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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Chinese business presence no deterrentChinese business presence no deterrentShould not affect other investors The fact that Chinese business is prevalent in the country should not impact other, Western investors. Commentators are of the opinion that the presence of Chinese investors will do nothing to deter Western-aligned investors from making any investments in Namibia. This comes in light of the United States' trade war with China.

    Academic Henning Melber said any US-led investment in Namibia would be considered if it was found that there was enough reason to invest.

    “Private investments by foreign companies and individuals are decided from a business perspective. If they promise returns, deals will be made. As long as the US administration does not operate with sanctions, a Chinese presence is an unlikely obstacle,” Melber said.

    According to Melber, it is a legitimate interest of a country to attract a diversity of foreign investors, provided they offer something in return for the local economy and citizens.

    “The American trade war with China and others is guided by interests at home, not abroad,” he added.

    Economics academic Professor Roman Grynberg echoed Melber's sentiments on investment.

    US investors will not be perturbed by Chinese investment in Namibia. What matters to US investors is whether what they wish to do is profitable and whether their investments are safe in Namibia,” Grynberg said.

    President Hage Geingob had last year during a meeting with the Jilin provincial committee of the Communist Party of China at State House questioned why Namibia could not do business with China.

    “We are being warned as if we are small children; that is sickening [...] we are being warned but we are mature people. We enter into agreements that will be beneficial to our people and China,” he said.

    “I keep telling them that China is everywhere, why do they come lecture us about China? China is in the United States, UK, France and everywhere. Why are we being warned like children?” he added.

    Bayin Chaolu, secretary of the Jilin provincial committee of the Communist Party had last year during a visit to Geingob said they wanted to identify or explore new areas of bilateral cooperation, such as in the areas of the automobile, agriculture, petroleum and chemical sectors.


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    Farmers should adopt a fodder planFarmers should adopt a fodder planPlant, harvest, process and store With capricious rainfall quite common in Namibia, farmers have been urged to cultivate, collect and store fodder for dry seasons. Livestock feeding is believed to be the most complex and costly practice on a farm, amongst other agricultural practises. In Namibia, livestock are predominantly reared on an extensive production system of which the cheapest feed-base is the rangeland on the farm.

    Over the years, the utilisation and pressure on Namibian rangelands have increased to an extent that both rangeland and livestock productivity have been gradually compromised. Agribank's technical officer of livestock within the bank's agri advisory services division, Erastus Ngaruka, says this is being exacerbated by erratic and capricious rainfall, as is currently being experienced in the form of recurrent droughts in the country.

    “Livestock farming dominates the Namibian agriculture sector and has a significant socio-economic value towards sustainable livelihoods in the country at all scales of production.”

    With regards to the current drought, Ngaruka says that a large number of livestock have died, especially cattle, while the ones sold are in poor condition, fetching little money as prices are low. Recently, an adult cow sold for as little as N$400 on auction. To further exacerbate matters, feeding costs have also increased.

    Ngaruka says that this is a big threat to farmers' livelihoods and the country's economy.

    “Having entered the normal dry season, the most difficult task at hand is to ensure that the remaining animals survive through the season, bearing in mind that the pattern of next season's rainfall activities are unknown at this stage.”

    According to Ngaruka, the survival of the remaining livestock will depend on the feeding regimes adopted by individual farmers.

    He says that it is therefore critical that farmers develop and adopt a Farm Fodder Flow Plan (FFFP) applicable to their specific farming conditions.

    An applicable FFFP will have to ensure that there is a continuous supply of sufficient fodder to the animals throughout every year. The plan should include sustainable grazing practices, producing and processing own fodder, as well as the storing of any available fodder and lick supplements for use during difficult times.

    “In particular, farm fodder production and processing at kraal level using cheaper, user-friendly and effective techniques should be fully explored and adopted as one possible way to lessen the impact of drought on farmers.”

    According to Ngaruka, the benefits include reduced livestock deaths, reduced feeding costs, maintaining productivity, reduced grazing pressure, additional and diversified farm income and reduced human-livestock food competition.

    Farm fodder production and processing entails the cultivation of common fields and processing their residues into animal fodder, cultivation of pasture or valuable perennial grasses, lucerne and other forage plants in backyard gardens or fields.

    It further includes hydroponic fodder production practices or use of crop sprouts as green fresh feed from hydroponic systems and the harvesting of edible forage resources such as wild melons, pods, leaves and twigs/branches from bush and tree prunes.

    “Generally, the lesson to be learned is that almost all rainy seasons in Namibia since the 2013 drought have not been favourable. As a drought preparedness action, farmers need to adopt drought feeding strategies and invest in appropriate technologies or machines available, such as a hammer mill and a feed mixer to process and formulate their own drought feeds,” said Ngaruka.

    He stressed that a good rainy season is not only about the amount of rainfall but its distribution and intensity over the season, and ultimately the quantity and quality of the forage yield.

    “The quantity and quality of feed available to the animal at the end of the rainy season will determine its strength and ability to survive until the next rainy season. Therefore, farmers need to ensure that their animals are adequately fed throughout every year.”


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    Hepatitis E: New infections doubleHepatitis E: New infections doubleWHO expresses concern The World Health Organisation says national and regional authorities need to step up efforts. The World Health Organisation (WHO) raised concerns this week following a sharp spike in new hepatitis E infections in June, and issued a cautionary note for efforts to be stepped up to end the nearly two-year outbreak, which has infected more than

    5 400 Namibians and killed 45.

    After only 56 new hepatitis E infections were reported between 20 May and 2 June, the health ministry's latest situation report on the outbreak confirmed this number doubled to 113 new infections between 3 and 16 June.

    In response, the WHO weekly bulletin on public health emergencies and outbreaks in Africa, issued on Monday, lists the challenges hampering efforts to bring the more than 20-month outbreak under control.

    Issued by the WHO health emergencies programme, the report warns that “national and regional authorities need to step up efforts to address these challenges and implement proven public health activities that will bring this outbreak to a close”.

    The report states that the “apparent increasing trend in the hepatitis E virus (HEV) cases in Namibia in the past few weeks is of concern, particularly in light of the deepening drought in the region, which is likely to compromise community water supplies further still”.

    The bulletin highlights that the hepatitis E outbreak in Namibia, which began in September 2017, “has become protracted and has spread geographically”.

    Namibia appears to be the first country to experience a nationwide outbreak of hepatitis E and the length of the outbreak has also surpassed the average of 18 months, experts noted.

    Among the challenges identified by the response teams on the ground are “suboptimal coordination of the outbreak response at all levels, inadequate safe water, sanitation and hygiene interventions and sanitation facilities in the areas impacted by the outbreak, mostly informal settlements”.

    Other challenges include inadequate risk communication strategies, and a lack of staff to support surveillance and data management at national level.


    The total number of confirmed HEV cases has now reached 5 423, up from 5 309 at the start of June.

    The health ministry confirmed that of the 113 new cases, the majority were reported in the Khomas Region (60), followed by 17 new cases in Erongo's informal settlements, eight new cases in Omusati, six new cases in Omaheke, while one new case each was reported in the Oshana, Ohangwena and Kavango regions between 3 and 16 June. The outbreak has affected mostly residents of informal settlements where access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is limited, including potable water, latrines and hand-washing facilities.

    The hardest hit informal settlements are Havana and Goreangab in Windhoek, and the DRC informal settlement in Swakopmund.

    In the Khomas Region, 3 529 persons have been infected, while 1 267 confirmed cases have been reported in Erongo.

    The remaining regions account for 12% of all cases.

    Breaking the chain

    A total of 37 cases of hepatitis A were reported in Omusati this year and are “presumed to be an outbreak”, according to the latest situation report.

    Hepatitis E and -A are both transmitted through the faecal-oral route or via contaminated food and water, and occur in areas with poor sanitation.

    “We need to break the chain of transmission. We haven't broken it yet,” Dr Bernard Haufiku, who heads the national health emergency management committee in response to the outbreak, told Namibian Sun last month.

    He underlined that hepatitis E, and now hepatitis A, “far from being only a health issue, is a socioeconomic issue” related to poverty, unemployment, poor hygiene and other struggles faced by communities living in the country's poorest and unserviced informal settlements.

    He stressed outbreaks begin “with sanitation, water provision and personal hygiene”.

    “And it will end with us addressing those three challenges. Those are the three fundamental challenges we are facing.”


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    Child support investigators on board soonChild support investigators on board soon The recruitment of 10 investigators to be deployed to nine magistrate courts in Namibia, which is set to significantly improve the handling of child support cases at maintenance courts, is in its final stages.

    “The officials are expected to commence their duties as soon as the recruitment process is done,” Simon Idipo, from the justice ministry, confirmed this week.

    He said the ministry is “still positive” the investigators will commence with their work this month “pending the finalisation of the process”.

    The absence of investigators in maintenance courts has been identified by experts as a key weakness in Namibia's child support court system, and many mothers have said they either had to undertake their own investigations to collect the necessary evidence or appoint private and costly investigators to boost their chances of success at court.

    In May, Namibian Sun reported exclusively that in line with these and other issues, the ministry advertised 10 positions in March for investigators to be deployed to maintenance courts in Ondangwa, Oshakati, Otjiwarongo, Rundu, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Windhoek and Katima Mulilo. Idipo said “the appointment of these officials will hugely resolve many hindrances which have been faced in resolving maintenance matters”.

    A 2013 in-depth study of Namibia's maintenance system and laws by the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) described the lack of investigators in child support cases as a “key concern”. The study found that on average, someone makes a maintenance complaint in Namibia every 30 minutes during working hours, totalling between 4 000 and 5 000 child support complaints each year across the country.

    On average, at the time, complainants were awarded around N$250 per child per month, which the study described as an unrealistic “reflection of needs”.

    The low child support payments were in part due to a “lack of thorough investigation of the financial situation of defendants, a problem that is mostly due to the lack of maintenance investigators appointed to the courts”, the study stated.

    The LAC recommended that, amongst other things, investigators will “allow the maintenance courts to ensure that defendants and witnesses are found and that the financial status of the parties is properly investigated, resulting in a higher success rate for maintenance complaints and the making of orders that reflect the real situation of the complainant and defendant”.

    The study highlighted that child support complaints are usually laid by mothers, with less than 1% of child support claims laid by fathers.

    A child's right

    In May, Ingrid Husselmann, the children's advocate in the Office of the Ombudsman, told Namibian Sun that in terms of Namibia's laws, both parents are obligated to maintain their children, and all children have the right to be maintained by both parents. Legally, the custodian parent can institute a claim for maintenance if it is not being paid willingly by the other parent, she explained.

    The law further allows someone who does not have the means to make cash payments to instead provide non-monetary or in-kind contributions. She said the ombudsman's office trusts that with the appointment of the investigators “most of the issues regarding claims for maintenance will be resolved”. Investigators will be able to carry out a number of duties, which have proved challenging to date, including locating people required to attend a child support enquiry, serving court papers, tracing and evaluating assets and other tasks. Yolande Engelbrecht of the LAC told Namibian Sun the investigators have “very wide powers of investigation”, including the power to demand wage and asset information from employers and banks.

    She said unlike maintenance officers, who have similar powers but less time, the investigators will “have more time for collecting information, without having to attend to other responsibilities at the same time”.

    James Itana of Regain Trust told Namibian Sun “the absence of men as fathers in Namibia is a well-known fact and it transcends the economic status of mothers”.

    “Most children in Namibia are being raised my single mothers.”

    Itana underlined “a father's involvement, active participation and care for their children should not be regarded as merely helping the mother, but should be seen as a mandatory responsibility and duty.

    Therefore, men cannot and should never be allowed to take a backseat where their parental duties are concerned.


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    Cattle 'poisonings' rock OhangwenaCattle 'poisonings' rock Ohangwena The directorate of veterinary services (DVS) at Ohangwena is investigating a possible case of poisoning after 18 cattle died mysteriously over the weekend.

    Martha Kavela from Ohaihana village near Eenhana lost 18 cattle on Friday evening and does not know the cause of death.

    She said her livestock had shown no previous signs of being ill.

    The information ministry's offices at Ohangwena Region informed Namibian Sun that another farmer at Ohainengena village lost seven cattle, while another in the Omundaungilo area lost 10 cattle on the same day. Chief veterinarian in the region, Dr Rauna Athingo, confirmed that samples were taken from the Ohaihana cattle and were sent to a Windhoek laboratory on Monday morning. The tests will determine the cause of death, she said.

    Kavela told Namibian Sun that on Friday evening they heard the cattle making strange noises while in their kraal, and after investigating, they saw that the animals were fighting for their lives.

    “We had 46 cattle in total and they all ate mahangu stalks from the field. They have been eating them since the beginning of June and now there is only stems, but we never experienced that anything was wrong until Friday evening. The cattle also drink from a community earthen dam. We just do not know what went wrong,” Kavela said. Athingo said she could not say much until the laboratory test results are available.

    She also cautioned farmers not to feed their livestock uncertified fodder. Athingo advised that community members should not consume the meat of the dead animals.

    Due to the devastating drought and poor rainfall, mahangu crops have not matured.

    Livestock owners were urged not to feed their animals young and underdeveloped mahangu plants, especially those that have not grown heads, as they may be toxic.

    This was after a farmer at Omutsegwonime in the Oshikoto Region lost 10 cattle after they were fed immature mahangu crops.

    State veterinarian at Omuthiya, Dr Frenada Haufiku, has previously cautioned farmers not to feed their livestock underdeveloped mahangu and sorghum plants.


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    Not everybody a winner in record US expansionNot everybody a winner in record US expansion Trevor Hunnicutt - Last month Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmour sold his guitar collection for US$21.5 million, including one piece - his famed "Black Strat" Fender Stratocaster - that went for nearly US$4 million to the owner of the US National Football League's Indianapolis Colts.

    The "Money" singer set a musical instrument sales record in the charity auction, marking yet another milestone for a booming market just weeks after New York-based art dealer Sotheby's Holdings, auctioned Claude Monet's "Meules" for US$110.7 million, the most ever for an Impressionist painting.

    And it is not just instruments or paintings in high demand among the world's billionaire set.

    Auction houses themselves now appear to be prized vanity purchases: Just a few days before the Pink Floyd auction, Franco-Israeli cable magnate Patrick Drahi, whose firm Altice earned significant money in the United States, made a US$3.7 billion bid for Sotheby's, which had just hosted the Monet sale.

    Gilded Age

    Welcome to the longest US economic expansion in history, one perhaps best characterised by the excesses of extreme wealth and an ever-widening chasm between the unfathomably rich and everyone else.

    Indeed, as the expansion entered its record-setting 121st month on Monday, signs of a new Gilded Age are all over.

    Big-money deals are getting bigger, from corporate mergers and acquisitions, to individuals buying luxury penthouses, sports teams, yachts and all-frills pilgrimages to the ends of the earth. And while these deals grab headlines, there is a deeper trend at work. The number of billionaires in the United States has more than doubled in the last decade, from 267 in 2008 to 607 last year, according to UBS.

    "The rich have gotten richer and they've gotten richer faster," said John Mathews, head of Private Wealth Management and Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management. "The drive or the desire for consumption has just gone upscale."

    Struggle, stagnation

    But there are also signs of struggle and stagnation at lower-income levels. The wealthiest fifth of Americans hold 88% of the country's wealth, a share that has grown since before the crisis, Federal Reserve data through 2016 shows. Meanwhile, the number of people receiving federal food stamps tops 39 million, below the peak in 2013 but still up 40% from 2008 even though the country's population has only grown about 8%.

    Still, a decade ago, this kind of growth was not thought possible. The US financial system was in a shambles and people feared bank failures could permanently undermine capitalism.

    Policymakers scrambled to stabilise markets and boost asset prices when US housing markets unraveled. They did less to tackle income and wealth inequality.

    Now, many of the signs of mega-wealth that preceded that financial crisis are once again on display.

    Wealth effect

    The examples are big and small.

    The cost of a dinner at the French Laundry, the chic California restaurant, is up 35% to US$325 per person, from US$240 10 years ago, beating inflation by nearly 20%.

    Undergraduate tuition at Ivy League mainstay Columbia University is a hair under US$60 000 a year, up by half from US$39 000 in the 2008 school year.

    The US stock market, measured by the S&P 500, has tripled in the last decade.

    Hedge fund boss Ken Griffin set a record for a US home sale when he bought a US$238 million penthouse condominium on "Billionaires' Row" just off New York City's Central Park.

    Yet rents in New York have risen twice as fast as wages, according to StreetEasy data from 2010-2017, squeezing lower-income residents. US home prices were near their lowest levels of affordability since 2008, research by ATTOM Data Solutions shows. And the number of homeless people sleeping in the city's shelters is 70% higher than a decade ago, according to the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group.

    "Under-resourced areas are not getting any better; the housing opportunity for them is not getting any better," said Carolyn Valli, CEO at Central Berkshire Habitat For Humanity, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, at a recent economic policy event.

    She said high healthcare costs and a lack of large employers mean fewer jobs in some areas. Food, utilities and housing costs, meanwhile, remain high. "It doesn't feel like a boom yet."


    Anger over what some see as the unfairness of the economy has bubbled into the country's politics, with Democratic presidential candidates promising to lower healthcare costs, guarantee jobs and tax the rich.

    Economic policymakers think the expansion could dim as stimulus from tax cuts and low interest rates fades while a US-China trade skirmish brews. They worry that even the underwhelming gains made by low-income people in the last decade are fragile and that people only recently brought into the workforce could be the first fired when a recession hits.

    "The benefits of this long recovery are now reaching these communities to a degree that has not been felt for many years," Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said last week. "Many people who in the past struggled to stay in the workforce are now getting an opportunity to add new and better chapters to their life stories. All of this underscores how important it is to sustain this expansion." - Nampa/Reuters

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    West African 'eco' dream gives economists nightmaresWest African 'eco' dream gives economists nightmaresScepticism about single currency ECOWAS had previously committed to creating a common currency by 2020. It is difficult to see Nigeria agree to being in a monetary union if it is not the boss. - Ndongo Samba Sylla, Economist: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Philippe Siuberski and Malick Rokhy - For decades it was a dream of West African finance ministers: ushering in a regional single currency to boost trade and growth. But some economists say plans to launch "the eco" remain unrealistic and potentially disastrous for the region's economies.

    Almost 30 years since the goal was first sketched out, the Economic Community of West African States, better known as ECOWAS, will meet in Abuja on Saturday to accelerate plans for what they see as an African version of the euro, the European Union's single currency that was forged out of national units over two decades ago.

    The African 15-nation bloc had previously committed to creating a common currency, which supporters argue would significantly boost cross border trade in West Africa, by 2020.

    ECOWAS leaders have already acknowledged that target date is unlikely to be met but have vowed to push on, while accepting there are numerous stumbling blocks, including a mega-country-sized one: Nigeria.


    "It is difficult to see Nigeria agree to being in a monetary union if it is not the boss," said economist Ndongo Samba Sylla from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Dakar. "It [the currency] would be launched into a void," he argued.

    Nigeria, whose oil-dependent economy accounts for two-thirds of the region's GDP, would likely dominate a future monetary zone and has so far been sceptical about its benefits.

    Economists compare the "Nigeria factor" to Germany's dominance in the eurozone, questioning whether sometimes disparate economies with varying levels of debt and deficits can successfully share the same currency.

    The multi-year eurozone debt crisis, many argue, was proof that single currencies - when badly implemented - can have a catastrophic economic impact.

    "[A single currency] seems a little bit premature considering that Nigeria hasn't even signed up for regional integration in ECOWAS," said Andrew S. Nevin, chief economist at PwC West Africa.

    Trade priority

    He argued that a West African single currency should not necessarily be the top priority.

    "You should first improve the implementation of existing ECOWAS trading agreements, then improve the physical infrastructure," Nevin said.

    "The third more pressing issue would be the ability to trade in every country's native currency, without using a third currency like euro or US dollars."

    ECOWAS was set up in 1975 and is today comprised of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo - representing a total population of around 385 million inhabitants.

    Eight ECOWAS countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) jointly use the CFA franc.

    They are moored to the single European currency and are gathered in an organisation called the West African Monetary Union, or WAMU.

    But the seven other ECOWAS countries have their own currencies, none of them freely convertible.

    Step too far

    Bunching them all together under "the eco", many economists argue, could be a step too far.

    Former senior economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Abdourahmane Sarr believes West African leaders must face up to a number of choices - including officially postponing the 2020 launch date.

    The eco, as currently envisaged, "would have the same congenital disadvantages as the euro," Sarr said, who now heads the financial development think tank CEFDEL in Dakar.

    At Saturday's summit, ECOWAS leaders will examine preparatory work adopted earlier this month including consensus on the name "eco", preferred over "afri" and "kola".

    They will also discuss the "criteria of convergence" - not one ECOWAS country has consistently met the economic goals for the currency.

    "To me what's more important than a possible single currency is that there is an ability to trade between countries in their native currency," said Nevin. – Nampa/AFP

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  • 07/02/19--16:00: Healing the African family
  • Healing the African familyHealing the African family International Organisation for Migration (IOM) regional director for west and central Africa, Richard Danziger, describes migration as the defining issue of this century. One billion people - a seventh of the world's population - are migrants. Some 258 million people are international migrants, 40 million are internally displaced and 24 million are refugees or asylum-seekers, he wrote for Africa Renewal online. He said there was no longer a single state that can claim to be untouched by human mobility. Widespread population displacement is also linked to violent conflicts and unstable environmental conditions that have led to millions of people being displaced or needing humanitarian assistance in Africa. Migrants fleeing violence have spilled across the borders of neighbouring countries. Namibian head of state and Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson, Hage Geingob - speaking during the 2019 Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa ministerial conference held in Windhoek last week - said African counties need to create conditions that will keep their people on the continent and entice those back who have left. Geingob said Africa continues to battle irregular migration and the displacement of citizens, due to conflicts and the search for better economic conditions.

    “We have also noted with concern that Africans lose their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea en route to seek refuge in Europe.” Geingob said that at the same, “we need to promote the re-admission and reintegration of the diaspora back to Africa”. He said such efforts will ensure that our people can return to their countries of origin with dignity, and contribute to the development of the continent. Geingob added, crucially, that migration must be seen as a means through which Africans can aspire to greater dignity, safety and a better future.

    “We owe it to our people, as we are all part of the regional family, the African family and the human family.”

    This is a critical message, which must be heeded, if we are to heal the African family.

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    The new era for market researchThe new era for market research When we look at market research over time, it can be said that it has always had a special role to play in the marketing or communication function of any organisation or business.

    Several industries or even products and services have flourished because of market research.

    As the world is moving at a tremendous pace, consumers directly impact the medium or source to be used. Consumers are so overwhelmed with the ever changing digital world that they barely have time to stand still and think about what it is that they want and what it is that they need. In some cases it can even be stated that consumers ‘forget’ that they have a voice.

    A new era has come for market research where organisations and businesses have to be even more consumer-centric than ever before, because we live in a competitive world. The business world needs readily available data in order to assist with decision-making in terms of marketing strategies, communication plans and stakeholder engagement.

    PwC has recently launched a research solution where the aim is to be agile, but still maintaining a strong focus on quality to test the here and now.

    The concept of panel research

    Clients are now able to join this research offering and run projects as and when needed. The sample sizes that will be executed is not aimed at gaining high volumes of opinions, but rather at smaller impactful responses with a pre-determined consumer profile that will assist with quick decision making.

    What do we as a client get out of this?

    • Impactful, smaller sample size projects

    • Quick turn-around time

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    • Effectively budget for any unplanned priority research by signing up for the panel research solution.

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    • With each project, consumer profiles will be selected and be invited to take part.

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    • Written invitations and acceptance will be obtained from each participant before included on the panel.

    • Year contract solution with subscribers.

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    Remember, before making your next big decision, first ask the panel.

    For more information on the concept of panel research, kindly contact Daleen Small at daleen.small@pwc.com

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  • 07/02/19--16:00: Massacre case stalls
  • Massacre case stallsMassacre case stallsSuspect still waiting for psychiatric evaluation a year after murders The lengthy waiting list for state psychiatric evaluation has left court officials scratching their heads, a year after five family members were slaughtered. The mental evaluation of Rundu massacre suspect Jesaya Gabriel Chuhunda is yet to be completed nearly 11 months after magistrate ordered that a report be finalised and presented to the court.

    Chuhunda, who was 20 at the time of the incident, is accused of slaughtering five family members a year ago at Ndama location in Rundu. The nation was left in utter shock by the killings.

    Chuhunda is charged with five counts of murder for allegedly killing his grandmother Ndongo Ntumba (77), his mother Ndara Elizabeth Mpande (46), and his three nephews Musenge Elias Tjingelesu (3), Hausiku Daniel Kapumburu (4) and Musenge Petrus Muruti (6).

    Preliminary reports indicated he allegedly carried out the gruesome murders when his sister refused to give him money. It was also alleged at the time of the murders that he was a drug user. Since his second court appearance on 20 August 2018, Chuhunda has not set foot in the Rundu Magistrate's Court again.

    This was after Magistrate Sonia Samupofu ordered that he undergo psychiatric evaluation. Chuhunda was also told to apply for legal aid.

    Since then the case has been postponed on several occasions, pending the finalisation of the psychiatric evaluation report and it being presented to the court.

    Last Thursday the matter was again postponed by Magistrate Hellen Olaiya until 26 July, as the court is still waiting for the report.

    No progress was disclosed in terms of when the report will be available or whether a spot had been secured for the suspect to undergo evaluation at the Windhoek Central Hospital's mental healthcare centre.

    The centre is the only state-owned facility in the country that provides forensic psychiatry.

    It has a bed capacity of 80, however, only 16 of these are allocated for forensic psychiatry.

    The head of the mental healthcare centre, Hileni Ndjaba, explained the procedure when it comes to evaluating patients referred to it by the courts.

    Ndjaba said they normally receive an order from a court to observe a patient for 30 days, but it can take months or even years for a patient to be seen, as they have a limited number of beds, and a waiting list has been created.

    This means that after 30 days, a new batch of patients are accommodated.

    Ndjaba refused to share how many patients are on the waiting list.

    When asked about Chuhunda, she said once his name is next on the list, he will be called for an evaluation.

    “As the ministry of health, we have put a system in place; we don't work for the courts, but we work with the courts,” Ndjaba said.

    “The courts have told you that they have a problem with the waiting list; unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it, as it is the mechanism we have put in place to work better and we believe the case will still be finalised because the person will not die. When his name is reached, he will be called in,” Ndjaba said.

    “If they are not seen on time it does not mean that they are going to die; it's not an illness but a process for the court to finalise what they are fighting for.”

    Ndjaba said there only three clinical psychiatrists in the country to serve over 2.5 million people.


    The Rundu massacre sent shockwaves through the country. There was a public outcry after allegations were made on social media that Chuhunda's sister had contacted the police shortly before the murders, but they did not respond as there was no transport available.

    Disciplinary action was taken against two senior officers in the aftermath of the killings.

    Former Rundu station commander Chief Inspector Andreas Mushongo Haingura and Chief Inspector Eberhard Muyambo were found guilty of negligence and fined N$1 500 each.

    Haingura was redeployed to the Kavango East regional police headquarters after the incident.


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  • 07/02/19--16:00: RCC sued for N$101m debt
  • RCC sued for N$101m debtRCC sued for N$101m debt Bank Windhoek has dragged the beleaguered Roads Contractor Company (RCC) to court for debts totalling over N$101 million, in a total of 35 separate claims.

    This is despite undertakings by the RCC board and its line ministry, the ministry of works, that a second rescue plan was being finalised in September last year. At the time, board chairman Obren Sibeya told Namibian Sun: “The RCC is at an advanced stage of finalising its rescue plan, which will first be discussed by the full board, the shareholder and thereafter communicated to all other stakeholders.”

    The first rescue plan was a proposed cash injection of N$580 million from Chinese construction firm Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian. Repayment would have taken place in the form of participation by the Chinese company in current and other identified future projects for “five years or earlier”.

    The 47% stake that would have gone to the Chinese firm in these projects was worth an estimated N$2 billion. Government pulled the plug on that deal in May last year. The parastatal's money woes come a long way.

    To recover funds, the company held an online auction of its “old and obsolete” equipment in November 2016.

    By September 2017, cabinet resolved to place the company under judicial management, but the bill is yet to be tabled in parliament. Had it been passed, the RCC would have been granted a stay in legal proceedings from its creditors.

    In its particulars of claim, filed on 8 March this year, the bank details eight claims stemming from suspensive sales agreements signed in May 2013, 16 more signed in June of the same year and another four signed in September 2013, all for a variety of equipment including 24 graders, a trailer, and three trucks.

    In claims 29 and 30, the bank says an overdraft facility of N$2 million was taken in April 2018 along with another of N$79.4 million. Both became due and payable on 25 May last year, a little more than a month after being taken.

    In claim 31, the bank says it advanced, on 21 August 2014, a loan of N$15.9 million, and another of N$18.1 million on 17 September 2013, making up claim 32. For claims 33 and 34, the bank says it advanced, on 27 November 2008, two separate loans of N$35.9 million and N$22.5 million. The final claim, claim 35, was for a mortgage loan of N$3.4 million, signed on 16 May 2012.

    For the first 28 claims, Bank Windhoek asks for interest at its prime rate, calculated from July last year, as well as costs on an attorney and own client scale, as agreed upon. For claims 29 to 34, totalling more than N$97.3 million, the bank asks for interest at its prime rate from 21 January this year, as well as costs. For claim 35, the final claim totalling N$3 393 261.45, the bank asked for interest as calculated on its mortgage lending rate from 21 January 2019.

    Moreover, on all the claims, the bank asked for an order declaring unit 4 at Park Mignon as well as the RCC head office at 140 Lazarett Street, measuring 5.3617 hectares, executable.

    Yesterday, before Judge Shafimana Ueitele, the parties, who had attended mediation, informed the court that a second session, in a bid to settle the matter, would take place on 8 July, and asked the court to postpone the matter to 30 July. Frans Kwala from Kwala and Co. Incorporated appears for the RCC, while Elize Yssel from Engling, Stritter and Partners appears for Bank Windhoek.


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    Hornkranz triggers N$1m lawsuitHornkranz triggers N$1m lawsuit The Namibian army chief and minister, along with the government, are being sued for N$1 million in a lawsuit brought by a civilian who claims on the last day of 2018, he was forcibly dragged out of a car by soldiers and unlawfully assaulted until he lost consciousness.

    Taleni Petrus Manja (37), who filed his lawsuit in May this year, claims that on New Year's Eve shortly before midnight he was “forcefully pulled out of a stationary motor vehicle in an aggressive manner” by members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) at a four-way stop in Babylon.

    He claims he was physically attacked by the soldiers who “kicked him, with their booted feet, all over his body” and especially in the head area causing lacerations.

    He claims he was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment by the group of soldiers, as well as a group of six or more police officers at the scene who questioned him while he was being assaulted in a “aggressive and arbitrary manner thereby confusing him”.

    The incident took place a little more than a week after the joint police and NDF crime prevention operation Hornkranz was launched on 21 December.

    Manja claims he was eventually instructed to walk towards a nearby riverbed causing him to fear he would be further assaulted out of public view. He claims while he was being forced to walk to the riverbed “fully aware that [he] was in pain” after the assault and despite his injuries, he lost consciousness and collapsed on the ground.

    He says he was not taken to a nearby medical facility despite the clear need for “urgent medical assistance”.

    Manja is asking the court to grant him the sum of N$600 000 for pain and suffering and additional N$400 000 for “loss of enjoyment of amenities of life, and incapability to continue with normal daily activities”.

    The papers filed in court show he was self-employed prior to the assault.

    He claims that as a “result of the unlawful and intentional conduct of the defendant's employees” he sustained bodily injuries including a laceration around his right eye.

    He informed the court he continues to suffer from “extreme pain and suffering” in addition to having suffered and continuing to suffer from emotional and psychological trauma.

    In early May, the LAC confirmed they were at the time working on seven claims of unlawful assaults against the safety and security and defence ministries that related to Operation Hornkranz.

    Moreover, it was also working on several additional cases against the safety and security ministry related to unlawful assaults, some of which predated the operation.

    Sharen Zenda of the LAC is acting on behalf of Manja, while Freddy Kadhila from the Office of the Government Attorney is representing the three defendants.

    High Court judge Shafimana Ueitele is presiding. This week the case was postponed to 13 August.


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    Women struggle up steep corporate ladderWomen struggle up steep corporate ladderIt’s still a man’s world For women, especially black women, gender equality in Namibia’s boardrooms remains elusive. Jo-Maré Duddy – By the end of March last year, only one in five executive directors of companies that submitted affirmative action reports in Namibia was women.

    Comparing data in AA reports submitted to the Employment Equity Commission (EEC), it appears that women have made little progress climbing the corporate ladder in the past nine years.

    In 2009/10, 511 AA reports were submitted to the EEC. It shows that 18% of all executive directors in the country was female. In 2017/18, the EEC received 923 AA reports, nearly 81% more than 2009/10. It indicated that 21% of all top positions was filled by women.

    The picture for black Namibian women looks even bleaker.

    In 2009/10, just over 8% of all executive directors came from the racially disadvantaged group. Last year, the figure dropped to 7.3%.

    In 2017/18, AA documents indicated a total of 1 268 executive directors in the entire labour force of companies which submitted annual reports to the EEC. Of this, 1 008 or nearly 80% were men. 92 racially disadvantaged women were executive directors, compared to 129 or 10% white women. Three women with disabilities filled executive director positions. Nearly 3% - 36 executive directors – was foreign women.

    About 40% of all management positions – executive directors, senior management and middle management – last year was filled by women. In 2009/10, the figure was around 41%.

    Of the 6 378 management posts filled by women in 2017/18, nearly 70% or 4 446 were black women.


    A total of 38 people were promoted to executive directors last year, of which 16 (42%) were women. Only 5 of these women – 13% - were black. Eight were white, while three were foreigners.

    In 2009/10, about 35% of promotions to executive director was women. Around 24% of these promotions was black women.

    More than 1 000 management promotions across the entire spectrum were made last year – executive directors, senior management and middle management. Women clinched 453 or 44% of these promotions.

    One in three of these promotions went to black women. Compared to 2009/10, the figures are flat.

    Training, appointments

    The total labour force of companies which submitted AA reports to the EEC in 2017/18 was 277 745. About 46% of all employees was female, virtually unchanged from 2009/10.

    A total of 69 274 employees received training last year, of which 43% was women and 40% racially disadvantaged women.

    Of the 280 executive directors who were trained, only 10% was black women. About 31% of all management corps trained was racially disadvantaged women.

    In total, 64 934 people were recruited last year. Of these, nearly 44% was women and 42% black women. Around 39% of all management appointments were women. About one in five of these appointments went to a black woman.


    The percentage of women executive directors in sectors in 2017/18 was: agriculture (0%); construction (9%); education, training and development (30%); financial intermediation (30%); fishing (11%); health and welfare (41%); IT, electronics and telecommunications (19%); local government, water and related services (13%); manufacturing (14%); mining (5%); private security, legal and correctional services (24%); public service (24%); services sector (21%); tourism and hospitality (39%); transport (9%); and wholesale and retail (19%).

    The percentage of black women executive directors in sectors in 2017/18 was: agriculture (0%); construction (5%); education, training and development (18%); financial intermediation (7%); fishing (11%); health and welfare (13%); IT, electronics and telecommunications (12%); local government, water and related services (13%); manufacturing (3%); mining (5%); private security, legal and correctional services (12%); public service (24%); services sector (9%); tourism and hospitality (5%); transport (0%); and wholesale and retail (2%).

    Labour force

    The latest data of the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) shows the country’s population grew by about 3.8% from 2016 to 2018. Last year, women made up nearly 51.4% of Namibia’s total population of 2 413 643.

    The country’s female population rose by 3.8% or 45 469 to 1 240 103.

    Last year, Namibia had 803 250 females of working age. Of this, 554 741 or more than two-thirds formed part of the female labour force.

    Namibia’s total female work force increased by 38 517 or nearly 7.5% from 2016 to 2018, according to the NSA’s labour force surveys. The biggest chunk of this labour force – 96 628 out of 554 741 – fell in the age group 25 to 29.

    Of Namibia’s entire female work force in 2018, about 56% or 311 685 women lived in urban areas. With 118 059 working women, the Khomas region had the biggest female labour force.

    Most women worked in agriculture, forestry and fishing (77 166), followed by accommodation and food services (63 900), as well as domestic workers (51 744).

    Of Namibia’s entire workforce of 725 742 last year, only about 18.5% of employed women were entitled to paid leave. A mere 17.5% of working women received paid sick leave.

    The average monthly wage for a woman last year was N$7 789, about 3.3% less than that of a man. From 2016 to 2018, the mean monthly wage for a woman increased by about 17.3%, while a man on average earned 17.6% more.


    A total of 190 507 women were unemployed last year, 7 102 or 3.6% less than 2016. However, women’s unemployment rate of 34.3% was higher than that of men (32.5%). Namibia’s overall unemployment rate in 2018 was 33.4%.

    Unemployment was the highest in Omaheke where 50% of women in the labour force was jobless. Other regions with high rates were Kavango East (48%), Kunene (45%) and Otjozondjupa (41%). The unemployment rate for women in Khomas was 32%.

    Nearly 15% of women with a university certificate, diploma or degree was stranded without a job last year. Nearly 9% with a postgraduate qualification couldn’t find employment.

    Nearly 76% of women was unemployed for a year or more.

    Of the labour force of 289 794 women aged 15 to 34 years last year, about 48.5% was jobless. The comparative figure for men was 43.7%.

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  • 06/27/19--16:00: Keeping the momentum going
  • Keeping the momentum goingKeeping the momentum going Dolphin Park is the place to be tomorrow South Africa’s Da Carpo will headline the Dolphin Park Aqua Fest tomorrow at Walvis Bay.

    The festival’s public relations manager Rakela Nandago told tjil that in a nutshell, the Dolphin Park Aqua Fest is a unique experience combining entrepreneurship, tourism and entertainment during the slowest season of the year.

    The event is organised by the Aqua Fest organising committee consisting of handpicked youth from Walvis Bay with previous events and activations backgrounds.

    Nandago added that the event is set to help facilitate local awareness, demonstrate direct economic benefit to the Walvis Bay and Swakopmund communities, and act as a vehicle or starting point for youth involvement or change through additional local job creation.

    Commenting on the line-up, Nandago emphasised that the Dolphin Park Aqua Fest is a strictly DJs-only event.

    “We have a committee of coastal-based youth whose primary function is to ensure that all acts create the desired emotional contour to engage our audience and deliver entertainment value worth every cent spent by our audience,” said Nandago.

    Da Capo from South Africa will be headlining the Dolphin Park Aqua Fest alongside Alexander Popov from Russia and a local line-up consisting of mostly Walvis Bay and Swakopmund based DJs. “This is to demonstrate the direct economic benefit we are encouraging for the community through the event.” The local DJs will include; DJ Castro, DJ Maggz, DJ Waxa, DJ Xavi, Pierre Pienaar, Banger Drums, DJ LX, DJ MicadE, DJ Dreas, Dj Mapiiano and Doka Music.

    “This will be our inaugural Aqua Fest; we firmly believe in taking baby steps and as result this will also act as a research phase to survey our targeted audience and get input from the community on how we can grow the Aqua Fest brand together moving forward,” shared Nandago.

    The organisers encourage residents of Walvis Bay and surrounding areas, SMEs, youth, community organisations, corporates, media and visitors from all over Namibia to come celebrate the community’s trade richness, dynamism, and cultural heritage. Tickets are available at Webtickets.


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  • 06/27/19--16:00: Boardroom talk for creatives
  • Boardroom talk for creativesBoardroom talk for creatives Most of the time, if not all the time, creatives don't know how to express themselves in a boardroom meeting to get the message across the way people can understand it. Is this causing lack of funding for projects? Possibly, yes.

    If you are lucky and get a meeting to do a presentation or sell your idea make sure to prepare yourself very well.

    Firstly, make sure that you are good at public speaking, or have the necessary presentation skills, because this will help you to carry your message over the right way. Secondly, sit in the power seat which is the middle spot on the long side, facing the door, as this would make it easy for your voice to be heard. Onto the next which is, speak in shorter sentences. Usually a meeting is set for 30 minutes and you must utilise this time to give through the vital information that they need to hear, and shorter sentences are harder to interrupt and you won't end up mumbling things that don't make sense.

    Another one which we usually miss is to make direct eye contact and don't sway on your chair. These are seen as part of your attitude towards possible partners and whether you are serious about your presentation. Pause, and ask if anyone wants to ask a question is the next point I want to bring forward. It's very important to ask during your presentation and not wait until the end before you open the floor for questions. Ensure you have visuals that would make it easy for them to understand what you are talking about; wording alone can be very boring. Before I continue, if you don't have the courage or knowledge or the skills to present your idea, I would advise you to get someone who is comfortable speaking in front of people, but they must be knowledgeable on the topic at hand. If you are more than one person, give each other chances to speak but don't question each other or talk over each other. Mostly importantly, know how your brand can benefit their brand and how it can be aligned with their strategy to maximise on marketing.

    The question will always be there, what can your brand do for our brand? You should refrain from saying “we will give you exposure through social media or traditional media”. That's a no-go area. There are so many ways to say it indirectly though because they would want to see a return on invest or the reach of their CSR project. In conclusion, there are many boardroom tips to make sure that they hear and understand you before you leave. And before I forget, always thank them for the meeting and send a follow-up email expressing your gratitude, attaching the presentation to it as well.

    * Alvaro is a brand strategist

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  • 06/27/19--16:00: Taking it international
  • Taking it internationalTaking it internationalComplementing Namibian music with stunning visuals Having worked with some of the biggest names in music, it is plain to see why Undjee Reggie Zaire from Reggie Films is more than just your average video director. We caught up with the hard-working filmmaker for him to share how his hobby turned into something that is contributing to the growth of Namibian music, and his new business ventures.

    Like many other people, Zaire polished his video-directing skills through YouTube. He admitted that the moment he made his first music video was not exactly the same time he fell in love with the art of video directing. “At the time it was just for fun and it was back in 2011 – my last year of high school. I took a bit of a hiatus as I had to go to college and pursue a degree in Architectural Technology and Design at Northern Virginia Community College in the United States,” he shared.

    His first commercially successful music video was Sally Boss Madam's Natural, a video he says opened up many doors for him in the entertainment arena. In his early days of shooting music videos, Zaire mentioned that on average he used to shoot one music video a month and this gradually increased to three or four per month. “That is when I quit architecture because I started making almost as much as I was earning at my nine-to-five job and it was easy to convince my parents of this decision,” said Zaire.

    Zaire pointed out delivery, quality and affordable pricing as the key elements that have catapulted the success of his video production firm, Reggie Films. On charging less for quality work, Zaire mentioned that his rates are affordable because he wants to give an opportunity to every artist, regardless of their background, to be able to afford quality music videos and push their passion to the greatest it can possibly get.

    “Before me there was just Desert Films for high-quality music videos and artists did not really have another option.

    “I also do not hire a lot of staff, which makes it easier for me to charge less because I have fewer expenses in that regard,” he said.

    Zaire added that he has learned something from keeping his crew small, stating that when there are many voices it's hard to reach an agreement that everyone will be happy with. “On set I am the director, the director of photography (cinematographer) and off-set, I still edit the footage that is why I refer myself as a filmmaker,” said Zaire.

    Describing his style of storytelling, Zaire said he tries to avoid having clear storylines, the reason being that we have been told about storylines our whole lives and he believes videos with a storyline can be boring sometimes. “What I try to do is take the literal meaning of a song and get creative images that tell the story, instead of having a clear storyline. With my videos I try to do something different from the norm and I am glad to be working with artists who are open to new ideas,” he said. He emphasised that he wants to be able to take music videos in Namibia to a standard where people say, this does not look Namibian. “I love such compliments, they motivate me to always keep improving and refining my craft,” he said.

    He mentioned working on projects with MTV, the Office of the First Lady and travelling around the country as some of his highlights of being a video director. He further stated that he was also on set with Nigerian rapper Ice Prince for KP Illest's Energy music video, an experience he said was amazing. “Ice Prince is the coolest celebrity I have met. For someone who has over three million followers on Instagram you would expect him to just come on set do his thing and leave but he was chilled; he was even telling me to relax,” he shared.

    On entrepreneurship, Zaire recently launched his premium Za.ir honey bush Gin, a dream come true for him as he mentioned that he has always wanted to have his own alcoholic beverage. Za.ir honey bush Gin is handcrafted with nine ingredients, honey bush being the main ingredient. “This should be the only honey bush gin in the world.

    “I wanted to create something that is purely Namibian with great potential of competing on an international stage.”

    He admitted that venturing into the liquor business arena was a scary venture, but stressed that fear usually drives him to work hard and attain his goals with less disappointments. “The same drive and passion I have for music videos is the same drive and energy I am investing in my gin because I want this to be one of the brands from Namibia that is recognised internationally,”he said.


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  • 06/27/19--16:00: Rössing sale approved
  • Rössing sale approvedRössing sale approvedChinese buyer told to protect local jobs, procurement The sale of the Rössing uranium mine to the China National Uranium Corporation has been approved, with stringent conditions. The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) has approved the sale of Rössing Uranium Limited to the China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC), with stringent conditions.

    NaCC spokesperson Dina Gowases announced this yesterday. While it was found by the commission that the transaction would not result in any unfair competition, the NaCC felt the procurement of local goods by the CNUC and job security for locals was a notable concern.

    To safeguard employment and local procurement, the commission imposed certain conditions, Gowases said. “There shall be no merger-specific retrenchments of employees of Rössing Uranium for a period of two years. Rössing shall maintain a ratio of at least 95% local employees to foreign employees until the expiry of the lifespan of the mine,” she said. As far as procurement was concerned, the commission said Rössing was to abide by its 2013 procurement policy. “Rössing shall not implement any changes to its 30 July 2013 procurement policy, which will have the effect of providing for less favourable terms to local suppliers, until the expiry of the lifespan of the mine,” Gowases said. Under the framework, for purchases below N$250 000, Rössing is expected to procure a minimum of 80% of any such goods, services or products from companies that are majority Namibian-owned and registered. And at least 75% of its staff complement must be Namibian.

    Rössing's total expenditure on procurement in 2018 equated to N$2.4 billion, of which N$1.4 billion was spent on locally procured goods and services. In addition, Rössing is not allowed to employ any non-Namibian at management level on any basis, other than on a two-year fixed-term contract, she said. Rio Tinto entered an agreement to sell its 69% shareholding of the loss-making Rössing uranium mine to the CNUC in November 2018 for a reported N$1.5 billion. The sale will underpin the continuation of operations at the Rössing mine, especially in a low uranium price environment, mine managing director Richard Storrie said. Rio Tinto owns 69% of the Rössing mine, while the Namibian government holds a 3% stake and it has the majority (51%) when it comes to voting rights. The Iranian Foreign Investment Company is a passive legacy investor in Rössing Uranium, holding a 15% stake that goes back to the early 1970s, during the financing of the mine. The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa owns 10%, while local individual shareholders own a combined 3% shareholding. The mine has enjoyed the title of being the largest open-cast mine in the world and has been in operation for over 40 years.

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  • 06/27/19--16:00: Coronation under threat
  • Coronation under threatCoronation under threat Contender for the Ondonga kingship, Konisa Eino Kalenga, as well as senior members of the Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA), have applied for an interdict, on an urgent basis, to stop the swearing in of Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the new king this weekend.

    The ceremony is planned for tomorrow at Onambango in the Oshana Region.

    Nangolo's succession to the throne is disputed by Kalenga and a section of the royal family, who are contesting urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga's decision to designate him as the new king.

    They maintain Kalenga has been “nominated” by “authorised” members of the royal family to succeed the late King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, who died in April.

    These authorised members are elderly females of the royal family - Selma Sheyavali, Heleni Auala, Hilma Nambahu and Aily Petrus - who are said to have the power under Ondonga customary law to nominate and appoint the hereditary king.

    In his court application, Kalenga seeks, on an urgent basis, to have Nangolo's candidacy as king overturned and the coronation stopped.

    He also wants Mushelanga's decision to be reviewed and set aside.

    Mushelenga earlier this month said Kalenga's application for designation as the new king did not pass the verification process.

    Kalenga's legal representatives, Shikongo Law Chambers, on 10 June wrote to Mushelenga saying the minister was not in a position “to act fairly and reasonably” because he was not adequately informed.

    Shikongo Law Chambers said this specifically relates to the failure of Oshana governor Elia Kaulifewangali Irimari to verify Kalenga's application.

    Kalenga's lawyers then asked for a written assurance from the minister that he would not implement his “unlawful and invalid” decision to approve Nangolo's application to succeed the late King Elifas.

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    Shifeta in 'tribal' timber stormShifeta in 'tribal' timber storm ?

    Farmers in Kavango East, who have been affected by the ban on timber-harvesting activities, have accused environment minister Pohamba Shifeta of being a tribalist leader.

    The accusation against Shifeta was made by Kavango East Regional Farmers Union (KERFU) chairperson Adolf Muremi, who spoke on behalf of the farmers during a meeting with Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba, who is currently in the region on a weeklong visit.

    Muremi indicated they have long waited for such an opportunity and he wasted no time laying bare the challenges they face.

    He alleged that Shifeta does not have the interest of the farmers at heart, after the minister failed to engage or even visit them to hear their cries regarding the timber issue.

    Muremi argued that the farmers did nothing wrong by harvesting timber, as they procured their permits in a transparent manner from the forestry ministry, and therefore they should not be left to suffer if conflicting laws have now resulted to the banning of timber activities.

    Muremi asked why Shifeta responds to matters in other regions, such as illegal sand mining, when he met with the affected businesspeople, while he has never visited Kavango East farmers who for months have been aggrieved by the ban on timber activities. Muremi described the minister as a tribalist, adding that Namibia cannot afford to have a leader of his calibre. “For us it's a pity. We look at honourable Pohamba as a racist person (tribalist) person, a leader who is so selective, and a leader who is not there for everyone in Namibia, but for certain people.

    “So those type of leaders to me, and to the farmers in Kavango East Region, we don't deserve such kinds of leaders. A leader should be a listener, in order to advise one another,” Muremi said.

    Mbumba was surprised by the allegations, saying that many regard Shifeta as one of the “rising stars” in cabinet, who is a committed and hardworking minister.

    Mbumba advised the environmental ministry officials who attended Wednesday's meeting to inform the minister about what was said.

    “The environment ministry officials are here and you heard what was said. Go and deliver the message, while I also have to write my report,” Mbumba added.

    Shifeta reacts

    Shifeta said he was never invited by KERFU, saying their issues should be resolved by the forestry ministry, which issued the farmers the timber-harvesting permits.

    He said his ministry is simply implementing the Environment Management Act. “Did they invite me? Where is the letter that they invited me? They must not lie. I don't deal with forestry. It is dealt with by the agriculture ministry, so why should I get involved. The only thing that is happening is that if they are damaging the environment, this is definitely dealt with by the ministry of environment. Their permits are issued by the ministry of agriculture and they should correct that.

    “It was the agriculture ministry that told them it was wrong to harvest timber without an environmental clearance certificate, it is not us. They must just follow the procedures,” Shifeta said.

    On the issue of why he went to Ongwediva and engaged aggrieved northern businesspeople on their sand mining activities, Shifeta said he attended that meeting to adjudicate on an appeal made by the affected group. “They can come to my office; I will tell them which procedures to follow. They can appeal if their clearance certificates are rejected. We cannot engage them if they have not appealed yet,” Shifeta added.

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    Geingob 'must also apologise'Geingob 'must also apologise'Dungeon victims support Lubowksi’s widow Lubango dungeon victims say they support Gabrielle Lubowski unconditionally for holding President Hage Geingob accountable, adding he has some explaining to do. Swapo dungeon activists have come out in support of Gabrielle Lubowski, saying President Hage Geingob should also apologise for what happened at Lubango.

    Lubowski issued a one-line apology to Geingob on Wednesday under the heading 'Unconditional Apology and Retraction'.

    This follows threats by Geingob to sue her over comments in an open letter she penned that was leaked on social media.

    In the leaked letter she said she has been requesting an audience with Geingob since 1990 and accused him of betraying her husband, Anton, with whom Geingob spoke on the night he was assassinated.

    Anton, who was the then Swapo deputy finance secretary, was shot by a group of assailants in front of his house in Sanderburg Street in central Windhoek on 12 September 1989

    His widow also wrote that Geingob's refusal to meet with her was “an admission of guilt”.

    On Wednesday she released an apology which read: “I, Gabrielle Lubowski, issue an unconditional apology to Dr Hage Geingob and retract my words in the draft letter of 16 June 2019.” Swapo veteran and Lubango dungeon survivor Mihe Gaomab said this week: “We must not have selective s**t on dealing with serious matters such as this one. I want the president [to] be a man of his boastful words about reconciliation and unity. Otherwise he is not clean, as the chickens are coming home to roost. The past always catches up with time. Let's all be clean.” Gaomab further posted on Facebook, before Lubowski issued her apology, that if Geingob wants a retraction and apology from Lubowski, then Swapo should do the same for the ex-Swapo detainees.

    “As a matter of fact President Geingob was the last man speaking… privately to Anton Lubowski before he was murdered by mafia-style execution. Many former Swapo detainees were not seen talking with the enemy before they were tortured and detained.

    “I urge Gabi Lubowski not to retract and face up to the court if needs be. Selective application of justice is a sham. He must also apologise to Swapo detainees,” Gaomab wrote.

    Geingob's lawyer Sisa Namandje threatened Lubowksi with a lawsuit if she had failed to retract the comments she made in the leaked letter.

    On Wednesday the joint committee of the Committee of Parents and the Truth and Justice Committee Joint Committee of Parents and the Truth and Justice chair Erica Beukes said in a statement that they support Lubowski unconditionally for holding Geingob accountable, adding he has some explaining to do.

    The committee questioned why the president is treating the matter as a personal one, adding that it is a serious matter of lawlessness, in which an aggrieved person is treated with disregard, discourteously and contemptuously, despite the Namibian Constitution providing for a person to be treated with respect and courtesy as a fundamental right. “It further confirms that the regime will not take responsibility for anything. Geingob threatens Gabrielle Lubowski with a court which he and his predecessors has created as an extension of himself, as a legal miscreant. Even if Mrs Lubowski in her grief is forced into submission; we state it clearly that Mr Geingob is accountable in the death of Anton Lubowski,” said Beukes.

    The committee has recently called for an international commission of inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity committed by the Swapo leadership “and their associates” during the exile years of 1966 to 1986 in the so-called dungeon saga. According to Beukes, Lubowski is a widowed victim of a cowardly and dastardly deed, while Geingob, as the president of the Namibian state, had to investigate and account fully on the steps taken and what the findings were, in terms of Anton's murder.

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