Women empowerment is one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Pic. UN Photos)

WINDHOEK – Former President ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF of LIBERIA has commended NAMIBIA for taking the lead in laws that enhance women’s welfare.

She says the SADC country has laws and policies that break the portrayal of women as inferior to men, and bring them on par with their male counterparts.

Ms JOHNSON-SIRLEAF says the ruling SWAPO Party’s policy of equal gender representation in decision-making shows such will.

NAMIBIA now has 47 women out of the 106 lawmakers in the National Assembly, and 10 out of 42 members in the National Council.

However, some senior female civil servants have pointed out access to post-natal healthcare, teenage pregnancies, poverty, and sexual abuse as some challenges facing women in general.

The AFRICAN UNION Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security, BINERA DIOP, has in turn commended Ms JOHNSON-SIRLEAF’s advocacy for the rights of women while she was President of LIBERIA.

The UN Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriages, NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA says renaming child marriages to child rape or such harsher names will reduce the practice.

Former President JOHNSON-SIRLEAF is the FIRST woman Head of State in AFRICA and she won the MO IBRAHIM Award last year for stepping down after serving LIBERIA for TWO terms.

The UNITED NATIONS says women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination.

The world body says women’s equality and empowerment is the FIFTH of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and it is integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development./Sabanews/cam



Fundamentalist groups spread terror worldwide (Pic. Agencies)

CABO DELGADO – Suspected ISLAMIC fundamentalists have violently killed SEVEN people in the CABO DELGADO Province of Northern MOZAMBIQUE.

RADIO MOZAMBIQUE says the Police General Command Spokesperson has confirmed the killings, which occurred in NAUDE Village in the MACOMIA District.

It says INACIO DINA has addressed the media in the capital, MAPUTO, saying the raiders injured FOUR other people, burned down 164 houses and set FOUR vehicles ablaze.

He says the assailants used machetes to kill the SEVEN people and maim the others, before using a cigarette lighter to set huts on fire, which was spread rapidly by a strong win.

Mr DINA says the suspects may be part of a group the police have been chasing since the events of 27 MAY when 10 people were beheaded.

He says the suspected ISLAMIST insurgency is an ongoing conflict with ANSAR AL-SUNNA, a terrorist group attempting to establish an ISLAMIC state in MOZAMBIQUE.

The authorities say they have not made any arrests so far, but the defence and security forces are working on the ground to hunt down the criminals and restore order throughout MACOMIA.

The national broadcaster quotes military commentators as saying the country has not been a focal point for ISLAMIST militant activities before, and the police have been reluctant to blame attacks on such groups until now.

MUSLIMS make up about 18 percent of the population, while CATHOLICS comprise the largest single religious grouping with close to 30 percent of MOZAMBIQUE’s about 29-MILLION people./Sabanews/cam



Seychelles new fathers to get extended paternity leave (Pic. SNA)

VICTORIA – New fathers in SEYCHELLES will now have more days of paternity leave following revision of the law governing workers’ rights and obligations.

Employment officials say the doubling of the time a new father takes off work at the birth or immediately following childbirth means the country has taken the lead in the INDIAN Ocean Region in the category.

It says the Ministry of Employment, Immigration, and Civil Status has increased the length of paid paternity leave from FIVE to 10 days, effective since 15 MAY.

The national news agency says the revised law places SEYCHELLES SECOND behind KENYA in terms of paid paternity leave.

It says MADAGASCAR, BURUNDI, MAURITANIA, and TOGO make provision for 10 paid days for family events, while a father in the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC can get up to 15 days for special circumstances.

Employment Department Labour Relations Director General STEVE MONNAIE says after creating a ministry for the family, the government found there is need for more programs for families.

He says the increased paternity leave will encourage fathers to play their role in the lives of their newly born children by helping the mothers.

The revision of paternity leave comes at the same time when working mothers who have given birth as of 15 MAY are entitled to 16 weeks maternity leave, instead of the previous 14 weeks.

National Family Council Chairperson ROBERT MOUMOU says an increase from FIVE to 10 days is reasonable and a good initiative that recognises both parents are vital in the life of the child.

He says the bonding period is equally important for both parents, and his group appreciates that the government has seen the importance.

The official says although 10 days is not enough, there are economic factors that can disturb the working place and the economy of SEYCHELLES, which has a population of just about 95-THOUSAND./Sabanews/cam



Teenage pregnancies on the rise in Namibia (Pic. NBC News)

RUNDU – A number of parents, teachers, and members of school committees in Northern NAMIBIA say they are not happy with the current Education Policy on Teenage Pregnancy.

NBC News says the law aims to reduce teenage pregnancy in schools, but parents feel a large number of girls fall pregnant, give birth, and return to school within a month.

It quotes some of them as saying the new policy creates a situation where pregnant learners do not respect themselves, their fellow learners, and even their teachers.

The parents say they believe the young mothers lose interest and concentration in class, a situation that results in poor performance.

The national broadcaster says a smaller number of teachers have commended the regulations for giving pregnant teenagers SECOND chances to education.

On the other hand, some learners say they believe the policy gives an opportunity to female school children to continue their education after delivering babies.

Others, however, say they feel it is a bad experience to be pregnant as a teenager, and they are calling for the policy to change.

The authorities say the regulations apply to all primary and secondary schools in NAMIBIA, while tertiary and other educational institutions should develop responsive policies for pregnant learners, expectant fathers, and learner-parents./Sabanews/cam



Tanzania High Court (Pic. Agencies)

MTWARA – The High Court of TANZANIA has dismissed an application by rights campaigners calling for a review of the Electronic and Postal Communication Act.

The involved groups also wanted the removal of the Online Content Regulations of 2018, which the government drafted to create help sanity in online platforms.

The DAILY NEWS quotes the ruling by the MTWARA Zone of the High Court as saying stakeholders who filed the case failed to prove beyond doubt how the regulations would affect their rights.

The newspaper says following the decision, the State has urged operators of blogs, as well as online radio and television stations to register their outlets.

The government says registration with the regulator – the TANZANIA Communications Regulatory Authority – will ensure formal recognition of the entities.

Information Services Director General HASSAN ABBAS, who is also Chief Government Spokesperson, says the regulations also aim create sanity in new media.

He says even developing countries in the EUROPEAN UNION have such rules, and the government is open to better and closer working ties with stakeholders to enforce the rules.

Petitioners wanted the Court to review the draft regulations from the Minister of Information, Culture and Sports, whom they claimed had acted outside his authority; while the new rules violated principles of natural justice.

The High Court early this month issued a temporary injunction preventing implementation of the regulations, including registration of all online platforms by the deadline set for FIVE MAY this year.


Advocates ALESIA MBUYA, LADISLAUS KOMANYA, KILLEY MWITASI, and ABUBAKAR MRISHA from the Solicitor-General’s Office, as well as Communications Regulatory Authority lawyers FILIPO FILIKUNJOMBE, JOHN DAFFA and JOHANNES KALUNGULA, represented the State.

The DAILY NEWS says the petitioners had hired advocates FULGENCE MASSAWE, JAMES MARRENGA and JEREMIAH MTOBESYA to stand for them in the case.

The government entered THREE injunctions and asked the Court to dismiss the contending arguments, because the applicants did not state definitely how the regulations would violate their constitutional rights.

The TANZANIA Information Services Director General has thus advised all owners of online television, radio, and blogs to proceed with registration processes as required by the law./Sabanews/cam



Zimbabwe nearing elections

HARARE – President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA of ZIMBABWE says his country will hold general elections on 30 JULY this year.

Voters will be choosing a president, members of the National Assembly, and ward councillors on the same day.

In the event that no presidential candidate wins outright in the FIRST round of polling, there will be a runoff on EIGHT SEPTEMBER 2018, according to the law.

Media reports say President MNANGAGWA has generated a lot of excitement worldwide with his announcement of the ballot day.

It is the FIRST time since independence 1980 that the country is voting without 94-year-old ROBERT MUGABE, and the FIRST time in 16 years foreign observers like the EU are welcome.

The ZIMBABWEAN Head of State replaced Mr MUGABE following a military-backed mass uprising against the increasingly autocratic former guerrilla leader and his wife, GRACE.

President MNANGAGWA has declared the ruling ZANU PF will ensure free, fare, and credible democratic processes; starting from its own primary elections in which more than 99 sitting MPs lost to newcomers.

He says his Party will hand over power to whoever emerges the winner in the forthcoming ballots, scheduled to take place on 30 JULY.

ZANU PF had to re-run the primaries in some 14 constituencies nationwide after serious anomalies like rigging, vote buying, intimidation, and lying, mostly blamed on the now fallen big wigs.

President MNANGAGWA says losers should avoid bitterness because no one is bigger than the Party, and neither is anyone permanent furniture in any political office they occupy.

At least 118 groups had, by 11 APRIL this year, registered with the ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission, although some are already withdrawing due to a number of allegations against the voting authorities./Sabanews/cam



Mahangu harvest time (Pic. Travel Namibia)

RUNDU – The levels of poverty and youth unemployment in the Northern NAMIBIA region of KAVANGO EAST have become a huge concern for Governor SAMUEL MBAMBO.

He says the province should be able to produce more food and create jobs from agriculture, because it has fertile lands and plenty of water resources.

However, Governor MBAMBO says he has hope the various social actions the State, regional councils, and other development partners are carrying out can help to turn the situation around.

He says KAVANGO EAST Region has, in the meantime, initiated what has been dubbed OPERATION WERENGENDJE to improve food security at household levels.

Up 600 subsistence farmers get access to ploughing and weeding services through the scheme.

The Operation produced some 338-THOUSAND tonnes of mahangu grains from ONE-THOUSAND-700 hectares ploughed.

NBC News says involved farmers pocketed up to ONE-MILLION-700-THOUSAND NAMIBIA dollars from the surplus yields.

The national broadcaster also says the producers have donated 100 bags of mahangu flour to needy families through the office of Governor MBAMBO.

The national Agronomic Board says mahangu is a subsistence rain-fed cereal crop that is the major staple food for more than 50 percent of the NAMIBIAN population.

The pearl millet is produced in ZAMBEZI, KAVANGO EAST, KAVANGO WEST, OHANGWENA, OMUSATI, OSHANA, OSHIKOTO provinces, and in the TSUMKWE area of OTJOZONDJUPA Region.

Authorities say the crop is highly suitable for low rainfall and the prevailing soil conditions in the north-central regions and the KAVANGO.

Mahangu farmers in NAMIBIA are among the few AFRICAN peoples who have successfully developed a food storage system to store their grain in baskets made of wood strips for up to FIVE years.

Nevertheless, other media reports say inequality and unemployment remain the biggest challenges for the SADC country, with as much as 37 percent of eligible workers going without jobs as of 2017.

KAVANGO EAST has thus joined other NAMIBIAN regions like KUNENE and ZAMBEZI, which in the same year recorded 62-POINT-EIGHT percent and 58-POINT-THREE percent unemployment respectively./Sabanews/cam



President Peter Mutharika (Pic. Maravi Post)

BLANTYRE – President PETER MUTHARIKA of MALAWI has called on the Electoral Commission to ensure the ongoing registration does not exclude any willing and eligible voter.

MBC News says he has addressed members of the Commission who visited him at his SANJIKA Palace in the commercial capital, BLANTYRE.

The national broadcaster says the team has briefed the Head of State him on preparations for the 2019 General Elections and the Biometric Registration System the Commission plans to use.

President MUTHARIKA has in turn told the officials elections are a vital undertaking for any country.

He says the Commission should try to ensure whatever registration method they are going to use will enable the majority of MALAWIAN voters to decide the destiny of their country.

MBC News also says registration of voters will commence on 26 JUNE this year, and people will go to the polls in MAY 2019.

MALAWI became a republic in 1966 and was under the ONE-party-state rule of the late HASTINGS KAMUZU BANDA until 1994, when it became a multiparty democracy./Sabanews/cam



North Luangwa National Park hippos (Pic. Agencies)

LUSAKA – The opposition GREEN PARTY President PETER SINKAMBA of ZAMBIA has urged the government to abandon plans to kill hippos in the LUANGWA Valley.

He says there are more civilized ways for sustainable management of wildlife than culling, which he describes as a primitive conservation strategy.

The LUSAKA TIMES newspaper says Mr SINKAMBA has been reacting to news about alleged State plans to proceed with an aborted 2016 program.

It says the government scheme had aimed to get rid of some TWO-THOUSAND hippos in the LUANGWA Valley, allegedly for overpopulation.

However, the GREEN PARTY Leader says ZAMBIA needs to learn from other countries like KENYA and TANZANIA about actions to take when faced with wildlife overpopulation and drought conditions.

Mr SINKAMBA says relocation of entrapped animals is ONE modern conservation tool, but the trouble with the PATRIOTIC FRONT Government is lack of leadership with environmental consciousness.

He says what is more appalling is the LUANGWA Valley is not overpopulated as the authorities claim, because the hippo numbers have dropped by about 14 to 20 percent in the last 20 years.

The LUANGWA Valley has THREE national parks including SOUTH LUANGWA National Park, NORTH LUANGWA National Park, and LUAMBE National Park.

Mr SINKAMBA says it is not the only game park in ZAMBIA, which has about 20 national parks and more than 30 game reserves, most of which, in fact, require restocking.

He says a serious environmentally conscious government will opt for relocation than culling, just like nations such as KENYA and TANZANIA relocate their animals when conditions dictate.

Mr SINKAMBA says hippos are not exclusively for LUANGWA Valley, as they can easily be relocated and live anywhere in other parts of the country.

He has offered to help the government organise resources like he has done in the COPPERBELT Environment Project and ZAMBIA Environmental Restoration Project.

Mr SINKAMBA says the State needs to realise mining has run its race and is no longer as beneficial to the nation as it used to be; which makes high-value agriculture and eco-tourism the next most viable sectors.

The ZAMBIAN opposition political leader says the culling policy is motivated by pure greed, because how can you promote eco-tourism when you cull the very animals tourists are expected to come and watch?/Sabanews/cam



Robert Mugabe, liberation hero turned villain (Pic. Agencies)

HARARE – Former President ROBERT MUGABE of ZIMBABWE has failed to appear before a legislative team scheduled to question him on large amounts of missing diamond money.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy says it will have to send the former dictator yet another invitation to come and give oral evidence on the issue.

Mr MUGABE shocked the nation in 2016 when he revealed the country had lost some 15-BILLION US dollars through pilferage of gems from the CHIADZWA diamond fields in the eastern district of MARANGE.

He told the national broadcaster in his 92ND birthday interview the State treasury received less than TWO-BILLION US dollars over the FIVE to SIX years of mining by private firms.

Mr MUGABE resigned from office following great pressure from the opposition, liberation war veterans, his own ruling ZANU PF party, and the army, which pacified other security agencies to allow protesting masses onto the streets.

His exit last NOVEMBER opened up his close allies in his former government to the laws of the land, with a number of them, including former ministers, having skipped the border and went on self-imposed exile.

The Parliamentary committee chaired by independent Legislator TEMBA MLISWA this WEDNESDAY waited in vain for more than TWO hours for the former strongman to arrive.

Media reports say the National Assembly team has deliberated and resolved to delay the hearing to MONDAY, 28 MAY 2018.

Mr MLISWA has told journalists at Parliament Building in HARARE the committee is of the view perhaps NINE O’clock in the morning is too early, considering the 94-year-old former leader used to start Cabinet at 12 Noon.

However, he says if they do not get cooperation from him, Parliament has powers to take action; but they would not want to get to that, as they expect he will attend.

Mr MLISWA says the National assembly will also deal with the issue of former Mines Minister, now Home Affairs Minister, OBERT MPOFU, who has since refuse to testify before the committee.

Minister MPOFU says he will not cooperate with the National Assembly team unless Chairman MLISWA, a former colleague in the ZANU PF Central Committee, recuses himself.

Mr MUGABE, who received no sympathy worldwide for his humiliating ejection from power, is accused of presiding over an administration that FIRST destroyed national infrastructure and later heavily looted the economy.

The former ZIMBABWEAN dictator has dismissed his ouster as a military coup de tat that ushered in an illegitimate government, but the world has disagreed with him bluntly – as his successor receives State invitations from all over./Sabanews/cam