AIDS AND HIV PREVALENCE WORRIES AUTHORITIES IN THE EAST

ZAMBIA: HEALTH/ZNBC/6/11/18 SABANews 1

CHIPATA – The government of ZAMBIA says it is very concerned about the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the EASTERN Province.

Ndola Central Hospital Staff (Pic. ZNBC)

Health Minister CHITALU CHILUFYA has revealed the region recorded alarming numbers of new infections in the recent past, with CHIPATA and PETAUKE areas leading the rest.

He says there is need to screen, test, and treat more people to achieve the 90-90-90 targets, which the Joint UNITED NATIONS Program on HIV and AIDS, UNAIDS, and its partners launched in 2014.

The scheme aims to diagnose 90 percent of all HIV-positive persons, give antiretroviral therapy, or ART, for 90 percent of diagnosed cases, and achieve viral suppression for 90 percent of treated patients by 2020.

Minister CHILUFYA says the primary concern of the ZAMBIAN Government is human capital, hence the need to have a healthy workforce for economic development.

ZNBC News says the Cabinet Member has made the comments in CHIPATA Town during the launch of the 2018 to 2019 HIV Epidemic Control Surge Campaign.

It says Senior Chief MADZIMAWE of the NGONI people of CHIPATA has commended the government and cooperating partners for their efforts towards the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The national broadcaster also quotes UNITED STATES Ambassador DANIEL FOOTE as saying Human Immuno-deficiency Virus, which causes AIDS, is no longer a death sentence like before.

The AMERICAN Envoy says the infection has now become a chronic condition under which a person can lead a healthy life.

A 2016 report by the OPEN AIDS JOURNAL says world trends in HIV infection show an overall increase in frequency and substantial declines in AIDS related deaths largely due to the survival benefits of antiretroviral treatment.

With more than 70 percent of the global infections, and despite scaled up treatments, Sub SAHARAN AFRICA accounted for 74 percent of the ONE-POINT-FIVE-MILLION AIDS related deaths in 2013.

Research shows SWAZILAND, with more than 27 percent of the population living with HIV and AIDS, has the highest rate of infection worldwide, while BOTSWANA, with about 22 percent of the population living with the disease, has the SECOND largest prevalence rate globally./Sabanews/cam

MOTORISTS FACE ANOTHER FUEL PRICE HIKE

NAMIBIA: TRANSPORT/NBC/6/11/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – Fuel prices in NAMIBIA are going up again, for the FIFTH time this year.

Vivo Energy Shell branded fuel service station in Windhoek Lafrenz industrial area (Pic. PetrolWorld)

Mines and Energy Minister TOM ALWEENDO says the latest round of increases will be effective from tomorrow (WEDNESDAY) night.

He says petrol will now cost 13 NAMIBIA dollars 58 cents per litre and all grades of diesel will be 14 NAMIBIA dollars 40 cents per litre.

Minister ALWEENDO says continued depreciation of the NAMIBIA dollar against the US dollar has contributed to the rising cost of fuel.

Prices had remained unchanged from FEBRUARY to JUNE this year, when petrol cost 11 NAMIBIA dollars 70 cents per litre.

The FIRST fuel price increases were in JUNE, when the cost of petrol went up 60 cents and diesel prices rose above 12 NAMIBIA dollars 30 cents.

Prices went up the following month to bring the cost of petrol to 12 dollars 40 cents per litre and 12 dollars 55 cents within weeks.

Fuel prices increased by 40 cents a litre in SEPTEMBER, and the latest increases have pushed up the cost by a further 50 cents per litre for petrol and 70 cents per litre for diesel.

The cost of fuel, both petrol and diesel, in NAMIBIA is State-regulated, which means there will be uniform prices at every fuel station at any given time./Sabanews/cam

STATE COMES UP WITH LEGISLATION TO MARKET WOOD

ZAMBIA: FORESTRY/ZNBC/18/10/18 SABANews 1

Impounded trucks loaded with Mukula logs (Pic. Lusaka Times)

LUSAKA – The government of ZAMBIA has announced plans for a law to facilitate the harvesting and sale of the MUKULA timber on an open market to foreign entities.

ZNBC News quotes Lands and Natural Resources Minister JEAN KAPATA as saying the proposed legislation will bring a reduction in the illegal collection and marketing of the tree.

It says she has disclosed the information in ETHIOPIA where she has been attending a Least Developed Countries Ministerial Meeting on Climate at the UNITED NATIONS Commission for AFRICA.

Minister KAPATA has paid a courtesy call on the ZAMBIAN Ambassador to ETHIOPIA, SUSAN SIKANETA, saying the government is committed to ensure proceeds from the MUKULA tree benefit all citizens.

Conservation experts say the MUKULA takes 90 years to grow to 18 meters, and is ONE of the strongest timbers on earth – with vehicle makers like BENZ and BMW using it to make dashboards.

Meanwhile, the ZAMBIAN Lands and Natural Resources Minister says the least developed countries have called on the advanced economies of the world to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Her call comes amid a controversial argument over the depletion of the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful direct sunrays, with developed countries – which have polluted the atmosphere – calling the poor countries to stop industrial advances.

They want the THIRD WORLD to use what they call safe methods of production, which means using renewable energy sources like solar, hydro, and wind powered electricity generators.

Poor nations are therefore encouraged to plant a lot of trees to absorb greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, which the FIRST WORLD has been pumping into the skies for hundreds of years – causing the current climate change conditions.

Climate change is the shift in weather events linked to increased global average temperatures: and experts say it is real, as temperatures have been rising worldwide for many decades.

The ZAMBIAN Ambassador to ETHIOPIA, SUSAN SIKANETA, has commended her government for introducing a tree-planting program in the SADC country.

A report by the THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION says ZAMBIA earlier this year started exporting timber seized from illegal loggers who continue to fell trees despite a nationwide ban.

However, REUTERS says such moves have caused controversies in other countries – with some people arguing selling confiscated timber sends the wrong signal to illegal loggers and others accepting it as a way to provide much-needed income.

ZAMBIA in 2016 banned the chopping and transportation of the MUKULA tree in a bid to control the fast depletion of the highly priced wood, which is on serious demand in ASIAN countries./Sabanews/cam

LAND REFORMS LIKELY TO TAKE NEW TURN AFTER CONFERENCE (Exclusive)

NAMIBIA: LAND/NBC/17/10/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – The government of NAMIBIA has finally released the full list of people who have benefitted from the national land reforms since independence in MARCH 1990.

Communal Land Development Program at Amarika village (Pic. NBC News)

The Ministry of Land Reform document says out of a population of TWO-POINT-ONE-MILLION, only FIVE-THOUSAND-731 people benefited from the National Resettlement Program schemes carried out on 494 farms.

NBC News quotes Ombudsman JOHN WALTERS as saying his Office has received the list, as Minister UTONI NUJOMA promised at the recent SECOND National Land Conference, to which leading groups like the NAMIBIAN AGRICULTURAL UNION also contributed.

Roelie Venter, Namibian Agricultural Union Executive Manager (Pic. NBC News)

The broadcaster says Ombudsman WALTERS is scheduled to go through the record before making it available on the official website.

It says the latest development follows continuous calls before, during, and after the SECOND National Land Conference for the government to reveal names of people who have benefitted from the land reforms so far.

Ombudsman WALTERS has described the Conference as a success, saying despite most of the views from delegates being of a general nature, discussions were inclusive and created a window for everyone to speak.

Like other nations such as TANZANIA, ZAMBIA, ANGOLA, MOZAMBIQUE, and ZIMBABWE, NAMIBIA was under colonial rule for more than a century – during which thousands of its people were killed as they fought for freedom.

Yet, some 134 years after the seizure of residential and farmlands from black communities by foreign settlers, and 28 years after independence, the SADC country still has to solve the major grievance of the liberation struggle – the land.

With the conclusion of the SECOND National Land Conference and the release of the full list of the resettlement program beneficiaries, questions rise about how effective will be the new approaches (if any) to the matter.

Nevertheless, observers can benefit from TWO academics who may have managed to capture the major problems facing the authorities and the rest of the nation.

KAZEMBIRE ZEMBURUKA, a communications practitioner and lecturer in broadcast media, as well as YARUKEEKURO NDOROKAZE, a lawyer with the High Court and broadcaster, shared their views in the media TWO months ago.

Their article in THE PATRIOT newspaper says the so-called FIRST Land Conference of JUNE to JULY 1991 took place about 16 months into independence, with national reconciliation seemingly being the buzzword.

It says while the Conference accepted there was injustice regarding land acquisition and resolved practical moves be made, no specific action was agreed on – which means it is still work in progress.

Additionally, ancestral land claims are complicated issues due to overlapping boundaries of the different communities, which make restitution impossible: and the FIRST Conference failed to find a lasting solution.

Foreign ownership is a different matter because the Conference agreed foreigners should only get access to use and develop the land for investment purposes: but foreigners own large tracts of farmland, which means the resolution was not complied with.

As for abandoned and underutilised commercial land, the Conference resolved to reallocate and productively use it: but the government has failed to do so or to help communities trying to take action.

The academics say virgin land in the OTJOZONDJUPA, OMAHEKE, and KAVANGO WEST regions, as well as other pockets elsewhere, have always been seen as the answer to overgrazing in communal areas, but there seems to be little appetite to develop the areas.

They say the authorities are even ignoring the drilling of boreholes and finding a permanent solution to the gifblaar, a perennial shrub that is deadly poisonous to stock, or at least provide practical ways to co-habitat with the plant.

Absentee landlords also remain untouched despite the Conference resolution to expropriate their land, after the expropriation attempts stopped following a High Court ruling in the matter between GUNTER KESSL and the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement.

Nonetheless, the High Court provided guidelines on lawful expropriation and no subsequent attempts were made: and, given the nationalities involved and the political sway of their countries on domestic policy, the intervention may never see the light of day.

KAZEMBIRE ZEMBURUKA and YARUKEEKURO NDOROKAZE say the Conference agreed on banning occupation of large pieces of land and multiple ownership of farms.

They say no limit was set on the size of a farm per person, yet it would have been easier to limit the number of properties per person if there had been maximum farm sizes, and as long as such a position had the support of the necessary legal framework.

The 1991 Land Conference introduced land tax for commercial farmland and there might have been implementation challenges on the right level of taxation and the grace period, but the government deserves maximum points on the resolution.

The TWO academics also touch on other issues like Technical Committee on Commercial Farmland, Land Tenure, Farm Workers, Assistance to Commercial Farmers, and the Future Role of the Communal Areas.

Given the token successes of plans under the resolutions from the FRIST Land Conference, there are calls for the authorities in NAMIBIA to take seriously the declarations from the SECOND National Land Conference to avoid continued civil unrest./Sabanews/cam

SADC REGION EXPLORES NEW WAYS TO BECOME FOOD SECURE

SOUTHERN AFRICA: POVERTY/SABANEWS/11/10/18 SABANews 1

LILONGWE – Experts from the SADC Region have this month met in MALAWI to discuss ways to coordinate activities in FOUR major sectors that can help end the scourge of poverty in member countries.

Lodges on the banks of the Zambezi River (Pic. Agencies)

The ZAMBEZI Watercourse Commission, ZAMCOM publication, THE RIPARIAN, says discussions have been on the inter-linkages between the economic divisions of water, energy, food, and environment.

It says MALAWIAN Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Minister JOSEPH MWANAMVEKHA graced the annual gathering of the experts and ZAMBEZI River Basin stakeholders.

THE RIPARIAN also says delegates to the 2018 Forum had their focus on the theme: Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystms, WEFE, nexus for socio-economic benefits in the ZAMBEZI River Basin.

It says the ZAMCOM has collaborated with its partners to organise the TWO-day-long event from the EIGHTH to the NINTH of this month at the UMODZI Park in the MALAWIAN capital, LILONGWE.

More than 100 delegates from the ZAMBEZI River Basin states, partner organisations and their constituents, as well as regional and international cooperating partners have attend the Forum.

A cross section of stakeholders including academics and the private sector from the Southern AFRICAN Region and other parts of the world also were in LILONGWE.

The 2018 event has brought together agents of stakeholders with interests in the management and development of water as well as related resources in the Basin to share knowledge and experiences.

THE RIPARIAN says their discussions have mainly aimed to provide advice and inputs that contribute to ZAMCOM initiatives and the ZAMBEZI Basin developments.

The publication says the WEFE Nexus Approach is a fairly new concept that looks at the inter-linkages between sectors and explore the best way to the coordinated approach to address challenges.

It says with a changing climate, increased population, and demand on depleting natural resources, coordinated planning and implementation of development initiatives is increasingly becoming important.

Already, recent droughts have had a huge impact on energy and food security in the riparian nations and the rest of the SADC Region; as these sectors depend on water and ecosystem services, clearly showing the need to coordinate programs against the challenges.

The FOURTH SADC Regional Strategic Action Plan for Integrated Water Resources Management recognises the WEF connection as a key approach to achieving water, energy, and food security.

THE RIPARIAN says a number of partners in the ZAMBEZI River Basin have started looking at the Nexus Approach in the context of the basin.

It quotes a water expert, ANDREW TAKAWIRA, as saying the Nexus Approach promotes maximising interdependencies and synergies between the THREE sectors in order to increase efficiencies, viability of projects and ensure sustainability.

The THIRD Forum has thus aimed to build on SADC Regional processes and ZAMBEZI River Basin activities to identify opportunities of a Nexus Approach to address poverty, social inclusion, gender equity, and economic development.

Authorities had expected the Forum, after considering things like decision support ways for WEFE security; nexus chances and investments; ecosystem management for water, energy, food security; and nexus governance, would address a number of issues.

They wanted ideas on how to raise awareness and enhance knowledge on how the WEFE Nexus Approach can address development challenges in the basin and support the implementation of the Strategic Plan for the ZAMBEZI River Basin.

Delegates have been expected to open channels for sharing experiences and opportunities of the WEFE Nexus Approach in shared river basins, as well as identifying gaps, challenges and chances in the implementation of the WEFE Nexus Approach.

Such channels would further help develop strategies and actions to facilitate the practical application of the NEXUS Approach by ZAMBEZI River Basin stakeholders and initiate a process to identify nexus investments in order to contribute to the ZAMCOM Vision.

ZAMCOM is a major river basin organisation set up in 2014 as an intergovernmental establishment that brings together EIGHT Riparian States in AFRICA.

The Riparian States are ANGOLA, BOTSWANA, MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, TANZANIA, ZAMBIA, and ZIMBABWE.

The basis for their cooperation is the Agreement on the Establishment of the ZAMBEZI Watercourse Commission, which was signed in 2004 and came into force in 2011, with its headquarters in HARARE, ZIMBABWE./Sabanews/cam

SADC TO HEAD AFRICA PEACEKEEPING AND SECURITY FORCE

AFRICA: MILITARY/SARDC/5/20/28 SABANews 1

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

FORMER COLONIAL BENEFICIARIES STILL HOLDING ONTO LAND

NAMIBIA: LIBERATION/NBC/5/10/18 SABANews 1

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

GOVERNMENT PLEDGES CONTINUED RECEPTION OF REFUGEES

ZAMBIA: REFUGEES/ZNBC/5/10/18 SABANews 1

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

VICE PRESIDENT PRESIDES OVER LAUNCH OF VITAL GLOBAL PEACE TOOL

ZIMBABWE: UNITED NATIONS/SABANEWS/4/10/18 SABANews 1

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

OPPOSITION PUTS NATION ON THE BRINK OF CIVIL UNREST

ZIMBABWE: POLITICS/SABANEWS/3/10/18 SABANews 1

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