of the willing-buyer, willing-seller policy.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has in the past reiterated that the ruling ANC party would not back down its land reform resolutions.

Speaking on the side-lines of a three-day regional agriculture indaba in Victoria Falls, SACAU president Dr Theo de Jager said the land issue in Southern Africa was an emotive issue that could no longer be delayed or postponed.

“We want to get to a situation where SADC does not become the battlefield of land discussions but as an example of how the land issue can be resolved. However, we will not impose any prescriptions to governments in terms of the land tenure that should be put in place,” said Dr de Jager.

Dr de Jager said the big issue in South Africa and Namibia was to have a candid conversation between the white land owners and aspiring farmers without the issue turning into an explosive election campaign issue.

He said it was unfortunate that the land debate in South Africa was being undertaken in the run-up to elections. Dr de Jager said the issue at the centre of the debate was whether land could be expropriated without compensation.

“Let me tell you, today the debate between white farmers and black farmers, those who gained land and those who lost it, rich farmers and poor farmers is much more healthier in Zimbabwe than anywhere else in the region. I have used this as an example all over the world. In Namibia, the biggest stability at this stage is managing land reform, the polarisation between the farmers is at its biggest. Somehow, it seems we need some kind of crisis to be on the same page,” Dr de Jager said.

He said there was maturity in the debate in Zimbabwe and unity about agriculture could grow the economy. Dr de Jager said Zimbabwe has shed-off all fancy things about land and was now more focused in making sure that the land becomes productive.

He said SACAU’s position was that the distribution of land in some member countries was uneven and it needed to be redistributed but the process has to be done in an orderly manner.

“This region is very small and if Zimbabwe or South Africa sneezes, the whole region catches the bug. The big issue is to be able to look at each other in the eye and come to a consensus of how best we can address this issue,” said Dr de Jager.

In a separate interview, president of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa), Dr Vuyo Mahlati, emphasised the need for urgent land reform in her country to address pressing inequality and gender issues.

She said land reform was slow in her country and there was a need for the government to address the issue of how the issue could be dealt with in an orderly fashion.

“The big issue is how we find a mechanism that will address the imbalances and slow progress as far as land reform is concerned. I don’t think anyone is saying it won’t happen but what everybody is getting nervous about is how are we to govern it in a way that is orderly. Otherwise, there is no turning back as far as addressing the land reform in South Africa,” said Dr Mahlati.

He said different political and interest groups were putting forward various suggestions on how the land issue could be resolved and Afasa was at the forefront in advocating for land reform to address historical injustices. 

“The good thing about being in discussion like this is that we share and exchange views. But we believe that the responsibility at the higher level is that there should not be any destabilisation of the economy. So it is something that we hope it will not get us to that level and similarly within the Namibian environment as well,” Dr Mahlati said.

Vice president of the Agricultural Council of Tanzania, Dr Sinare Sinare, cautioned against taking decisions on impulse in dealing with the issue of land reform. He said Tanzania was still feeling the after effects of the country’s land reform undertaken way back in 1967.

“We encourage dialogue. This is a very emotive issue.”

A total of 13 countries attended the two-day regional farmer’s conference, which ran under the theme: “Trade As Driver for Agricultural Transformation”. The indaba, which began on 14 May, ended on Wednesday last week.

A number of issues were discussed at the conference, including trade arrangements and practices, key elements in pursuing trade-driven agricultural transformation agenda and the need to create opportunities from Southern African farmers to understand rules and regulations within which trade happens at global, continental and regional level as in between countries.