BLANTYRE – With the global security situation ever declining, the AFRICAN UNION looks set to ensure its borders become more secure – while maintaining stability within member countries.

Africa Standby Force ready to engage (Pic. Agencies)

AFRICA now has in place a formidable tool to deal with conflicts within the 54 member nations and globally, with each of its FIVE regional groupings take turns to head the AFRICA Standby Force, ASF.

The ASF came into being under the AU protocol on the creation of the Peace and Security Council of the continent, which the leaders signed in JULY 2002 before it entered into force in DECEMBER 2003.

In recognition of the roles of regional communities in promoting peace and security, the final concept for the grouping provides for the FIVE regional standby brigades.

The command of the ASF rotates among the North AFRICA Regional Standby Brigade, NASBRIG; the East AFRICA Standby Brigade, EASBRIG; the Force Multinationale de L’AFRIQUE Centrale, FOMAC; the SADC Standby Brigade, SADCBRIG; and the ECOWAS Standby Brigade, ECOBRIG.

The AU Peace and Security Council document defines SIX ASF deployment scenarios, while the AFRICAN leaders have agreed on force levels of about 15-THOUSAND soldiers for the whole continent.

The SOUTHERN AFRICAN RESEARCH AND DOCMENTATION CENTRE, SARDC, says the SADC Region has started trainings in MALAWI for its own Standby Brigade to take over the command of the ASF after ECOWAS.

It says the Exercise UMODZI, MALAWIAN chi-CHEWA for solidarity, partnership, and oneness, aims to prepare military, police and civilian personnel for the task ahead – as from JANUARY next year.

The ASF is a global, continental, and multidisciplinary peacekeeping force with military, police as well as civilian contingents under the direction of the AU, to be deployed in times of crisis in AFRICA.

It has its Force Headquarters in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, with DOUALA, CAMEROON, serving as the site of the AU Continental Logistics Base.

The arrangement aims to ensure the military, police, and civilian contingents deployed respond swiftly to a crisis without any disturbances from heavy political and instrumental burdens.

The ASF became fully operational in 2016 and is based on standby arrangements among the FIVE sub-regions: North AFRICA, East AFRICA, Central AFRICA, West AFRICA and Southern AFRICA, each of which leads the force every SIX months./Sabanews/cam



WINDHOEK – Beneficiaries of the SOUTH AFRICAN apartheid system in NAMIBIA are still holding on to vast tracts of land at the expense of the majority population.

Records show about FOUR-THOUSAND, mostly white, commercial farmers own as much as 70 percent of all the arable land in the country – as a result of colonial settlement policies.

Landlessness still rife years after independence (Pic. DW)

The State, commercial farmers, and black farming groups have been trying to implement a peaceful and orderly land reform through government buyouts also with financial support from GERMAN, the former colonial power.

However, the government has only manage to acquire just SEVEN farms in the last 28 years since independence, amid growing desperation for settlements and resettlement by majority poor.

The Land Reform Ministry says the authorities bought all the SEVEN properties, measuring 27-THOUSAND hectares, at a cost of 16-POINT-SIX-MILLION NAMIBIA dollars (ONE-MILLION-134-THOUSAND-510 US dollars) in 2005.

Permanent Secretary PETER AMUTENYA says the Land Reform Ministry has never acquired any more land ever since then.

He says the State had initially identified 26 farms for takeover up until 2005, but only managed to get the SEVEN properties situated in the OMAHEKE, KHOMAS, and OTJOZONDJUPA regions.

Mr AMUTENYA says the absence of land expropriation criteria, inflation of prices by commercial farmers, and legal gaps in the 1995 Agricultural Land Reform Act have been stalling the national resettlement process.

However, the government successfully tables a new law last year and the Lands Ministry is explaining the revised expropriation policy at the ongoing National Land Conference.

The gathering comes amid serious imbalances in the ownership and occupation of land in NAMIBIA, where blacks with access to bank loans occupy 16 percent of it while the State owns a mere FOUR percent on which it has been trying to squeeze the majority.

The NAMIBIA Statistics Agency has carried out an audit that reveals 250 farms are in the hands of foreigners.

Meanwhile, delegates to the SECOND National Land Conference underway in the capital, WINDHOEK, have also identified access to land as a fundamental challenge to housing in urban areas.

They say it is expensive to acquire land, service the property, and develop the necessary infrastructure – since private companies driven by profit carry out the servicing.

The delegates have called on the authorities to reverse the situation in the best interest of the masses, especially by revising the model of Public Private Partnership.

A member of the SHACK DWELLERS’ FEDERATION says the Conference should adopt a policy aimed to increase community-based land delivery processes for low and ultra-low income earners.

EDITH MBANGA says the worsening state of access to shelter and security of tenure will result in severe overcrowding, homelessness, as well as environmental health problems.

She blames such conditions on the lack of critical infrastructure, the affordability gaps, and the inefficient control of development.

The NAMIBIAN woman says the situation is forcing the urban poor and a large segment of low and moderate-income groups to rely on informal shelter, causing increased unplanned settlements in cities./Sabanews/cam



LUSAKA – ZAMBIA has assured the UNITED NATIONS High Commission for Refugees it remains committed to fulfil its international obligation to refugees and persons of concern.

Mayukwayukwa refugee settlement in Western Province (Pic. UNHCR)

Home Affairs Minister STEPHEN KAMPYONGO says the government will continue to give asylum to people who flee their country for different reasons in line with provisions of the law.

ZNBC News quotes him as saying his country will not turn away anyone with sufficient reasons to get in, but the State will not help persons evading the law in their countries of origin.

Minister KAMPYONGO has made the remarks in a meeting with the High Commissioner for Refugees, FILIPPO GRANDI, on the side-lines of the 69TH Session of the UN Executive Committee in GENEVA, SWITZERLAND.

High Commissioner GRANDI has in turn, commended the ZAMBIAN Government for hosting asylum seekers in the SADC country, which among nations doing very well in hosting refugees from different places.

A 2014 report by the world body says ZAMBIA has hosted refugees from the region since the 1960s.

It says as of mid-2014, some 54-THOUSAND exiles and other people of concern like asylum seekers, stateless and internally displaced people resided mostly in the TWO refugee camps of MEHEBA and MAYUKWAYUKWA.

The majority are from ANGOLA, more than 22-THOUSAND; DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, more than 18-THOUSAND; and RWANDA, about FOUR-THOUSAND, according to the World Bank Group study of 2015.

The UN High Commission for Refugees says many ANGOLAN refugees have stayed for more than 40 years, with some having been born and brought up in ZAMBIA as SECOND or THIRD generation refugees.

The world body says the authorities have repatriated more than 16-THOUSAND ANGOLAN refugees and former exiles to ANGOLA, which is now considered to be safe following the end of UNITA banditry in the SADC country.

Meanwhile, ZAMBIA has pledged to locally integrate 10-THOUSAND former ANGOLAN refugees and FOUR-THOUSAND former RWANDAN refugees.

To facilitate the process, the State has allocated settlement areas, with FIRST ANGOLANS granted permanent residency permits in 2012 – giving them access to the same rights as ZAMBIAN nationals.

The UNITED NATIONS says refugees in both MAYUKWAYUKWA and MEHEBA have limited livelihood chances and are broadly economically marginalised, making it difficult to meet survival needs and leading many to rely on donor aid./Sabanews/cam



HARARE – Vice President KEMBO MOHADI of ZIMBABWE has presided over the launch in the capital, HARARE, of the report on the prevention of potentially violent clashes in the world.

UN-World Bank report on conflict prevention (Pic. World Bank Group)

The study, under the theme – Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict is a joint venture by the UNITED NATIONS and the World Bank Group, focusing on poverty eradication.

Having observed the shortcomings of original methods during conflicts over the years, the TWO authorities say they were convinced the world must urgently refocus attention on prevention.

They say a scaled-up system for deterrent action will save between FIVE-BILLION and 70-BILLION US dollars each year, monies that nations can reinvest to reduce poverty and improve the wellbeing of their populations.

The Pathways for Peace survey aims to improve the manner in which domestic development interacts with security, diplomacy, mediation, and other efforts to prevent quarrels from becoming violent.

It emphasises the value of grievances related to exclusion from areas such as access to power, natural resources, security, and justice, which are at the root of many violent conflicts today.

Vice President MOHADI, who oversees National Peace and Reconciliation Initiatives, has launched the study with UN Resident Coordinator BISHOW PARAJULI, World Bank Country Manager MUKAMI KARIUKI, and SWEDISH Ambassador SOFIA CALLTORP.

About 80 delegates from the State, the UN, development partners, civil society groups, and the media attended Organisations and the Media have gathered to the launch of the report, published this year in WASHINGTON DC, the UNITED STATES.

UN Resident Coordinator BISHOW PARAJULI has commended ZIMBABWE for including peace, reconciliation, and social unity as constitutional values and development needs.

He says the launch of the Pathways for Peace report comes at a key moment when the Cabinet has approved a TWO-year Transitional Stabilization Program for the country.

The UN official says the ZIMBABWEAN scheme recognizes and gives priority to reforms related to the rule of law, access to justice, constitutional alignment, social protection, reconciliation, peace, and national unity./Sabanews/cam



HARARE – A clandestine project to bulldoze the government of ZIMBABWE into forming a coalition with the opposition MDC ALLIANCE is slowly but certainly putting the country on a warpath.

Nelson Chamisa addresses party rally (Pic. The Zimbabwean)

A powerful campaign is going on in the privately owned media, where virtually anyone who comments in favour of Alliance Leader NELSON CHAMISA earns the title of analyst in ONE field or another. Most of them become impromptu political or economic experts.

Despite the dangers of civil unrests, where children, women, the elderly, and the disabled are raped and killed, journalists have thrown both caution and ethics of the profession to the wind in support of the wicked crusade.

On the other hand, emboldened by the media support, Mr CHAMISA, who tried but failed to inaugurate himself as Head of State last month, is threatening mass action to unseat President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA.

The NEWS DAY says he has spoken at his party headquarters in the capital, HARARE, saying he is gathering his supporters countrywide to remove the government peacefully.

However, the so-called peaceful demonstrations by the opposition have always turned violent and bloody in the past, with a recent example being the killing of SIX people by soldiers in the HARARE CBD.

Leaders of the MDC ALLIANCE had mobilised their supporters onto what they had described as a peaceful demonstration against delayed polling results, which, ironically, the Electoral Commission was still announcing as they came in.

Given the inflammatory statements by the politicians in public gatherings, and mostly in the so-willing private media, the protestors did the obvious. They started-off timidly but suddenly began to burn and loot – with a clear intention of shutting down HARARE.

Earlier, Mr CHAMISA had declared himself winner of the presidential race against President MNANGAGWA, saying he would not accept any results showing the opposite.

The police intervened to control the violent crowds but had to call in the military after some of the groups besieged and started burning down the ZANU-PF HARARE Provincial offices, leaving a number of vehicles ablaze.

Nonetheless, the Electoral Commission declared President MNANGAGWA winner after he polled 50-POINT-SIX percent of the ballot against Mr CHAMISA’s 44-POINT-39 percent.

The Alliance leader challenged the result in the Constitutional Court but lost the case, with costs, and he rejected the ruling saying he would now approach the AFRICAN UNION and other international forums.

Now, he plans to take advantage of poor ghetto youths and street dwellers by mobilising them to go on a march his predecessor, the late MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, failed to execute against MUGABE.

It does not take a rocket scientist to realise such actions may lead to situations experienced in countries like SOMALIA, RWANDA, IRAQ, LIBYA and many others, where the scars are still fresh.

While the dangers loom, our so-called media practitioners are contented to pocket brown envelopes containing a few US dollars for supporting the destructive propaganda machine, which the rich north and relief groups are oiling.

Some of their newspapers are putting out unmasked lies about the State, to the extent of accusing the military of unleashing soldiers allegedly disguised as police officers against civilians.

ONE of the publications, the DAILY NEWS, also suggests the call for unity by outgoing BRITISH Ambassador CATRIONA LAING means President MNANGAGWA should take Mr CHAMISA aboard.

British Ambassador Catriona Laing bids farewell to Acting President Kembo Mohadi (Pic. The Herald)

It claims her sentiments come amid pressure, whose source it does not mention, on President MNANGAGWA to accommodate Mr CHAMISA in his administration.

Yet the Envoy has in fact bemoaned the rejection by Mr CHAMISA of the 30 JULY poll result.

In her words of departure, she claims the political playing field is not completely even but agrees the opposition refusal to accept the recent ballot results creates challenges for national unity and progress.

Nowhere does Ambassador LAING call for a GNU, but she urges the Head of State to ensure everybody’s voice is heard, since he guides the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

The BRITISH Envoy says her country is encouraged by the swearing in of the Commission of Inquiry into the AUGUST violence that occurred during the opposition post-election demonstrations in the ZIMBABWEAN capital./Sabanews/cam



VICTORIA – STEEN HANSEN, a DANISH national, has written a new book on the biodiversity of the tropical plants in the SEYCHELLES Botanical Gardens on the MAHE Island.

Seychelles botanical gardens guide (Pic. SNA)

SEYCHELLES News Agency says visitors to the park, situated in the capital, VICTORIA, can now gain better insights into the plant community of the garden, thanks to the guidebook.

It says the publication is already on sale at the ANTIGONE Bookshop in VICTORIA at 26 US dollars a copy.

The book focuses on the ethno-botanical aspects of the garden, with details of the origin and names of the existing plants as well as the level of global threats they face, and how they can be of use as food, medicine and in craftsmanship.

Mr HANSEN says his work can give readers an insight of the international plant community because it is an environmental book with information on the importance of conservation and what it is there left to be preserved.

He also says the plants in the SEYCHELLES Botanical Gardens, in the central district of MONT FLEURI, are very rich and important, as they have rare qualities – while some are unique to the place and the island nation.

Mauritian Agronomist RIVALZ DUPONT established the 15-acre garden as a botanical station in 1901, making it ONE of the oldest national monuments of SEYCHELLES.

The authorities transformed it into a proper botanical garden in the late 1970s, and it is now under the management of the National Botanical Gardens Foundation.

SNA also says the botanical is a living green heritage providing a quiet, green getaway with a 20-minute walk from the busy VICTORIA CBD; and it is ONE of the must-see places in the 115-island archipelago, for tourists and locals with a love for nature.

Mr HANSEN says due to climate change and other negative impacts on the environment, it remains a relief to find such places like the Botanical Gardens still exist – with a preserved array of plant and animal species.

The DANISH author, who has been living in SEYCHELLES since 2005, has already launched THREE other books: THE FLORA OF THE SEYCHELLES, the STRIKING NATURE OF CURIEUSE ISLAND, and more recently THE TEA FACTORY.

As something new compared to his previous book collections, the new publication has an appendix giving all the different plants in the SEYCHELLES Botanical Gardens since 2016./Sabanews/cam



HARARE – The ZIMBABWE Defence Force has described as malicious and outrageous recent media reports alleging its soldiers are harassing civilians in the capital, HARARE.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces before changes (Pic. Agencies)

The Director of Public Relations has issued a statement saying the stories aim to tarnish the image of the military and influence ongoing investigations into post-election political violence in the city.

THE HERALD says comments by Colonel OVERSON MUGWISI come after the privately owned DAILY NEWS and NEWS DAY publications put out alarming reports about alleged terror by uniformed forces.

A late SEPTEMBER report in the DAILY NEWS claims what it calls some rogue elements within the security sector are engaging in human rights violations similar to abuses allegedly witnessed during the rule of former dictator ROBERT MUGABE.

The paper says the purported abuses have prompted a group known as VERITAS, which claims to monitor the work of Parliament, to complain against perceived State delays to set up a committee to probe such matters.

A similar report by the NEWS DAY also alleges rogue soldiers have been terrorising civilians in the dormitory city of CHITUNGWIZA, although both papers give no names of sources of their information.

The government has a Commission of Inquiry probing the violent protests that broke out after opposition supporters besieged HARARE Central Business District and started burning and looting both private and public property.

President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA set up the team after SIX people were killed by a member of the military group helping the police to end the violence opened fire on the then retreating demonstrators.

The Commission comprises prominent persons from ZIMBABWE, the SADC Region, the COMMONWEALTH, as well as the BRITISH legal fraternity, who are yet to hand over their report to the Head of State.

Meanwhile, the SADC country is under attack by a deadly cholera outbreak that has seen the government declaring a State of Emergency after the death of FIVE people in a short time in TWO suburbs of HARARE. The figure has since risen to at least 49 deaths.

Cholera has brought immediate misery to thousands of homes (Pic. News24)

The MEDICAL XPRESS online science publication says the State has launched a massive vaccination drive as it battles the cholera outbreak.

It quotes Health Minister OBADIAH MOYO as saying the campaign, with help from the WHO, is targeting more than 500-THOUSAND people between this WEDNESDAY and SUNDAY.

He says another ONE-MILLION will receive vaccines from next week, with reports saying the disease has infected more than NINE-THOUSAND people, mostly in the capital, also amid fears of a repeat of 2008 when cholera killed more than FOUR-THOUSAND persons.

Media commentators say the privately owned media, instead of demonising the government in support of the opposition, should help to fight the serious humanitarian crisis facing the country as well as to revive the economy and assure foreign investors.

They say the current bad relations between the authorities and the opposition-associated papers and broadcasters show ZIMBABWE still experiences serious media polarisation./Sabanews/cam



WINDHOEK – At least 800 people from different sectors of society are attending the SECOND National Land Conference of NAMIBIA in the capital, WINDHOEK.

Second National Land Conference underway (Pic. NBC)

The gathering comes amid high hopes of finalising the major grievance that caused the SOUTH WEST AFRICA PEOPLE’S ORGANISATION, SWAPO, to wage war against colonialism.

NBC News says delegates are to review progress made in the implementation of the FIRST Conference held in 1991, ONE year after independence from apartheid SOUTH AFRICA.

It says their task includes revision of the willing-seller-willing-buyer principle the State has followed to acquire farms for poor black communities, as well as the issues of ancestral land.

The willing-seller-willing-buyer concept requires the authorities to buy farms from commercial farmers for allocation to previously disadvantaged people

The government says it has spent some THREE-COMMA-THREE-BILLION NAMIBIA dollars (about 230-MILLION US dollars) on work meant to address the matter so far.

Land Reform Minister UTONI NUJOMA says the authorities spent the money on acquiring 549 farms measuring a combined total of THREE-POINT-TWO-MILLION hectares.

He has told delegates to the SECOND Land Conference the government bought the farms through the willing-seller-willing-buyer and Affirmative Action Loan Scheme programs.

Minister NUJOMA says they managed to resettle FIVE-THOUSAND-338 families, as well as register 119-THOUSAND-227 customary land rights and ONE-THOUSAND-204 leasehold rights.

The NAMIBIAN Member of Cabinet says the 24 resolutions of the 1991 Conference and the land guidelines in the Constitution have directed the work of his ministry all along./Sabanews/cam



LAKE VICTORIA – More than 100 people have been killed after a boat in which they were travelling capsized on Lake VICTORIA in TANZANIA.

Hundreds are feared dead in  ferry capsize on Lake Victoria (Pic. Agencies)

RADIO TANZANIA says Police Chief Inspector General SIMON SIRRO has revealed the shocking figure at the scene during a rescuing exercise.

With a surface area of about 68-THOUSAND-800 square kilometres, Lake VICTORIA is the largest water body in AFRICA and the world’s largest tropical lake.

It also ranks as the world’s SECOND largest fresh water lake by surface area, after Lake SUPERIOR in North AMERICA; but it is has claimed thousands of lives over years.

Witnesses to the current tragedy say the MV NYERERE capsized close to the landing stage on UKARA Island, just a few meters before reaching its destination.

RADIO TANZANIA says the ferry may have been carrying as many as passengers double the ferry recommended capacity.

It quotes people who claim to have seen the accident as saying the boat toppled after passengers rushed to ONE side in readiness to disembark as they approached the dock.

The MWANZA Regional Police Commissioner, who is at the scene, has told the national broadcaster they found 42 bodies this FRIDAY morning, in addition to another 44 picked up the day before.

JOHN MONGELLA says the number of survivors has also increased from 37 to 40, but it is unclear whether, or not, the Police and Army divers have found any others since resumption of rescue operations this morning.

Media reports say about 200 people were killed in another major accident last year off the coast of ZANZIBAR: although hundreds others survived, with some found clinging to mattresses and fridges in the waters.

Earlier in 1996, TANZANIA had seen more than 800 people killed in ONE of the worst ferry disasters of the last century after the MV BUKOBA capsized on Lake VICTORIA./Sabanews/cam



BLANTYRE – The HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS COALITION of MALAWI has abandoned talks with the State ahead of a planned demo against corruption this FRIDAY.

Malawi April 2018 mass demos (Pic. CHRR)

MBC News says the decision by the group has disappointed the government, whose officials have waited in vain for delegates from the Coalition for the SECOND time now.

It says Information and Communications Technology Minister NICHOLAS DAUSI has issued a statement accusing the Coalition of obstructing to discuss pressing national issues.

He says the State is deeply concerned with what he describes as the uncivil manner and deliberate antagonist approaches by the groups under the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS COALITION.

Minister DAUSI says the organisation simply wants to frustrate government intentions to deepen democracy and development through dialogue.

He says a 15-member delegation from the State assembled at the Office of the President and Cabinet, at the time the civil society groups had suggested, but they did not show up – yesterday and the day before.

Minister DAUSI has told MALAWIANS the government is further surprised by the excuses from the organisation about what they call the rules of engagement for the dialogue process.

He the TWO sides should ordinarily develop, negotiate and adopt such issues in a collective manner – and no one side should impose them like civil society wants to do.

Minister DAUSI says the government is committed to talk on mutually satisfactory terms without the sense of civil society dictatorship, as shown in the clear egos of the Coalition leadership.

He says dialogue is a give and take process, where engagement is on the table and nowhere else; and the discussions are a chance for civil society to engage public workers in a healthy conversation that brings results for advancing national interests.

The Cabinet Minister says the Coalition leaders should remember their claim as champions of human rights loses meaning the moment they begin to carry a know-it-all attitude, pretending to be above anyone else as far as matters of national interests are concerned.

Media reports say Coalition leaders have told the media in the capital, LILONGWE, their decision comes after the authorities ignored their proposal to include President PETER MUTHARIKA or ministers in the discussions.

The NYASA TIMES says they have since written to the Chief Secretary to the Cabinet, LLOYD MUHARA.

It says Coalition Chairperson TIMOTHY MTAMBO has accused the State of secretly trying to cripple their planned demonstrations against corruption and impunity, set for this FRIDAY across MZUZU, LILONGWE, BLANTYRE, and ZOMBA cities.

The rights campaigner claims the Government of MALAWI, which says it remains ready for dialogue, is simply playing games with civil society as it continues taking the suffering and voices of MALAWIANS for granted./Sabanews/cam