SABANews was first set up as a joint venture of SABA and the Inter Press Service Africa Desk in Harare, assisted with funds by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in the initial phase, as well as equipment provided by IPS.
The editorial/coordinating centre was staffed by a Senior Editor, and Assistant Editor as well as one other Editor from a member station, attached for six weeks each.
The SABANews bulletins consisted of stories provided by newsrooms of member stations and
originated by the editorial centre itself.
The editorial centre worked from Monday to Saturday noon – in addition it is on standby for urgent stories which break overnight or over the weekend.
Each day, before 0930 hrs Zimbabwean time, each participating radio station faxed to the editorial centre items of regional interest and/or major importance for inclusion in the First Edition of SABANews, which was transmitted to the member stations between 1100 hrs and 1130 hrs for inclusion in their mid-day bulletins.
All material for the Second Edition reached Harare by 1530 hrs, and was distributed between 1630 hrs and 1700 hrs.
Every member station provided at least two stories for each edition. In addition the centre would welcome clippings of major stories from newspapers.
Stories included, apart from the major news events of the day, political, economic, social, developmental items, as well as information on sports, environment, health, culture and gender issues, etc.
Human interest stories were high on the agenda.
To speed up delivery to the centre stories were faxed as they were and the centre would edit them for regional consumption.
All newsrooms involved were responsible for following up news stories as and when required.
SABANews suspended operations from 2002-13 after the operating partner, IPS, relocated to South Africa. The SABA General Assembly decided in 2011 to revive the project, which happened in October 2013.
This time the news agency was hosted by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Centre, ZBC.
Less than two years after its revival, SABANews relaunched the actualities/current affairs version of the project, SADC Calling, also a reap and use service.
Apart from the two schemes, SABANews is also charged with the training of staffers from the SABA member stations in different areas of both radio and television broadcasting.
HARARE – President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA of SOUTH AFRICA has added his voice to the call for Western powers to lift economic sanctions they imposed on ZIMBABWE about 20 years ago.
Media reports say he has spoken on the side-lines of a meeting of the International Labour Organisation ahead of the just ended World Economic Forum in the SWISS resort town of DAVOS.
President RAMAPHOSA says ZIMBABWE has managed to hold successful general elections after emerging from a very difficult political situation.
However, he says BRITAIN, the EUROPEAN UNION and AMERICA maintain their embargo on the SADC country, chocking all government efforts to revive the battered economy it inherited.
The SOUTH AFRICAN Leader says his country is among the others calling on the world to relax or lift the illegal sanctions altogether, to enable ZIMBABWE to enjoy the economic fruits it is capable to produce.
President RAMAPHOSA says the global community can help the new administration, which is only about SIX months old in office, to correct the unpalatable fiscal situation if the rich countries remove the restrictions currently in place.
However, the sanctions against ZIMBABWE will be difficult to understand unless people get a clear picture of their major reason – which is a Western retaliation to land repossessions the country carried out in 2000 and onwards.
Victims of the massive agrarian reforms are mostly of BRITISH origin, who had hitherto enjoyed lavish lives, generation after generation, for some 110 years.
BRITAIN had sponsored the BRITISH SOUTH AFRICA COMPANY of CECIL JOHN RHODES in 1890, when some 500 white traders and armed thugs crossed the LIMPOPO River to capture the territory stretching to the ZAMBEZI River in the north.
The Company displaced all the indigenous black communities from their homes and crowded them into labour reserves where they had to irk a living by tilling rocky fields or by working for wages on their former land, now in the hands of the invaders.
Former dictator ROBERT MUGABE, ONE of the few AFRICANS to be knighted by the BRITISH Empire at BUCKINGHAM Palace, had dilly-dallied with the resettlement issue for 20 years since independence, protecting white commercial farmers.
Efforts at the end of the 20TH Century to replace the ceasefire agreement then governing the country with a national constitution met with stiff resistance from the farmers, since the proposed law would allow the State to take over their land for black occupation.
The farmers sponsored a group of labour leaders to form the opposition MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE, allegedly with the help of AMERICAN and BRITISH agents, and managed to secure a NO vote in the ballot.
After Mr MUGABE accepted the results, former liberation war fighters in the south-eastern region led a fierce mass movement onto the commercial farms and launched what became known as Hondo ye Minda (War for Farmlands), which later spread countrywide.
The government failed to contain the new revolution and decided to go along with the protestors, a move that BRITAIN immediately described as an abandonment of the rule of law – and it campaigned, successfully, for the global isolation of its former colony.
The UNITED STATES was the harshest super power in response to the appeal, as it went to the extent of coming up with a law – the infamous ZIMBABWE Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, ZIDERA of 2001 – which literary bars trade with ZIMBABWE.
The actions of the powerful nations have seen industry closing down, the national currency disappearing and being replaced by a multi-currency regime, massive unemployment, rise of political unrest, infrastructure falling apart, and poverty levels worsening daily.
The call by the SOUTH AFRICAN President for them to lift the sanctions comes amid opposition calls back in SOUTH AFRICA calling on him to reprimand the ZIMBABWEAN Leader for what they describe as human rights violations.
The DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE reportedly has threatened to approach the International Criminal Court if he fails to intervene directly to stop the ongoing alleged violations by the government of ZIMBABWE.
Media reports say the group has called on President RAMAPHOSA to re-think about what it calls his quiet diplomacy and advise the neighbouring Head of State to stop the military clampdown allegedly on civilians.
The DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE says it strongly believes the human rights crisis currently obtaining in ZIMBABWE is of sufficient gravity to justify a probe by the International Criminal Court.
Its Shadow Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, STEVEN MOKGALAPA, quotes the ZIMBABWE Human Rights NGO Forum as claiming at least 12 people have been killed, 78 shot, and 240 others exposed to assault, torture, plus cruel and shameful treatment.
The ZIMBABWEAN Government, which insists sanctions are its major problem, has denounced the violence; saying everyone in the country has the right to protest, but they should do so lawfully and peacefully./Sabanews/cam
VICTORIA – State officials and civil members in SEYCHELLES have acquired more skills to enable them to negotiate successfully for support in Climate Change matters globally.
The national news agency, SNA, says they have attended a training course covering areas aimed to better equip them for times when they take part in international meetings.
SEYCHELLES’ Permanent Representative to the UNITED NATIONS, RONNY JUMEAU, says the impact of Climate Change is becoming more obvious on the western INDIAN archipelago.
As a small country, SEYCHELLES continuously needs support and has to make its voice heard internationally.
Mr JUMEAU says the task requires people dealing with issues of Climate Change to be skilled in a variety of areas such as advocacy and negotiation.
He says ONE vital factor such negotiators need to take into account when they attend global Climate Change meetings is how to get access to financing.
SEYCHELLES has become a high-income country now, which makes it more difficult to get access to financial support for local Climate Change Adaptation projects.
Climate Change Adaptation is a response to global warming effects like hurricanes, droughts, floods, and other disasters such as disease outbreaks; and it aims to reduce the vulnerability of social and biological systems to the relatively sudden changes.
Island nations also under threat from rising sea levels (Pic. UNDP)Mr JUMEAU says because of the status of a high-income country, which makes potential funders reluctant to open their wallets, negotiators need to be skilful and know what they are talking about to lure the donors.
His comments come as Climate Change is adversely affecting the economic development of SEYCHELLES, and impacting directly on the livelihoods of the islanders; and access to funds is vital to the survival of the island country.
SNA says the workshop comes right after the GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE ALLIANCE PLUS INITIATIVE has completed a Capacity Needs Assessment recently.
The national news agency says participants in the program have identified the need for strengthening the knowledge and skills of SEYCHELLOIS Climate Change negotiators.
Project Facilitator ANGELIQUE POUPONNEAU says SEYCHELLOIS negotiators have been eager to know about Climate Change Diplomacy; and how to engage in discussions on the subject.
Some delegates to the workshop have already been to the UNITED NATIONS Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties, and others scheduled to take part in the next meeting wanted to be better prepared.
Ms POUPONNEAU also says after attending the EUROPEAN UNION funded training, they now have basic skills to engage in negotiations on the global arena.
ONE of the delegates, Senior Policy Analyst ELISSA LALANDE, has described the workshop as very enriching, saying she is now ready to represent the country at any international meeting on the subject.
Researchers say the SEYCHELLES, being a small island state, with small land areas, high population densities on the coast, and a sensitive economy, is among regions of the world that will suffer the worst effects of Climate Change impacts./Sabanews/cam
HARARE – The authorities in NAMIBIA seem to be nursing a potentially volatile situation by delaying the long awaited equitable distribution of land to suffering citizens.
Like all the surrounding sister nations in the SADC Region, the former GERMAN colony lost millions of its people during colonisation and throughout the liberation war – all in the name of self-determination.
This process, by which a country clarifies its own statehood and forms its own government, cannot end until the people access the primary means of production – which in this case is land.
Thus, the major grievance that forced thousands of young men and women to leave their homes to join the liberation struggle was land; but 29 years after independence, the issue remains unresolved.
Thousands of NAMIBIANS have been without proper homes for generations and have been patient all along, but some are becoming more and more agitated under the situation.
More than 100 residents of OTJIWARONGO, a city of 28-THOUSAND inhabitants in the OTJOZONDJUPA Region, have recently invaded idle land at the new OMBILI informal settlement of the municipality.
NBC News says the people descended on the area with rakes, shovels, axes and hoes; started clearing and demarcating the land, before the police and municipal authorities and politicians stopped them.
The officials included OTJIWARONGO Mayor BENNES HAIMBONDI, Management Committee Chairperson HILDA JESAJA, and ruling SWAPO Party OTJOZONDJUPA Regional Co-ordinator SUSAN HIKOPUA.
The broadcaster says the residents have told the news agency, NAMPA, they have taken matters into their own hands because the town council rejects their applications for land, charges them exorbitant prices, and councillors give no priority to land delivery.
NBC News says Mayor HAIMBONDI has asked the group to write down their names and allow the municipality to verify them in its database, to see if they had not yet been given land already, as well as whether or not they are listed as new applicants for land.
It says he called for patience, emphasising the town council will service about FOUR-THOUSAND plots in the invaded area; although the total number of the needy is not clear yet.
The aggrieved residents have agreed to write down their names, but they have also called on the municipality to speed up the exercise of servicing land at the OMBILI informal settlement.
Records show land reform, which has been a vital political and economic topic in NAMIBIA, comprises TWO different strategies: resettlement, and transfer of commercially viable agricultural land.
They say resettlement aims to improve the lives of displaced or dispossessed previously disadvantaged NAMIBIANS.
The farms the government obtains for resettlement are usually in a number of sections, with scores of families resettling on what had previously been ONE farm.
Commercial farms transfer is not directly under State control, since aspiring farmers with a previously disadvantaged background obtain the properties privately or through affirmative action loans – both under the notorious Willing-Buyer, Willing Seller principle.
NAMIBIA has about FOUR-THOUSAND commercial farms, with about ONE-THOUSAND of them now in the hands of previously disadvantaged nationals since independence in 1990./Sabanews/cam
HARARE – The authorities in ZIMBABWE say they have deployed security forces to ensure public safety following threats of another round of violent opposition protests in the country.
The announcement comes from Home Affairs Minister CAIN MATHEMA and Information Minister MONICA MUTSVANGWA, after angry demonstrators shut down most major cities and towns for the whole of last week.
The ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS this month teamed up with social groups like the TAJAMUKA and the #THISFLAG to organise nationwide labour protests to pressure the government.
Their move comes amid worsening economic conditions that have seen prices of most basic goods rising to out of the reach of the majority, although incomes have remained stagnant and unemployment remains high.
However, what was supposed to have been a peaceful work stoppage for THREE days to force the State to solve the worsening economic situation in the country turned very violent, with mobs blocking roads with large rocks and burning tyres.
The government has blamed the opposition MDC ALLIANCE, which it claims is working with the labour movement and the other groups – with sponsorship from Western powers – to force a regime change in the SADC nation.
Alliance Leader NELSON CHAMISA has dismissed the accusation, saying the demos are a result of mismanagement by the authorities and the announcement of fuel prices increases by the Head of State.
Mr CHAMISA claims the soldiers who the State deployed shot and killed more innocent civilians than the SIX victims of the AUGUST 2018 post-election violence his supporters provoked in the capital, HARARE.
He has told mourners at the funeral of ONE victim of the violence in the corridor city of CHITUNGWIZA his party is going to engage regional and continental authorities, as well as the UNITED NATIONS, for intervention.
THE HERALD says Home Affairs Minister MATHEMA and Information Minister MUTSVANGWA have pledged the government will deal firmly with lawbreakers focussed on property destruction and loss of life.
The State run newspaper says the Cabinet message comes after the alliance of political parties under the MDC flag, the trade unions’ federation and the social groups have threatened to carry out continuous violent demonstrations – beginning today, MONDAY.
It quotes ONE of the suspected organisers of the disturbances of last week, an official of the #TAJAMUKA outfit, as saying he has gone into hiding but is planning more protests.
PROMISE MKWANANZI allegedly says his team is mapping out their next move to force President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, currently hunting for capital in EURASIA, to solve the national economic issues and remove bond notes.
Nevertheless, Information Minister MUTSVANGWA says the protests are not actions of demonstrations but machinations by people who are pushing for a violent regime change in the country.
She says the people who destroyed the property worth more than 300-MILLION US dollars across the country are hooligans, some of whom are in custody and face heavy punishment if convicted.
Minister MUTSVANGWA says there is what she calls a THIRD force in the operations, in which mobs reportedly set fire to more than 30 cars and buses, destroyed and looted shops, clinics, private homes, and even police stations across the country.
The authorities have since arrested more than 700 suspects, among them the leader of the #THISFLAG, EVAN MAWARIRE, for their alleged involvement in the violence and they are still looking for others.
They say they have also established security checkpoints to search people who may attempt to move their loot to rural areas, amid reports saying some of the suspects are dumping the stolen goods wherever they can in order to avoid arrest.
Meanwhile, there are reports saying the violence of last week also involved members of a notorious group that has terrorised people every election time in the western HARARE suburbs of WARREN PARK ONE and D as well as other surrounding areas.
Its leader, only named as VOYAGE, allegedly a well-known youth leader of the ruling ZANU PF, which has since disowned him, has reportedly been arrested after commanding teams that attacked residents with machetes, iron bars and an assortment of other weapons.
The groups, using unmarked FOUR-wheel-drive vehicles with no number plates, would pounce on anyone, beat them up brutally, grab phones, as well as smashing windows of parked motor vehicles and houses as they went.
Calm only written to WARREN PARK after armed police officers and soldiers deployed to clear the roads and hunt down the gangsters.
President MNANGAGWA says he has cancelled his trip to DAVOS, SWITZERLAND where he was due to attend the 2019 World Economic Forum so he can attend to the situation back home.
The ZIMBABWEAN Leader has made the statement from ASTANA in KAZAKHSTAN, describing his tour of RUSSIA, BELARUS, AZERBAIJAN and KAZAKHSTAN as fruitful./Sabanews/cam
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