LUSAKA – The authorities in ZAMBIA are making frantic efforts to avoid possible disasters in case of heavy flooding this rainy season.
LUSAKA Provincial Minister BOWMAN LUSAMBO says there is urgent need to create space for proper drainage systems to avoid overflows, because rains have already started.
ZNBC News says he has directed the LUSAKA City Council, which runs the capital, to demolish illegal and other unplanned structures immediately.
Mr LUSAMBO says they should target especially structures that have clogged the drainage systems.
He has given the instructions during a tour of CHAWAMA, KUKU and MISISI townships to inspect the drainage systems of the areas.
Mr LUSAMBO says the city fathers should raise public awareness for people to know how they can get land or any property in the municipality.
An earlier report in the LUSAKA TIMES newspaper says heavy rains caused serious flooding in some parts of the city in FEBRUARY last year, a situation largely blamed on the poor drainage systems.
Floodwaters submerged roads and houses around the upmarket MASS MEDIA area as well as the elite ARCADES shopping centre, after the authorities were caught unawares.
The SADC Climate Services Centre says the bulk of the 16-member region is likely to get normal to below-normal rainfall for most of the period OCTOBER to DECEMBER 2018.
However, there should be above normal rainfall over the northern HALF of the TANZANIA – with the JANUARY to MARCH 2019 interval getting normal to below normal rainfall for most of the region.
On the other hand, there should be normal to above normal rains in Northern ANGOLA, Central DRC, Southwestern TANZANIA, Northern MALAWI, and the islands of COMOROS, MAURITIUS, Eastern MADAGASCAR, and SEYCHELLES.
Nevertheless, there is need for serious disaster risk reduction, because there can be uneven rainfall with sudden heavy downpours that can lead to flooding, displacement, destruction of property and infrastructure, as well as loss of life.
It says in such situations, access to basic social services like schools, health centres and markets, could be disrupted; with affected areas facing outbreaks of water- and vector-borne diseases.
The agency says the key recommendation is that prevention is better than cure because it also contributes to resilience-building.
Planning for extreme events is an essential way forward for all SADC member states to implement mitigation and adaptation measures in the face of Climate Change and Global Warming./Sabanews/cam
HARARE – New revelations have cast shadows on efforts by leaders of the opposition MDC ALLIANCE in ZIMBABWE to distance themselves from violent acts.
The Spokesperson of the MDC T claims the ALLIANCE, grouping SEVEN political parties, sent youths for training in SOUTH AFRICA and ZAMBIA ahead of elections on 30 JULY.
LINDA MASARIRA has appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into the violence that rocked the capital, HARARE, in which SIX people were killed on ONE AUGUST.
She alleges MDC ALLIANCE leaders held election campaigns during which they encouraged their supporters to engage in violence if their candidates did not win.
Ms MASARIRA says it would be naive for anyone to think the group does not have a radical and militant youth wing, trained under the civil society, which are stakeholders of the ALLIANCE.
She emphasises there are TWO groups trained to lead protests, although the leaders claim they learnt to up-rise non-violently; which is contrary to the vicious acts of ONE AUGUST.
Ms MASARIRA says the MDC ALLIANCE believes it can force the ruling party into a Government of National Unity through illegal demonstrations.
She says the ALLIANCE leaders believe in hate speech and insults; terrorising women; and in the suffering of the masses as way to win protest votes, and they have all lied under oath.
Her testimony seems to agree with comments by former Home Affairs Minister OBERT MPOFU, who has also told the Commission of Inquiry the ALLIANCE is violent.
The official, who is also Secretary for Administration in the ruling ZANU PF Party, says it is clear the violent demonstrations of ONE AUGUST had been planned over some time.
Mr MPOFU says he feels, from a well-informed view, there were snipers that had been planted around the capital, HARARE, and some buildings in the city.
He says somebody then created a scene and directed that there be some firing to paint the Government in bad light.
Mr MPOFU says while the opposition leaders deny any involvement in the destructive protests of the fateful day, he saw their protestors from his office at ZANU PF Headquarters.
He says they chanted MDC ALLIANCE slogans, with some wearing the party regalia; and the protests had a source, because the way they gathered showed they had logistical support.
The former Interior Minister, a former guerrilla fighter trained during the liberation struggle in TANZANIA, says the people were not marching from nowhere. They came from the MDC ALLIANCE Headquarters.
Mr MPOFU has also told the Commission, as Home Affairs Minister at the time, he had called Mr CHAMISA urging him to contain his supporters – but he got no cooperation.
However, the opposition leaders have disowned the violent protestors and instead called on the international probe team to summon President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA to testify.
They say the inquiries should focus on the person who ordered soldiers to shoot at unarmed civilians during the protests, which they insist were peaceful and constitutionally correct.
President MNANGAGWA set up the Commission of Inquiry, headed by former SOUTH AFRICAN President KGALEMA MOTLANTHE, after the violence in HARARE.
The Commission of Inquiry into the deadly post-election violent protests in ZIMBABWE has interviewed a cross section of people from almost all walks of life as the team seeks to establish the facts before compiling its report./Sabanews/cam
VICTORIA – The SEYCHELLES Magistrate’s Court has remanded until 28 NOVEMBER EIGHT IRANIANS arrested on drug-related charges.
The Anti-Narcotics Bureau and the Coast Guard have issued a statement saying they intercepted the vessel, a dhow, in the SEYCHELLES waters.
They say they managed to seize some 500 grams of what they suspect to be cannabis resin and TWO-POINT-FIVE grams of heroin during the exercise.
SNA says only EIGHT out of the 10 IRANIANS appeared in court on MONDAY together with TWO SEYCHELLOIS who were arrested last SATURDAY in connection with the case.
It quotes the lawyer of the IRANIAN suspects as saying the other TWO IRANIANS failed to appear because they are in hospital after being badly beaten by officers who conducted the search on the boat.
CLIFFORD ANDRE, who was lobbying the court to release the IRANIANS on bail, says the heroin was found on only ONE suspect for his own consumption, and there is no reason to remand all the suspects on the same grounds.
The legal practitioner representing the TWO SEYCHELLOIS, NICOLE GABRIEL, says there is no reason to remand the suspects, because they have been brought before the court on the basis of conspiracy.
He says until now nothing has come forward to justify the link between the IRANIANS and the SEYCHELLOIS, who were found in the vicinity in their own boat during the operation.
SNA says this is not the FIRST time IRANIAN nationals have been arrested in the SEYCHELLES’ waters on drug-related cases.
It says in JANUARY, the Supreme Court of SEYCHELLES sentenced TWO IRANIANS, EMAM BAKHSH TARANI and HATTAM MOTHASHIMINA to life in prison for the importation of heroin and opium.
Both IRANIANS and NINE other crew members were arrested on board a dhow, a type of sailing vessel common to the GULF ARAB states, in mid-APRIL 2016.
Their capture followed a joint operation by the SEYCHELLES Coast Guard and the former National Drugs Enforcement Agency.
The other crew members were found not guilty and released by the court late in 2016, but the EIGHT IRANIAN were repatriated to their country in JUNE last year.
Legal experts say for a small island state like SEYCHELLES, where tourism is the economic pillar, any challenge becomes a tourism industry problem, and heroin abuse poses a threat to the sector./Sabanews/cam
HARARE – Leaders of the opposition MDC ALLIANCE in ZIMBABWE have rejected their supporters who staged violent protests in which SIX people were killed on ONE AUGUST in the capital, HARARE.
ALLIANCE President NELSON CHAMISA and Deputy National Chairperson TENDAI BITI have this week appeared before a Commission of Inquiry into the post-election disturbances.
Mr CHAMISA says his hands are clean because his party had not organised the violent demonstrations that almost shut down the city TWO days after the 30 JULY General Elections, whose results he still reject though.
He says the people who were demonstrating or protesting on the fateful day were not doing so on the instruction of the MDC, its organs, or its leaders; and all of them should have been behind bars by now because they destroyed property.
Mr CHAMISA also says a reportedly militant group under his party youth league comprises young people who are not violent and who do not own firearms; although he says they have the capacity.
However, witnesses accuse the group of unleashing violence on anyone who challenges him and it attempted to burn MDC-T President THOKOZANI KHUPE and other party officials.
Ms KHUPE and her colleagues had sought refuge in a village hut during the funeral of their Party Leader MORGAN TSVANGIRAI in the south-eastern district of BUHERA when the violent youths descended on them.
Mr CHAMISA has instead challenged the Commission of Inquiry to summon President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA to account for the deployment of the army on ONE AUGUST.
He says the Head of State, whom he does not recognise as such, despite a Constitutional Court ruling, should be held accountable for the SIX deaths that occurred during the riots.
Meanwhile, Mr CHAMISA says his party still believes it won the 2018 General Elections and he should be the President of ZIMBABWE – failing which he will be staging demonstrations this THURSDAY to force the government to negotiating table.
On the other hand, Mr BITI, who tried but failed to secure political asylum in neighbouring ZAMBIA after the demonstrations, has also denied inciting the tragic violence.
Both men, the only ones to appear with their lawyers before the Commission so far, have further dismissed even campaign video evidence showing them threatening violence if they lost the JULY polls.
They have appeared before the NINE-member international team after turning down invitations to do so in the past weeks during which they unsuccessfully made a number of demands for them to comply.
When ONE of the Commissioners asked if Mr CHAMISA respects the national legal structures, and that the Constitutional Court ruling is final, he agreed; but still says he does not accept the ruling it made in favour of President MNANGAGWA.
The opposition leaders have appeared before the Commission after military and police chiefs have testified in the ongoing inquiries, which are sometimes broadcast live on national television, dismissing reports claiming their soldiers killed civilians during violent protests.
The Tactical Commander of the National Reaction Force, who is also the Presidential Guard Commander, says he was in charge of the military operations to reinforce the police on the fateful day.
Brigadier-General ANSELEM SANYATWE has told the Commission of Inquiry into the disturbances his troops only fired warning shots into the air, not at the rioting crowds scattered around the city.
He says the videos circulating in the media, showing a soldier kneeling on the ground and appearing to be firing at the rioters, are not proof that the military killed anyone on the day.
He says the soldiers were under the command of high ranking and experienced officers who are aware of the rules of engagement, either during civil unrests or in real combat, and had they fired AK-47 rifles there would have been more than the SIX dead bodies.
Despite denials by the opposition leaders, the army says it cannot rule out the possibility that the SIX people who were killed in the ONE AUGUST post-election violence could be victims of a militant group in the ALLIANCE.
Brigadier-General SANYATWE says the group, known as the VANGUARD, is violent and obviously includes trained former members of the national army and police, who are able to use firearms.
He says what also further shows his soldiers killed no one during the demonstrations is that a number of journalists decided to report the events while taking cover behind the military lines, and no dead body was pictured lying in the streets.
Brigadier-General SANYATWE says the reporters should have been able to capture people falling from AK-47 bullets and bodies lying in pools of blood if the troopers really opened fire into the crowds.
He says he does not give much consideration to the video clip that has gone viral on social media, because no civilian has the guts to film such military operations.
Defence Forces Commander General PHILLIP VALERIO SIBANDA agrees with his officer, accusing the MDC ALLIANCE of preaching violence before, during, and after the 30 JULY General Elections each time they addressed their rallies.
General SIBANDA says they have reason to suspect the opposition leaders had planned to plunge the country into bloody clashes if they lost the polls; and when they realised they were losing, they sent riotous youths into the streets of HARARE on the day.
He says the police had to call for help from the military after the violent crowds, who were now burning and looting in a bid to shut down the city, had overpowered the law-enforcement agents.
General SIBANDA says anyone, members of the public, observers who witnessed the ballots, as well as journalists who covered them, who have evidence of his soldiers killing people, should come forward with it.
The 2018 Post-Election Violence Commission of Inquiry in ZIMBABWE is interviewing a cross-section of people from mid-OCTOBER, but it is not likely to conclude its work soon – given the bulk of evidence the team has to consider before reporting./Sabanews/cam
BLANTYRE – MALAWI says it is ready to fight against the effects of natural disasters in the country.
Homeland Security Affairs Minister NICHOLAS DAUSI, also responsible for Disaster Management, has told the National Assembly some of the measures include relief food distribution across the country.
His statement titled Building Resilience: Preparedness on Disaster Prone Areas says his Ministry is implementing a number of programs to mitigate the impact of disasters.
Minister DAUSI says the government has set aside enough maize to distribute to all people affected by hunger as per the MALAWI Vulnerability Assessment Committee Report.
He says the study estimates more than THREE-MILLION people are at risk of facing food shortages, which the country has been experiencing mostly in SOUTHERN Region due to prolonged dry spells.
MBC News says the MALAWI Vulnerability Assessment Committee Report has identified THREE-POINT-THREE-MILLION people as being food insecure in 27 districts.
It quotes Minister DAUSI as saying the affected communities will require assistance for a period of between TWO to SIX months, from OCTOBER 2018 to MARCH 2019.
Minister DAUSI has expressed concern that despite all State efforts to mitigate natural disasters such as floods, dry spells, and disease outbreak, the country is still experiencing manmade disasters hindering progress.
He gives as examples the construction of houses in flood prone areas as practical examples happening in most areas.
Furthermore, lack of enforcement of building regulations as well as by-laws in cities and districts has made it difficult for the authorities to assist municipalities in mitigating disaster risks.
Minister DAUSI has also called on legislators to join hands in sensitizing the public on the dangers of such practices, and they should consider using constituency development funds to implement small-scale mitigation projects.
He says MALAWI is making headway in its effort to build a nation of resilience to disaster through a number of interventions, like the review of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act to align it with the Disaster Risk Management Policy.
Minister DAUSI has told the National Assembly the country has been losing a substantial amount of money in the recent past due to disaster responses, hence the need to continue implementing resilience programs.
In 2005, SADC established the Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Program, which has helped strengthen vulnerability assessment and analysis systems.
The scheme aims to inform broader approaches to tackling food insecurity including safety nets and social protection in the Sub-SAHARAN-AFRICA Region./Sabanews/cam
LUSAKA – The Government of ZAMBIA has warned its nationals to avoid involvement in efforts to eject CHINESE investors from the country through violent actions.
Justice Minister GIVEN LUBINDA says there is an economic war against CHINA, and it is wrong for nationals of his SADC country to join such a fight.
He has described it as unfortunate that some ZAMBIANS are taking the law in their own hands by attacking the foreigners who have come into the country to invest.
Minister LUBINDA says recent xenophobic attacks on CHINESE nationals are unfortunate, and he has urged citizens to use better means to channel their grievances if they have any.
However, he says ZAMBIA has adequate laws to guarantee the safety of investors, domestic and foreign.
Minister LUBINDA says it is saddening some political leaders are inciting ZAMBIANS to rise against the State decision to engage the CHINESE in some developmental projects.
He has made the statement in the ETHIOPIAN capital, ADDIS ABABA, shortly before going to ROME for 10TH Anniversary of the Campaign against the Death Penalty.
The police have reportedly arrested the opposition UNITED PARTY FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT leader for allegedly encouraging attacks against CHINESE nationals.
Media reports say HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, who last year spent FOUR months in detention for alleged treason, has since been set free.
They quote COPPERBELT Provincial Police Chief CHARITY KATANGA as saying the politician allegedly accused the State of selling a national timber company to the CHINESE.
The official says the statement caused street protests in the SECOND largest city, KITWE, where some CHINESE businesses were looted before the arrest of scores of protesters.
News agencies say anti-CHINESE sentiments in ZAMBIA have increased over lucrative contracts CHINA is securing from the government, which is also borrowing heavily from BEIJING.
Other earlier reports say the ZAMBIAN Mission in CHINA has dismissed a story about a ZAMBIAN student allegedly was brutally beaten and is battling for his life in the ASIAN country.
They say Acting Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary WINNIE CHIBESAKUNDA has trashed the allegations after having contacted the ZAMBIAN Mission in BEIJING.
The developments in ZAMBIA come amid heightening anti-CHINESE propaganda casting CHINESE nationals in bad light following a ruthless global economic war for influence between CHINA and the WEST.
In JULY this year, the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST reported the engagement with AFRICA has fast-tracked over the decades as the CHINA eyes the world’s SECOND largest continent for chances for economic growth and geopolitical influence.
It says the visits by President XI JINPING to SENEGAL, RWANDA, SOUTH AFRICA, and MAURITIUS were his FIRST overseas trips in 2018, aimed to build ties as well as extend CHINESE influence in AFRICA.
CHINESE investments in ZAMBIA range from mining interests in the COPPERBELT to assets in agriculture, manufacturing, as well as tourism; and as of FEBRUARY 2011, CHINESE are running a total of 25 farms in ZAMBIA./Sabanews/cam
SWAKOPMUND – The SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General is this year meeting in NAMIBIA.
The gathering in the NAMIBIAN coastal city of SWAKOPMUND comes amid increasing demand for justice in different social areas within member states and across borders.
NBC News says the delegates aim to implement the regional action plan designed to deal with a host of burning legal matters in the 16-member economic bloc.
It says issues to receive attention at the meeting are money laundering and terrorism funding; child abduction; human trafficking; gender-based violence; other organised crime, as well as regional, mutual legal cooperation.
The Acting Senior Legal Counsel of the Committee, NTHABISENG LIPHAPANG of LESOTHO, says the delegates will come up with recommendations on how to implement such pressing matters.
The official says their proposals will in turn help the SADC Secretariat and member states with a clear direction on the way forward.
Secretariat Legal Matters Chairperson BERDINE FOURIE of SOUTH AFRICA has handed over the chair to in the NAMIBIAN Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary ISSASKAR NDJOZE during the meeting.
Meanwhile, NAMIBIA has been hosting the Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General meeting at a time it is facing serious legal problems regarding the distribution of land in the country.
Most of the cases are linked to the events dating as far back as 1884, when GERMANY colonised the territory; during which the black population lost its homes and became farm labourers for the invaders or simply wondered from ONE place to another.
This week the WINDHOEK High Court has started hearing a case by EIGHT members of the HAI||OM SAN community, the largest and most widely dispersed SAN population in NAMIBIA.
NBC News says the complainants are seeking permission from the judges to apply for a Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of their ethnic community against the Government.
It says they are reclaiming ownership of the land covering the ETOSHA National Park and the MANGETTI WEST area north of TSUMEB Town in OSHIKOTO Region.
The national broadcaster says the majority of the people now live as farm workers, and they are demanding compensation or land measuring the size as the MANGETTI WEST and ETOSHA National Park.
It says the HAI||OM claim their ancestors are the original inhabitants of land of both the ETOSHA NATIONAL Park and MANGETTI WEST, before colonial governments forcefully evicted them without any alternative land to settle on.
There are about SIX-THOUSAND-500 HAI||OM SAN community members scattered across the country, and some TWO-THOUSAND-476 of them have agreed to support the plea to be represented by the EIGHT persons to restore their ancestral land rights.
Researchers say like many other SAN peoples in Southern AFRICA, the HAI||OM were dispossessed, marginalised, and discriminated against by other groups and by the colonial state.
They say the SOUTH WEST AFRICA Administration in 1949, appointed a Commission for the Preservation of the BUSHMEN under a former STELLENBOSCH University Professor, PIETER JOHANNES SCHOEMAN.
Professor SCHOEMAN is reportedly ONE of the architects of apartheid in SOUTH AFRICA, and the final report of his Commission that came out in 1953 ignored the HAI||OM, because he did not see them as authentic BUSHMEN.
Legal commentators say it is high time regional gatherings like the Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General meeting in NAMIBIA come up with practical ways to correct such gross legal imbalances in the SADC countries./Sabanews/cam
VICTORIA – The largest photovoltaic, PV, farm in SEYCHELLES has now completely solar powered the isolated island of ALPHONSE.
SNA quotes a top official of the Islands Development Company as saying the development means people here no longer need diesel fuel to make electricity.
The national news agency says the firm has installed a total of TWO-THOUSAND-220 dual glass high-efficiency solar panels on ZERO-POINT-SEVEN hectares of land: HALF towards the east and the other HALF towards the west, to produce electricity for the whole island.
The project is an initiative of the Islands Development Company as a source of alternative energy to cut costs and reduce the amount of heavy diesel fuel used to power TWO generators.
SNA says the scheme will also help to protect the environment from pollution, quoting Chief Executive Officer GLENNY SAVY as saying it is a real cost efficient plan that will save the ALPHONSE Island a lot of money.
He says they have used only FIVE barrels of fuel to power the standby generators for the past months as compared to FIVE and SEVEN barrels of fuels used every day previously.
Located 400 kilometres south-west of MAHE, the main island, the ALPHONSE atoll is part of the ALPHONSE group including ST FRANCOIS and BIJOUTIER, and the island has a single resort comprising beach bungalows and suites.
The authorities say their Green Energy Project is a combination of solar panels and lithium batteries for storage, covering 90 percent of the island’s energy use.
They say the solar panels produce around 800 kilowatts of electricity per day, more than 50 percent above the normal total power used daily on ALPHONSE.
Mr SAVY says the initiative will not only save money they pay for fuel consumption but also that which is going towards the transportation of the fuel to the island.
He says the Islands Development Company is making a profit by selling the electricity that it is producing, and the money will go towards infrastructure development on the island.
Financed by a SOUTH AFRICAN company METTLE SOLAR INVESTMENTS, the PV farm cost ONE-POINT-FIVE-MILLION US dollars – with the Islands Development Company injecting a total 37-THOUSAND US dollars.
Environment, Energy, and Climate Change Minister WALLACE COSGROW says the project is ONE that other islands, as well as Mahe, which can ONE day be fully powered by renewable energy, can follow.
Besides ALPHONSE, a similar photovoltaic farm will be set on ASTOVE and FARQHUAR islands by MARCH 2019 and the bigger one on DESROCHES island by JULY next year.
SNA says by early 2020, all islands under the management of Islands Development Company will be 90 percent powered by green energy.
The SADC country, a group of 115 islands on the western INDIAN Ocean, relies heavily on imported fossil fuel for power generation and transportation; and only TWO-POINT-FIVE percent of its electricity is from renewable sources.
The national news agency also says the authorities expect the TWO-POINT-FIVE percent to increase to FIVE percent in the coming THREE years, with a number of renewable energy projects.
SEYCHELLES is also planning to install AFRICA’s FIRST utility-scale Floating Solar Photovoltaic system on the lagoon at LE ROCHER, in the district of LES MAMELLES./Sabanews/cam
ANTANANARIVO – MADAGASCAR is likely to see TWO former presidents competing in a possible run-off election next month.
SEYCHELLES News Agency, SNA, quotes other media reports as saying earliest results indicate ANDRY RAJOELINA has clinched 39-POINT-SIX-ONE percent against the 35-POINT-15 percent of MARC RAVALOMANANA.
It says the Independent National Electoral Commission had counted some 84 percent of the ballots in the FIRST round of the vote as of today (THURSDAY).
Former presidents RAJOELINA and RAVALOMANANA are heading for the SECOND round after beating outgoing President HERY RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA, who sits on the THIRD position out of 36 candidates – with EIGHT percent of the vote.
AFP news agency quotes MALAGASY political expert MAHERY LANTO MANANDAFY as saying given the results of the Electoral Commission, the SECOND round is now unavoidable.
The agency says the MALAGASY electoral regulations require the TWO frontrunners to go for a run-off by 19 DECEMBER, if neither manages more than 50 percent in the FIRST round.
However, it quotes yet another political commentator as saying anything is still possible if Mr RAJOELINA and RAVALOMANANA lodge a complaint in the courts.
TOAVINA RALAMBOMAHAY says everyone hopes to be elected in the FIRST round because a SECOND round ballot brings huge campaign costs.
AFP says MADAGASCAR is ONE of the poorest countries in the world, according to World Bank data, with almost FOUR in every FIVE people in the INDIAN Ocean island country living in grinding poverty.
Nevertheless, it says the candidates spent huge sums on flashy campaign rallies, helicopters and giveaways like free T-shirts for supporters; and the THREE leading contenders have accused electoral authorities of fraud and malpractice.
However, the news report does not give any further details about the alleged deception and misconduct by the voting managers.
Meanwhile, the EUROPEAN UNION Observer Mission reportedly has issued a statement saying while candidates committed breaches ahead of the SEVEN NOVEMBER election, the voting process was well organised largely.
Electoral Commission Vice President THIERRY RAKOTONARIVO has dismissed the alleged mismanagement of the process, saying all the results they have published are verifiable.
Both former presidents RAJOELINA and RAVALOMANANA were banned from contesting the last election in 2013 under international pressure, to avoid a repeat of political violence that engulfed MADAGASCAR in 2009.
AFP says Mr RAVALOMANANA, 68, and Mr RAJOELINA, 44, are bitter rivals who are facing each other for the FIRST time at the polls.
It says Mr RAVALOMANANA ruled from 2002 to 2009 until he was ousted in a military-backed coup that installed Mr RAJOELINA, who remained in power up to 2014.
Outgoing President RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA took over until earlier this year when he tried to change the electoral laws, a move that backfired and sparked about THREE months of often-violent demonstrations in the capital, ANTANANARIVO.
AFP says the demonstrators forced him to accept what they termed a consensus government to organise the election in the former FRENCH colony, which is burdened by a long history of coups and unrest.
AFRICAN UNION observers have called on the THREE leading presidential candidates in MADAGASCAR to show restraint and respect the law./Sabanews/cam
LUSAKA – President EDGAR LUNGU of ZAMBIA has called on agricultural producers in his country to adopt good farming practices in the wake of erratic rainfall patterns.
He says communities should take up conservation farming and other modern forms of production to help mitigate the effects of Climate Change.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation says Conservation agriculture involves resource-saving, crop production that achieves acceptable profits.
The concept further promotes high and sustained production levels, while at the same time protecting the environment.
President LUNGA says shifting weather patterns have seen the northern HALF of the SADC country receive favourable downpours, while the south is experiencing erratic rains.
ZNBC News says he has launched the 2018 to 2019 Planting Season in the MWINILUNGA District of the NORTH WESTERN Province, pledging to accelerate development of the agriculture sector in area.
It quotes the Head of State as saying the region is blessed with rich soils as well as abundant rains, and the government wants to exploit the situation for the benefit of the whole country.
President LUNGA says his vision is to transform the NORTH WESTERN Province into the national food basket, calling on residents to use the good natural resources and the favourable rainfall patterns to increase agricultural production.
He also says traditional leaders should embrace both domestic and foreign investors who may be interested in funding agricultural production.
Comments by the ZAMBIAN Leader come amid reports saying most of the SADC Region is likely to receive normal to below-normal rains between OCTOBER and DECEMBER, with above normal rainfall over the northern HALF of TANZANIA.
The SADC Secretariat says JANUARY to MARCH 2019 period will witness normal to below normal rainfall for most of the 16-member economic bloc.
It says Northern ANGOLA, Central DRC, South-western TANZANIA, Northern MALAWI, and the islands states of COMOROS, MAURITIUS, Eastern MADAGASCAR and SEYCHELLES are likely to receive normal to above normal rainfall throughout.
Mean temperatures will be normal to above normal for most of the 2018 to 2019 season over the entire SADC Region, except for North-eastern DRC, North-western TANZANIA, Southern MOZAMBIQUE.
Other SADC countries likely to have above normal temperatures are ESWATINI, Central and Eastern SOUTH AFRICA, Northern LESOTHO, South-west of BOTSWANA, Southern NAMIBIA, and North-western SOUTH AFRICA.
Climate Change, resulting from the warming up of the globe due to the depletion of the ozone layer (a thin blanket protecting the EARTH from the direct rays of the SUN) through gaseous pollution, has not spared Sub-SAHARAN AFRICA./Sabanews/cam