RIGHTS GROUP CALLS FOR JUSTICE FOR JOURNALIST

SWAZILAND: JUSTICE/NEWS 24/12/7/18 SABANews 1

Lesotho Times Editor Lloyd Mutungamiri (Pic. Lesotho Times)

MASERU – AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has called on authorities in LESOTHO to prove their commitment to press freedom by resolving the case of a prominent journalist, LLOYD MUTUNGAMIRI.

NEWS 24 says the ZIMBABWEAN born Editor of the LESOTHO TIMES newspaper is still awaiting justice TWO years after a shooting incident that nearly killed him.

The online publication says Mr MUTUNGAMIRI remained fighting for his life after a failed assassination attempt by suspected members of the military in 2016 at his house in the capital, MASERU.

It also quotes the AFRICAN INDEPENDENT as saying the journalist was shot on the drive way of his home as he was about to drive to work.

AMNESTY says he suffered the near-fatal gunshot wounds after his publication of an article alleging outgoing Defence Force Lieutenant General TLALI KAMOLI was to get an exit package of about THREE-MILLION-500-THOUSAND US dollars.

It says FIVE members of the military arrested and charged with attempted murder on 29 NOVEMBER 2017 appeared in court for the FIRST hearing on 13 DECEMBER, but the trial has never taken place again.

The rights group says Mr MUTUNGAMIRI has never recovered fully after the shooting and he needs medication, which has left him with excessive hospital bills; especially now when he is not able to return to work.

Members of Lesotho Armed Forces (Pic. AfricaNews)

AMNESTY Southern AFRICA Regional Director MULEYA MWANANYANDA says the fact that the case is still open, with no clear dates set to resolve it in court, means he is denied the chance for closure.

He says after TWO long years, the journalist and his family deserve justice now, because the delay by the LESOTHO Government to bring Mr MUTUNGAMIRI’s attackers to justice, through a fair, independent, and impartial trial, is an insult to press freedom.

The rights campaigner says the trial of the soldiers suspected of trying to do the killing should send a clear message that targeting journalists is not tolerated in LESOTHO, but the current state of affairs shows a culture of impunity prevails./Sabanews/cam

DOUBLE TROIKA HAPPY WITH SITUATION IN DRC AND LESOTHO

SADC: STABILITY/ANGOP/24/4/18 SABANews 1

Angolan President Joao Lourenco, SADC Double Troika Chair

LUANDA – The SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY, SADC Double Troika Summit of the Heads of State and Government has commended events in troubled countries of the region.

President JOAO LOURENCO of ANGOLA, who heads the Double Troika, says he believes the steps taken in the DRC and LESOTHO can contribute to political confidence and stability of the TWO countries.

He has addressed delegates to the gathering held this TUESDAY in his capital, LUANDA, commending the move by DRC President JOSEPH KABILA to implement key aspects like scheduling the date for elections to 23 DECEMBER this year.

President LOURENCO says such actions are signs that may contribute to the urgent easing of internal tensions, to strengthen mutual trust between the government, the opposition, and civil society.

He has appealed to the parties involved in the process to show wisdom, patriotism, and maximum restraint in the most critical moments, looking FIRST at national interests.

The new climate, he says, will help tackle differences and ensure convergence that paves way for peace, security, stability, and national reconciliation.

However, President LOURENCO has expressed concern about the situation in Eastern DRC, where rebel groups like the DEMOCRATIC FORCES ALLIANCE continue to kill women and children.

Nevertheless, he says the SADC Double Troika welcomes the efforts made by the local active forces in the situation in LESOTHO for the full political stability of the Kingdom.

President LOURENCO says ANGOLA has a deep sense of duty as part of the military contingent of the regional group tasked to ensure the political and military stability of LESOTHO under the UN and the AU.

The SADC Double Troika Summit of the Heads of State and Government aims to seek peaceful ways to help the DRC and LESOTHO overcome their political and social crises as well as consolidate democratic processes in the Region.

ANGOLA chairs the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation; while ZAMBIA is the incoming Chair; and TANZANIA is the outgoing Chair of the Organ responsible for promoting peace and security in the SADC Region.

SOUTH AFRICA Chairs the SADC Bloc, with NAMIBIA as the Deputy Chair and SWAZILAND as the out-going Chair, while representatives of the DRC and LESOTHO have attended the LUANDA Summit as guests./Sabanews/cam

RITUAL KILLER GETS FOUR LIFE-IN-JAIL SENTENCES

SOUTH AFRICA: MURDER/SABC/27/3/18 SABANews 1
Image by SABC News
PIETERMARITZBURG – The High Court of SOUTH AFRICA in PIETERMARITZBURG City has handed down FOUR life-in-jail sentences to a man who brutally killed FOUR young children last year.
 
SABC News says BEN MBHELE (32) teamed up with another unnamed men and went to the home of his sister, S’LINDILE MBHELE, the mother of the kids he then slaughtered in cold blood.
 
It says S’LINDILE had visited friends and left the children, aged between FOUR and 12, watching television at home in KWA-NZIMAKWE in the coastal province of KWA-ZULU NATAL.
 
MBHELE and his accomplice stabbed their victims to death and cut off their ears, which later turned out to have been destined for a witchdoctor in the city of DURBAN.
 
The Court has established the motive for the killing was financial gain, as the killer-uncle had taken out insurance with a number of companies on all the FOUR children he murdered.
 
Meanwhile, research shows while the murder of people for their body parts is a crime in any country of the world; the practices continue in Sub-SAHARAN AFRICA in the 21ST Century.
 
Ritual killer confesses to Nigerian Police after arrest

In the SADC Region, such cases in which criminals kill human beings to remove body parts for use as medicine or for magical purposes in witchcraft are widespread.

 
While most reports are about targets of people with albinism in countries like MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, SWAZILAND, SOUTH AFRICA, and TANZANIA it is also emerging that no one is safe elsewhere in the region.
 
Authorities agree such murders occur and sometimes go unreported in BOTSWANA, LESOTHO, MOZAMBIQUE, SOUTH AFRICA, SWAZILAND, ZAMBIA, and ZIMBABWE.
 
Nevertheless, SADC currently has no publicly known regional position or legislation to fight against the practitioners of the common ritual killings, which individual nations have to face alone./Sabanews/cam

POLICE DISCOVER AND SEIZE DIFFERENT COOKED HUMAN BODY PARTS

ZAMBIA: RITUALS/ZNBC/1/3/18 SABANews 1

Zambian Police launch war against ritual killers

LUSAKA – Police in ZAMBIA have seized an undisclosed amount of cooked human hearts and livers, as well as other uncooked body parts, during investigations into ritual killings in the country.

Home Affairs Minister STEPHEN KAMPYONGO says the team has managed to carry out the job while working with ONE person suspected to be the mastermind.

He has told the National Assembly in the capital, LUSAKA, the authorities have since submitted the recovered parts to the forensic laboratory for professional examination.

Minister KAMPYONGO says they suspect some neighbours of the accused person are likely to have eaten the human flesh without knowing.

He says the investigations are still ongoing and the suspect is scheduled to appear in court soon, while the police have intensified security measures to curb the spate of ritual murders.

Minister KAMPYONGO says such killings are a result of false beliefs promoted by some traditional herbalists who claim use of human meat can help people accumulate wealth.

He has called on communities to help bring the culprits to book, although members of the public should avoid taking the law into their own hands.

The ZAMBIAN Cabinet member says his country has recorded SEVEN suspected ritual killings of men between the age of 25 and 40 since 21 OCTOBER last year.

Nigerian ritual killer (Pic. Agencies)

Researchers say ritual killings and human sacrifice take place in almost all AFRICAN countries, with cases reported in BOTSWANA, LESOTHO, SOUTH AFRICA, SWAZILAND, ZAMBIA and ZIMBABWE.

They say ZAMBIA has recorded cases in which human heads were found in ASIAN-owned shops, while some politicians in SWAZILAND allegedly commission ritual killings so they can win elections.

The numbers of ritual murders is quite scary, as the bodies of victims are mutilated and certain parts go missing; and in SOUTH AFRICA body parts can be sold for as little as THREE-THOUSAND rand (about 230 US dollars)./Sabanews/cam

ZAMBIA PROPOSES COOPERATION IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY

SADC: ENERGY/ZNBC/1/3/18 SABANews 1

Africa shaking off the Dark-Continent label

LIVINGSTONE – ZAMBIA has called on the SADC countries to ensure cooperation between TWO major forums in the region if the economic bloc is achieve success in its energy programs.

ZAMBIAN Energy Minister MATTHEW NKHUWA says the Southern AFRICAN Power Pool, SAPP, and the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency should work together.

ZNBC News says he has made the call in a speech read on his behalf by SOUTHERN PROVINCE Minister EDIFY HAMUKALE, at the 50TH SAPP Management Committee Meeting in LIVINGSTONE Town.

It quotes Minister NKHUWA as saying energy efficiency and renewable energy are areas that SADC values.

However, he says the region depends heavily on hydro generated power that leaves it exposed to inconsistent supply of electricity due to Climate Change effects.

The Managing Director of the ZAMBIA Electricity Supply Company says his country now has a national Grid Code, which enables it to offer choice of supply for customers and ensure competition among producers.

VICTOR MUNDENDE says most domestic private enterprises continue to take part in the electricity supply industry through power purchase agreements or power supply agreements with his institution.

COPPERBELT Energy Corporation Managing Director OWEN SILAVWE has also attended the 50TH SAPP Management Committee Meeting, and has pledged his firm’s commitment to help increase electricity generation capacity in the country.

The SADC Summit held in AUGUST 1995 in SOUTH AFRICA created SAPP, after member governments, excluding MAURITIUS, signed a deal to form the Power Pool.

Energy ministers also approved the formation of the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and decided it would be hosted by NAMIBIA./Sabanews/cam

FAMILY SEARCHES MISSING 27-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MOM AND BABY

SOUTH AFRICA: MISSING/SABC/15/2/18 SABANews 1

Sandiswa Sali and baby Luminathi

JOHANNESBURG – The family of a 27-year-old, SOUTH AFRICAN single mother who disappeared ONE week ago with her one-year-old baby are appealing for help from members of the public.

SANDISWA SALI left her home in MIDRAND, JOHANNESBURG, on FRIDAY, the NINTH of this month and never returned up to now; causing relatives to lose hope after desperate, relentless searching.

Her Uncle CHUMILE SALI says he is pleading with SOUTH AFRICANS to help with any information, because the anxiety over the whereabouts of SANDISWA has taken a toll on the family.

He says they are stressed – not sure, if they will find her alive, and even ignorant of what’s happening to her and the toddler. Nonetheless, they are determined to find her and the baby.

Meanwhile, their major concern is that SANDISWA migrated last year from UITENHAGE Area in the EASTERN CAPE Province.

She is not familiar with the commercial capital, since she only moved with her daughter LUMINATHI from UITENHAGE to MIDRAND in OCTOBER 2017; hoping to start a new life and pursue her dream to complete her studies and make a better life.

Her Uncle SALI says they have checked with people in UITENHAGE, in the EASTERN CAPE, but she is not there. They have even phoned the father of the baby, who also says he has had no contact with SANDISWA.

Ms SALI reportedly carried off baby LUMINATHI and took a local taxi heading for the BOULDERS Shopping Mall in MIDRAND, but she carried none of her personal effects – including her cell phone.

She never returned. Yet she had left no message nor to signal she might not come back.

Uncle SALI says they tried to ask around at the shopping complex, and ONE security guard only said he had spotted her outside the mall around SEVEN FRIDAY evening.

He told them she and the baby looked fine at the time he saw them, and he did not suspect anything bad. They have seen the CCTV footage showing Ms SALI and baby LUMINATHI on NINE FEBRUARY at BOULDERS Shopping Mall in MIDRAND.

The family spokesperson says they are thankful to the SOUTH AFRICAN Police, who have been actively searching for SANDISWA since her disappearance.

Moreover, they plead to fellow citizens in the MIDRAND, DIEPSLOOP, and TEMBISA areas who have seen the young, 27-years-old, light-skinned woman with her ONE-year-old baby to call the police at MIDRAND, or any nearest police station.

SABC News has also posted online saying: Have you seen SANDISWA SALI? Help SALI’s family and contact the MIDRAND Police Station with any information that could lead to her safe return: Detective MAKWELA on (+27)(0)113471626 or  (+27)(0)0827835709.

Women are often the major targets of trafficking (Pic. nydailynews.com)

The MIDRAND woman has gone missing amid increased reports of kidnappings as well as human trafficking of children and women in a number of SADC countries, including SOUTH AFRICA. Authorities admit they cannot fight the increasingly problem alone.

ELIZE DELPORT of the MHLAVA Consulting Services of SOUTH AFRICA in 2007 came up with the Paper, based on a UNESCO study – Human Trafficking, Especially of Women and Children in Southern AFRICA: Root Causes and Policy Recommendations.

Even small girls are not spared

The Policy Paper covers the SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN countries of LESOTHO, MOZAMBIQUE and SOUTH AFRICA.

It says trafficking in human beings, especially women and girls, is historical, and has taken many forms, although in the context of globalization it has acquired shocking new dimensions.

The researchers say the problem is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon involving multiple stakeholders at the institutional and commercial level; a demand-driven global business with a huge market for cheap labour and commercial sex./Sabanews/cam

CONTINENT HEADING TOWARDS CHEAPER AIR TRAVEL

AFRICA: TRANSPORT/SABC/31/1/18 SABANews 1

Towards cheaper air travel on the Continent

ADDIS ABABA – At least 23 AFRICAN countries have signed an agreement to set up the Single AFRICAN Air Transport Market, SAATM, with the aim to reduce air travel costs.

SOUTH AFRICAN SABC News says the move comes after people of the Continent have, for years, paid sky-high airfares when travelling within AFRICA.

It says the AFRICAN UNION has launched the major aviation trade agreement to change the situation, by allowing the airlines of signatory countries to access each other’s airports freely.

AU Chairperson, President PAUL KAGAME of RWANDA, has revealed the move at the launch of SAATM on the sidelines of the recent AU Summit in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.

He says the market is vital for the overall development of the continent, where international air links between many cities are expensive or non-existent.

SABC News also quotes a 2010 World Bank study as saying air travel between AFRICAN countries has for years, been governed by a relatively small number of bilateral agreements.

The report says the situation has been a legacy of the post-colonial era when air carriers from newly independent states connected chiefly with their former colonial powers.

It says many AFRICAN countries restrict their air services markets to protect the shares of national carriers, but the new deal hopes to reduce airfares and increase the number of direct air connections.

The SOUTH AFRICAN Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation has told the media companies can now freely access all countries in the single market, without relying anymore on bilateral agreements, whether they exist or not.

Current members of the SAATM are BENIN, BOTSWANA, BURKINA FASO, CAPE VERDE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO, IVORY COAST, EGYPT, ETHIOPIA, and GABON.

Others are GHANA, GUINEA, KENYA, LIBERIA, MALI, MOZAMBIQUE, NIGER, NIGERIA, RWANDA, SIERRA LEONE, SOUTH AFRICA, SWAZILAND, TOGO, and ZIMBABWE.

Nevertheless, SABC News says the group is hosting some of the continent’s busiest airports, including JOHANNESBURG, CAPE TOWN, CAIRO, LAGOS, and NAIROBI.

The new single air travel market comes as a priority of the AU Agenda 2063 for a peaceful and prosperous AFRICA, and the AU Chairperson says work is ongoing to apply TWO other planks of the Blueprint: a free trade zone and a single AFRICAN passport./Sabanews/cam

GOVERNMENTS ENCOURAGED TO IMPROVE DATA SHARING ON WEATHER

SADC: DISASTERS/SABANEWS/24/1/18 SABANews 1
When disaster strikes, women and children suffer most
HARARE – Governments in the SADC Region have been urged to improve on information sharing to ensure communities are evacuated on time when weather-related disasters strike.
 
The Southern AFRICAN Research and Documentation Centre, SARDC, says people expect increased moisture to improve cropping, but floods can destroy crops and disturb food security.
 
It says excessive rainfall may also increase the incidences of malaria and water-borne diseases in the region as well as the possibility of damage to infrastructure due to flooding.
 
SARDC says ONE of the challenges still affecting SADC member states is the lack of current and reliable data on possible weather scenarios, resulting in many people getting killed or becoming homeless.
 
It says there is also need to retrofit, or to add new technology or features to, public infrastructure such as schools – as they act as both centres of learning and as sanctuaries in cases of emergencies such as floods.
 
The Centre says River Basin Organisations, like the ZAMBEZI WATERCOURSE COMMISSION, ZAMCOM, are making efforts to improve the sharing of information on water flow and climate conditions.
 
ZAMCOM is in the process of strengthening information sharing in the EIGHT Basin States: ANGOLA, BOTSWANA, MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, TANZANIA, ZAMBIA and ZIMBABWE.
 
The involved nations share the data through the ZAMBEZI Water Resources Information System Enhancement THREE: Hydro-meteorological Database and Decision Support System, or ZAMWIS-DSS.
 
The SARDC says the main objective of the ZAMWIS-DSS is to support the promotion and coordination of the management and development of resources of the ZAMBEZI Watercourse in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner.
 
Authorities expect that once the system is completed, riparian states will be able to respond better to flood hazards in the future; and the region is taking another measure to set up village-based response systems to respond to floods.
 
The alert system includes the use of traditional knowledge systems in raising awareness through civic education, like, for example, the appearance of large populations of ants will indicate occurrence of floods.
 
Weather and other experts say floods may present opportunities to the SADC Region if countries start prioritizing water harvesting projects to harness rains and use the water for agricultural purposes in future, especially during drought years./Sabanews/cam

AU CONSULTS REGIONAL PARTNERS ON COMMON POSITION TO END TB

AFRICA: TB/SABANEWS/7/11/17 SABANews 1
JOHANNESBURG – The AU Partnership and Coordination Forum on AIDS, TB and Malaria has reviewed the draft Common AFRICA Position on TB for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting in 2018.
 
A statement from the continental group says the Draft Common Position on TB was last month reviewed by the Ministry of Health TB Program Managers in HARARE, ZIMBABWE.
 
It says the document focuses on SIX pillars: leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability; universal and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
 
Others are access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies; research and innovation; health financing and strategic information; promoting leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability.
 
The draft calls for sustained political commitment and for increased leadership, ownership, integration, governance and management of TB programs to promote accountability.
 
It further calls on governments to intensify TB responses through working with AFRICAN leaders as champions, cross-sector partnerships, increased oversight and accountability, improved monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
 
The AU says while recognising structural and operational barriers to achieve universal access, the draft calls for Member States to scale up TB programs to reach, find, treat and cure all people with the killer disease.
 
It also calls for Multi Drug Resistant TB to be declared a global emergency and health security threat, to ensure it can be addressed properly in most affected countries.
 
The draft calls for access to TB services in congested settings, high risk areas like prisons, mines and areas affected by conflict and humanitarian emergencies, to help guarantee no one is left behind.
 
The Common AFRICA Position calls for governments to pursue new innovations and ensure access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies for TB.
 
The draft says governments should strengthen ties with research institutions to enhance innovation and evidence-informed policies and programs as well as increased investments in research and innovation.
 
AFRICA will also push for increased domestic and international funding to health through innovative financing mechanisms, social health insurance schemes and increased allocations at various levels.
 
The Common AFRICA Position also calls for improved data to inform policy and programs for TB, while the AU Commission has lined up various consultation conferences ahead of the UN meeting.
 
TB is spread through the air from person to person, when a patient coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings; and people nearby may breathe in the bacteria and become infected./Sabanews/cam

GOVERNMENT DISMISSES RUMOURS OF PM ILLNESS

LESOTHO: GOVERNANCE/LENA/27/10/17 SABANews 1

MASERU – The LESOTHO Government has dismissed as false information alleging Prime Minister THOMAS THABANE has been in poor health, saying he is alive and healthy – with no signs of illness.

The Press Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office says the allegations are just propaganda by opposition parties to discredit the Premier.

THABO THAKALEKOALA says Prime Minister THABANE has been attending the Universal Exposition 2020 in DUBAI, the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.

In another development, the Deputy Prime Minister has told delegates to a Cabinet Retreat in the capital, MASERU, creation of jobs, especially the youth, should be at the heart of government plans.

MONYANE MOLELEKI says the past has been painful for the nation – as it was marked by political instability, unemployment, and human harassment, which led to the current economic fragility.

He says the authorities should be determined to make a positive difference as challenges that also include insecurity and polarisation in politics left many BASOTHO vulnerable.

Deputy Prime Minister MOLELEKI says the Cabinet Retreat shows ministers are determined to achieve a peaceful environment for all.

He says a well-planned budget will allow the country to reach expected constitutional, security and media reforms; and at the end of the Retreat, they will have basic knowledge of the procedures that guide budget preparations.

The author of WHY AFRICA IS POOR – AND WHAT AFRICANS CAN DO ABOUT IT, GREGORY MILLS, has made a presentation at the gathering.

He says the nation must deal with its central challenges that include an unstable political system and a concerning security environment, in order to position LESOTHO for prosperity.

Mr MILLS says LESOTHO should consider its proximity to SOUTH AFRICA as a chance for growth and it must capitalise on its great natural wealth like water, which has the capacity to contribute to development.

The LESOTHO Cabinet Retreat was to come up with ideas for the National Strategic Development Plan Number TWO to be implemented in the next FIVE years; and to approve the priorities for the 2018 to 2019 National Budget./Sabanews/cam