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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Seibeb wins Nedbank MTB challengeSeibeb wins Nedbank MTB challengeVorster remains unstoppable Cyclists overcame injuries and weather conditions to complete the Nedbank MTB Cycle Challenge over 60km on Saturday. Well-known Namibian cycling sensation Costa Seibeb once again made history by winning the Nedbank MTB 60 km cycle challenge on Saturday.

    He also won the national mountain bike challenge despite suffering from an injury.

    Till Drobisch only settle for second place, while Xavier Papo managed a third place in an intriguing race between the three top cyclists.

    Seibeb finished the race in a time of 2:55:08, while Drobisch clocked 2:55:39.

    Papo who was the closest to Seibeb and Drobisch struggled to keep up as he only cocked 3:06:03 at the competition.

    Undisputed cyclist Michelle Vorster won her third challenge in a row after enjoying a fantastic race on Saturday.

    Vorster clocked 3:22:34 followed by Irene Steyn [3:49:19], while Michelle Doman came in third with a time of 3:58:36.

    All eyes will however be on the main Nedbank road challenge which sees top Namibian cyclists show their mettle in the surroundings of Windhoek.

    The top cyclist who faired in the MTB challenge will also compete in the national road challenge next week.

    The road challenge will see distances between 24km, 38km, 60km and 100km taken on by the cyclists.

    The road challenge will go through the City of Windhoek, starting and finishing in Independence Avenue in front of the Nedbank Independence Road branch.

    Namibia Media Holdings (NMH), NHP, Indongo Toyota and Coca Cola have all pledged their commitment towards sponsoring the event.

    The event is expected to draw larger crowds than the MTB challenge which concluded over the weekend.

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: The lion bows to Angel
  • The lion bows to AngelThe lion bows to AngelPuerto Rican TKO stuns Namibian Japhet Uutoni could not hold on to the 12th round after a series of devastating punches by his opponent. Namibian boxer Japhet “The Lion” Uutoni lost to Angel Acosta of Puerto Rico on Saturday after a fearless display in the ring in a junior flyweight world title eliminator fight.

    Uutoni put up a brave performance against the Puerto Rican in a packed arena filled with thousands of cheering supporters on Saturday.

    The referee stopped the fight in the tenth round after Acosta caught the Namibian with several punches. “For Uutoni, it is back to the drawing board and he must take a month off and rest and re-group.

    “He remains a great fighter and went down fighting, and we therefore have absolutely no regrets as we do not see this loss as a failure but as a learning lesson.

    “He lost against the best Jnr Flyweight boxers in the world and that is certainly nothing to be ashamed of,” said Tobias.

    Boxing promoter Nestor Tobias explained that a final world title eliminator is when two top-rated fighters are given an opportunity to fight each other, and the winner will become the mandatory challenger to fight the current world champion.

    This meant that the Puerto Rican will now challenge for the featherweight world title, while the Namibian will have to bounce back from a disappointing defeat.

    “It was certainly a tough fight, I think Acosta won fairly and I respect him for that.

    “I should have done better and should have stuck to the game plan but I wanted to finish him off and that is where I went wrong.

    “I gave it my all and did my best and wish to thank Nestor and my team for the world class opportunity,” Uutoni said.

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Zim minister, UK envoy clash
  • Zim minister, UK envoy clashZim minister, UK envoy clash A Zimbabwean minister Supa Mandiwanzira has reportedly clashed with the United Kingdom ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing over the continued sanctions on the Mugabes.

    President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace remain the only Zimbabweans on the European Union's sanction list, reported New Zimbabwe.

    In a heated meeting in the capital Harare, the Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Mandiwanzira told the UK ambassador to urge her government to remove what he called a “political risk”.

    He said that the Mugabes were the most important people in the country.

    “I must say that we did not quite agree on the issues of sanctions that there are those who have been taken off and only two people remain.

    These are the most important people in our country, and you can remove sanctions against Supa Mandiwanzira, and or this other minister and that permanent secretary, but for as long as the president and his wife remain on these sanctions it gives an impression and picture of that there is too much political risk,” Mandiwanzira was quoted saying.

    But, Liang said that the sanctions were a European Union policy, as a result, despite having influence within the group there was little room the UK government could manoeuvre.

    Following the controversial Brexit last year, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philip van Damme, said that Britain's exit (Brexit) from the bloc did not change its position on the southern African country.

    Van Damme emphasised that the bloc had a “common” position, thus, all member states were following the same policies.

    “Individual member states do not impose anything and nothing changes if any member state may or may not leave EU. We have a shared vision and that vision is based on objective facts and an analysis of the situation,” Van Damme was quoted as saying at the time.

    The EU first imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2002 over its rights record, but decided to ease them in the hope that this would encourage Mugabe, 92, to introduce some measure of reform.

    But, in 2015, when the Zimbabwean strongman was taking up the one-year rotating chairmanship of the African Union said that he cared little for what the West might say.

    “If they want to continue it's up to them but these sanctions are wrong,” he said at the time, adding: “If Europe comes in the spirit to co-operate and not the spirit to control us and control our ways, they will be very welcome.”



    NEWS24

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Trump's 'winter house'
  • Trump's 'winter house'Trump's 'winter house'Estate in the south of Florida becomes protest hotbed Hosting official events at a resort where the president has interests is raising eyebrows in the US as Trump entertains the Japanese prime minister. President Donald Trump's South Florida estate is no longer just the place where he goes to escape.

    He has described the sprawling Mar-a-Lago property as the Winter White House and has spent two weekends there this month. But it's also become a magnet for anti-Trump protesters and the subject of an ethics debate over his invitation to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to join him this weekend - with Trump pledging to pay for the accommodations.

    Demonstrators plan to assemble near the estate on Sunday to protest Trump's decision on the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The North Dakota project, opposed by a Native American tribe fearful of water contamination from potential oil leaks, had stalled in Democrat Barack Obama's administration. Trump's executive order cleared the way for the developer to start building the final stretch of pipeline.

    During Trump's other weekend in Florida, several thousand people marched near the property to protest his temporary ban on travel to the United states by refugees as well as residents of seven mostly Muslim countries.

    A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's decision that temporarily blocks the ban's enforcement.

    Trump's election is also putting charitable organisations, such as the American Red Cross, in an awkward position for choosing Mar-a-Lago for events booked months in advance. The Red Cross held its annual fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, as it has done for many years on February 4, about a week after Trump enacted the travel ban. Trump and his wife, Melania, attended.

    “What an honour, what a great honour it is. And let's go to Florida,” Trump told Abe on Friday at a White House news conference shortly before they boarded Air Force One for the trip. They intended to spend the weekend holding more talks and playing golf, likely at another Trump club across the Intracoastal Waterway in nearby West Palm Beach.

    World leaders typically exchange gifts and Trump and Abe did so when Abe rushed to New York City in November to become the first foreign leader to meet Trump after the election. Abe gave Trump a pricey, gold-coloured Honma golf driver; Trump reciprocated with a golf shirt and other golf accessories.

    White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said Abe's free-of-charge stay at Mar-a-Lago is Trump's gift to Abe this time around. But the gesture wasn't sitting well with government watchdog groups.

    Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said Trump and Abe don't need to meet at Trump's commercial property, where the membership fee recently was doubled to US$200 000.

    “Hosting a foreign leader at the president's business resort creates impossible sets of conflicts,” Weissman said. “If the president hadn't offered to pay, the US government would be paying Donald Trump's business for the purpose of hosting the Japanese leader.” Typically, the US government would pick up the costs associated with such a visit.

    But Trump has shown that he isn't too concerned about possible conflicts of interest involving him and his family. This past week, Trump used his official government Twitter account to criticise Nordstrom after the retailer said it had dropped a line of clothing and accessories sold by his daughter Ivanka.

    Trump offered a possible explanation for inviting Abe to Mar-a-Lago, saying a “great friendship” had developed from their New York meeting.

    The president is expected to continue bringing world leaders to the estate, helping to fulfill the vision of the property's owner, Marjorie Merriweather Post. The late cereal heiress willed Mar-a-Lago to the US government after her death in 1973, intending for it to become a retreat for US presidents and visiting dignitaries.

    Trump bought Mar-a-Lago in the 1980s and retains a financial interest in the club.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Take a tougher stance
  • Take a tougher stanceTake a tougher stance Disturbing revelations pertaining to the plunder of our natural resources have come to the fore, not for the first time either, but it is the trend that is beginning to ruffle the sustainable feathers of our flora and fauna. Concerted efforts are being made in order to win the battle against the poaching of our endangered rhino and elephants as sophisticated poaching syndicates seem to have taken advantage of the loopholes and weaknesses in the anti-poaching strategies currently in place. For a nation dogged by high unemployment rates, locals in villages around national parks have fallen for the monetary bribes and joined the ranks of the poaching syndicates. Those entrusted with the protection of our wildlife have also fallen prey. Incessant pleas by the environment ministry for the justice delivery system to tighten its belt and bring reason to the travesty of justice on poachers’ detention and sentences, took long to be heard. It’s only last week when President Hage Geingob urged responsible authorities to hastily bring forth legislation that needs amendments in order to impose deterrent sentences that impetus was provided. Ancient protected rosewood trees in the Zambezi Region highly sought-after in the Asian markets are being cut by a Chinese company and loggers without permission. This mayhem must come to an end and it is high time that the government discards its soft stance on errant Chinese citizens who seem to be at the centre of this plunder. Our natural resources must be managed sustainably to nourish our country and be cherished by our future generations. To be forewarned is to be forearmed but we seem to be taking a lukewarm attitude towards some of these red-flagged species. We need to take a tough stance save the nation from this calamitous self-harm. The country’s controversial fishing industry seems to be in a tsunami of crises and shocks following reports of critically low reserves of its popular sardines. If it is true that there are reports from scientists that support this dire sardine situation then government must dive to the bottom of this revelation. We need to act with incisive methods and we must do so now.

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Shot of the Day
  • Shot of the DayShot of the Day DOWN WITH TRUMP: An Iraqi graffiti artist sprays a cement wall with anti-US President Donald Trump slogans in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. PHOTO: NAMPA/AFP

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Time for generational change
  • Time for generational changeTime for generational changePolitics needs more young blood In the run-up to the Swapo congress later this year, the spotlight has fallen on the lack of youth participating in politics. The time has come for ruling parties such as Swapo to identify a pool of young leaders who can be groomed to take over from the current ageing generation.

    A respected political commentator has also implored the old guard to engage the youth in meaningful ways and draw them into insightful dialogue as far the future of the country is concerned.

    South African-based commentator Nixon Kariithi says young people are excluded from mainstream politics because they feel that the elders have created no-go zones, which discourages the youth from participating in the national political discourse.

    “The principle that needs to be understood in both Namibia and South Africa is that politics is about participation,” Kariithi said in a brief interview with Namibian Sun last week.

    “People are involved in making decisions as to who should lead them. You need to include the bulk of your population in such processes and open the doors for them.”

    He added that young people have what it takes to accelerate the development process in the country if given a chance.

    The old guard vs young blood debate has resurfaced once again as the ruling Swapo Party prepares to hold its elective congress towards the end of the year.

    The political leadership of Swapo has been dominated by ageing politicians, particularly its 21-member Politburo.

    The majority of Politburo members are over 65, including eight who are over 73 years old.

    The party, however, appears to face serious leadership problems at all levels.

    According to Kariithi, among the many challenges facing nations, young people are the most affected.

    “There is no law that says they should not be part of the leadership. They are the ones voting but yet are ostracised and excluded from the decision-making process.

    “If you exclude the bulk of your population you are basically creating no-go zone areas and the young people will start to look elsewhere.

    “The elders must adapt, bring in the bulk of the population who are affected by challenges such as unemployment.

    “They might not agree with you, and might be radical, but they should be part of decision-making process. For sure it illustrates the need for us to be more inclusive.”

    Nevertheless, Kariithi says SADC is excited about Namibia's progress and what the country has done.

    “The young people still have a lot to offer and should put their foot in the door. Obviously there is merit in looking for experience. Many organisations also do that. But there should be a substitute for that to ensure that more young people are represented and recognised.”



    Greater participation

    Former Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Elijah Ngurare also commented on the issue, saying that greater youth participation in politics would go a long way in reflecting the demographics of the country.

    “If you look at the demographics of our country, you have more women than men. Why don't women vote for each other? Where are the young people at district [level] and at the level of the branches? Why are they not enticed by politics?

    “If you look back, editors of Namibian newspapers were mostly old people. But with time the newsrooms have started to change. I am sure there was something done to make newsrooms more attractive to young people,” he said.

    Ngurare said it was pointless for young people to complain on social media about issues affecting them while they were under-represented at political level.

    “These are things that are decided upon by the political leadership. We can complain and talk but if we are not there, we can forget about it.”

    FESTUS NAKATANA

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Canine sailor seeking home
  • Canine sailor seeking homeCanine sailor seeking home The vessel Ryazanovka revealed a last surprise this week when crew had to surrender their canine crew member, the 12-year-old male Chucha, who spent most of his entire life aboard the trawler.

    The Walvis Bay SPCA this week confirmed that Chucha' grew up among the rotating crew of the vessel as they made their way from port to port for more than a decade.

    After the vessel was sold to be scrapped, crew had to disembark in order to return to their home countries. Unable to take the dog along, they surrendered him to the SPCA, hoping to find him a new and loving home.

    “He is a very friendly and chubby dog, and in the time here he has quickly made friends,” Nolan Cloete, kennel master at the Walvis Bay SPCA said this week.

    Cloete explained that in recent days a former crew member of the vessel visited the SPCA to check on Chucha, and provided some background to the SPCA on the dog.

    “He was practically part of the crew and they told us he is not used to living on land. He has lived on the ocean most of his life and because the crew rotates routinely on a ship, he never really had one master, so he quickly gets used to new people,” Cloete added.

    The Walvis Bay SPCA and pet lovers across the country are now hard at work to find a loving home for Chucha, preferably a home in which Russian is spoken.

    “He doesn't understand commands in any other language but Russian and he is a bit insecure as he's been removed from his 'home' on the vessel, and has been separated from the people he knew and loved,” a notice shared widely yesterday explained.

    Anyone interested in helping Chucha find his forever home can contact the Walvis Bay SPCA at 064 204 041.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Philip family receives new homePhilip family receives new homeStructure was born out of the Invest-In Namibia conference Following the donation of a new home constructed with alternative technologies by Polycare Research and Technology last year, the Philip family moved in on Friday. President Hage Geingob on Friday handed over a new, fully-furnished two-bedroom house to the Philip family who stay in the Otjomuise area of Windhoek.

    The new house was constructed by Kavango Block Bricks CC with the support from the German embassy and Polycare Research and Technology. Polycare Research and Technology, during last year's Invest-In Namibia conference introduced this alternative technology and donated the house to the Namibian government. The Philip family are the beneficiaries.

    The new home, situated on erf 1036 in Otjomuise, is amongst others furnished with a lounge suite, refrigerator, stove and a television set.

    Speaking at handover ceremony Geingob pointed out that housing and land in Namibia are controversial subjects.

    “We have achieved much as a nation during the past two-and-a-half decades, however, a lack of adequate land and housing remain contentious issues in Namibia,” said Geingob.

    He admitted that the demand for housing in Namibia outmatched that of the government's existing resources and insisted that the government and stakeholders would be able to meet the housing demand if people that provide shelter rededicated themselves to the needs of others and not their self-interest.

    “I am confident that if we all rededicate and commit ourselves to helping our fellow Namibians, and look beyond our own self-interests by considering the needs of others, then we will be able to meet the demand for housing,” said Geingob.

    The president encouraged the recipients of the home to take good care of their new property. “To comrade Abed Philip and the entire Philip family, I say today is the beginning of a new chapter in your lives; a more dignified life awaits you in your new house. Please treat your new home with pride,” said Geingob.

    Speaking on behalf of his family, Abed Philip could not contain his excitement and was grateful the government which offered him the house.

    “Thank you very much to my president, thank you to Minister Sophia Shaningwa and thank you also our ambassador from Namibia to Germany Dr Andreas. I am thankful to the government of Namibia for supporting us and I am very happy to get that house today,” said Philip.

    Shona Ngava

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    Stimulus invests in Khomas SolarStimulus invests in Khomas Solar Stimulus Investments Limited has acquired a majority stake in the recently established company, Khomas Solar Saver (Pty) Limited, a renewable energy, financing and installation service provider in Namibia.

    In terms of the proposed transaction, Stimulus now owns a 67.6% ownership stake with the remainder of the shares owned by the founding shareholders and key members of management of Khomas Solar Saver.

    Formed in 2016, Khomas Solar Saver offers financing and long-term rental options for the installation of rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) systems to corporate and commercial clients in Namibia. The business model targets high-grade properties of long-term relevance and enables them to install a complete solar PV system without any capital outlay. These systems go a long way in fulfilling the demand for cost-effective, renewable energy solutions in a market that is increasingly favourable towards green technology.

    “Since inception, we have installed 12 solar PV systems, which include clients such as the Lady Pohamba Hospital, Metro Hyper, Engen Academia, Oshana Build It and the River Crossing Lodge, with a further 14 PV systems in the process of being commissioned”, said Owen Sivertsen, one of the founding shareholders of Khomas Solar. “We focus on installations with a peak capacity of between 17 kiloWatt peak (kWp) and 500 kWp at a capital outlay ranging between N$350 000 to N$7million per single site installation.” In an announcement issued through the Namibian Stock Exchange, Josephat Mwatotele, executive director of Stimulus Investments said, “Khomas Solar Saver has a highly competent management team with a unique combination of technical and financial expertise to roll-out and manage their business plan. Our investment will strengthen their balance sheet and allow the business to take full advantage of the opportunities of the increased “Go Green” ambitions amongst the corporate sector in Namibia.”







    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: New and easy birth register
  • New and easy birth registerNew and easy birth register Government has introduced an e-birth notification system in a bid to address the high prevalence of late birth registrations in the country.

    This was announced by the home affairs minister Pendukeni Ivula-ithana during a general staff meeting last week.

    According to her every birth that takes place in the country's hospitals will electronically notify the ministry's National Population Registration. “The system will support efforts to reduce the late registration of births as the collected data can be used to pinpoint population groups or areas where late registration is common,” she said.

    The project is inter-ministerial between the Office of the Prime Minister, the home affairs, health and information ministries, the police and the statistics agency.

    The testing of the system will start this month and will be officially launched in mid-March.

    This comes at a critical time when a number of rural children are often denied access to schools because they lack birth certificates, while many elderly are denied access to a monthly pension because of a lack of official documents.

    She also pointed out that the ministry has resolved to identify vulnerable groups in the country who are not yet on the existing government social protection programmes.

    To this end, the ministry has conducted mobile registrations in the Kavango West, Kavango East, Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Erongo regions which saw 1 038 people registered for identification documents (IDs) and 1 220 people registered for birth. During this exercise the ministry also successfully granted citizenship, birth certificates and ID cards to over 200 so-called struggle kids.

    “Due to financial constraints we are unable to conduct countrywide mobile registrations. I therefore use this opportunity to call upon the public to seek out the service at the nearest office of the ministry,” she urged.

    Meanwhile the minister said there is a rise in identity theft in the country by illegal immigrants who have stolen identity documents and birth certificates of locals.

    “I must continue to inform the public to keep their national documents safe at all times. Nonetheless, the ministry continues to tighten up its processes in order to detect any dubious applications. All processes are now digitised and application forms and records can easily be traced and the involved parties detected,” she warned.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Huang blames bad press
  • Huang blames bad pressHuang blames bad press Chinese businessman Jack Huang has defined his relationship with President Hage Geingob by saying that they are not “best friends that relax together and dance around the camp fire or in a karaoke bar”.

    Huang made these remarks on Friday when he addressed the media about his arrest in connection with the N$3.5 billion tax evasion, fraud and money laundering case currently before the courts.

    However, the statement which Huang made in Mandarin and which was translated into English by Sandy Tjaronda, turned out to be more of a PR exercise highlighting his current and future investments in Namibia as well as his donations to social welfare. Huang chairs the Sun Group - a property and finance conglomerate that has a huge stronghold in Namibia.

    Huang and Geingob co-own African Sunrise Investment, a real estate company which aims to build a township east of Windhoek.

    According to Huang, a lot has been said in the media about his so-called friendship with Geingob probably because of the Sunrise Investment company in which Geingob's family trust has some shares.

    “But in our culture and belief everyone is a friend, whether high or low people and we accord them similar respect and courtesy.”

    Huang said how he relates to Geingob is no different from how he has related to former Namibian presidents - with due respect and consideration and trust.

    Geingob last week said that he is considering selling his shares in the joint-development following the arrest of Huang.

    Huang in turn blamed his arrest squarely on the media and certain “government agencies” that made groundless, but serious accusations against him. However, Huang and his wife, Li Dan, have since last year been considered “wanted persons” when the police started investigating them in the multibillion-dollar scheme. “Given that my business interests are not limited to Namibia, but also include other countries, these groundless accusations have cost a lot of damage to my reputation and my business name.”

    Huang said that he has always complied with Namibian laws and regulations and operated lawfully in the past, in the present and will continue to do so in the future.

    “I am an investor, a businessman and my duty of course is to invest in different business opportunities while operating lawfully, to create profits.”

    He said that he has full confidence in the Namibian courts and that the courts will eventually absolve him of what he has been wrongfully accused of. “But this case is in the court so for now I will not say many things, but leave it in the hands of the courts. For the newspapers who wrote very bad things about me please do not count on victimising and stopping my business operations.” He added that as an investor and businessman he has to restore confidence in his name and has requested legal advice from Namibia and South Africa and depending on this he will approach the courts soon to seek redress. According to Huang, he has invested considerably in Namibia in property development and manufacturing.

    He said that he also plans to expand in more business areas in future partnerships with Namibians and plans to develop a vocational education training centre in Oshikango.

    “My wish as a businessman is merely that the Namibian government, including the media and the Namibian people, will continue to provide investors with a sound investment environment in which they would do business through mutual benefit and respect.”

    Huang also said that foreign investors like himself should not become unwilling participants or victims of local politics and that they should be at ease in their efforts to advance the economy and create more social wealth and employment opportunities.

    He said that the current world economy is slowing down and that Namibia is not excluded.

    “Therefore we need each other as partners and friends to overcome challenges of slow economic growth and unemployment.”

    Huang said that he will not take any questions from the media.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Government is lax – DTA
  • Government is lax – DTAGovernment is lax – DTA DTA parliamentarian Elma Dienda has accused the Swapo Party of abusing its power and lying to the nation about its capabilities.

    This comes after the National Assembly (NA) announced that it intends that more than 40 bills will be tabled in parliament this year.

    In a statement announcing the official opening of the National Assembly tomorrow, spokesperson David Nahogandja stated that some of the bills that might be tabled include the Child Justice Bill and the Lotteries Bill.

    However, according to Dienda, the Swapo government officials always make excuses or try to steamroller bills through at the last minute.

    “We will have to wait and see this year, but I tell you I do not believe we will see more than ten bills tabled this year. They know they have a problem with legal drafters but they do not want to be honest with the nation. And even when they table bills then the bills are not thorough,” she said.

    All People's Party President Ignatius Shixwameni has blamed the Speaker of the NA Peter Katjavivi for the failure to push through all bills promised.

    “We even see the president during his state of the nation address speak about bills that will be tabled in parliament but they just never arrive in parliament. And those that make it to parliament are often withdrawn because they are in fact defective,” he said.

    He further lamented this trend saying some of the bills are crucial but never make it to parliament to be debated.

    “Many of these bills are long overdue such as the Red Line Marriages Bill that has been on the cards since Hifikepunye Pohamba's time but it has never made it to parliament,” he said. Nahogandja, however stated that the list of bills issued by the NA is just to give an indication of which bills are likely to be tabled.

    He also added that they get a list of possible bills to be tabled from legal drafters but that many of these bills are often referred back to the justice ministry, hence the delay in tabling.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Farmers to face the music
  • Farmers to face the musicFarmers to face the musicAgribank hires debt collectors to track defaulters Agribank will for the first time make use of a debt-collecting company to ensure that the N$500 million owed to it by farmers is paid or property will be repossessed. Agribank Namibia has called in the help of debt collectors to start collecting an outstanding N$500 million in loan repayment from farmers across the country.

    The bank has to date disbursed loans to clients to the tune of N$2.4 billion and will for the first time make use of external debt collectors.

    The bank's CEO Sakaria Nghikembua announced this at a media briefing on Friday adding that they are not insensitive to the effects of drought but emphasised that clients will have to get their acts together.

    He added that the idea is to motivate clients to make arrangements and that it would be unfortunate if it results in legal action that would see a client's property repossessed.

    “The sustained high levels of arrears would threaten Agribank's financial sustainability and its ability to deliver on its mandate in the long-term. As part of the arrears collection strategy, the bank has appointed debt collectors to assist it in collecting outstanding repayments from clients with effect from this month,” said Nghikembua.

    Nghikembua further stated that despite the challenging operating environment, the bank has maintained credible financial performance in the year so far and expects that it will meet or exceed its key financial targets for the full year to the end of March 2017.

    According to the Sakkie Coetzee, executive manager of the Namibia Agricultural Union, this is a very unfortunate time and that he can only hope the bank is successful in collecting its money.

    “The truth is the agricultural sector is under a tremendous pressure at the moment, but on the other hand the bank must do what it must to collect money that is owed to it,” he said.

    Agricultural expert Wallie Roux has commended this drastic move by the bank although he questioned the timing of the measure.

    He also emphasised that clients have owed the institution for several years which makes it difficult for the bank to effectively operate.

    “The question however is, how practical is it at this particular time? Farmers will prefer to hold back their livestock to build herds back up again especially now that it has rained,” said Roux.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Murder accused mother appearsMurder accused mother appearsCase postponed while children in family care The legal matter of Mechtilde Musole, accused of the attempted murder of her two children and herself, has been postponed to 21 February. A woman accused of attempting to kill her two children and herself, made a second appearance before magistrate Eden Iyambo in Walvis Bay on Thursday of last week.

    Iyambo postponed the attempted murder case against Mechtilde Donna Musole represented by Stephanus Nambili to 21 February for further investigation.

    Public prosecutor Tuihaleni Hilikuete requested the postponement and informed the court that the investigations were not concluded yet. “The investigating officer is not available and is testifying in another case in the regional court. We are also waiting for reference numbers from the laboratory. The exhibits were submitted and reference numbers have to be allocated. The drugs involved were taken from Walvis Bay hospital and forwarded to the laboratory. The nurse that attends to such matters is unfortunately not available,” she informed the court.

    Musole was arrested after she allegedly tried to kill her two children (aged 6 and 21 months) by feeding them a cocktail of antiretroviral tablets. She also attempted to commit suicide by drinking an overdose of the same antiretroviral tablets.

    According to a crime report issued by Chief Inspector Erastus Ikuyu of the Erongo police, the accused allegedly gave her two children a mixture of ARV medication (dissolved in water). The incident took place at house 21 in Johannes Namupala Street, Kuisebmond on 9 December.

    “She apparently resolved to embark on this route of action because the father of the children does not want to support them financially. She also tried to overdose herself and informed a family member of her intentions via a text message. The relative notified the police,” said Ikuyu.

    Musole made a first appearance and was denied bail on 19 December. The children were subsequently discharged from the hospital and placed under the care of relatives.



    OTIS FINCK

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: KK tears into Swapo
  • KK tears into SwapoKK tears into SwapoParty accused of intimidating members for standing up The outspoken party leader has accused Swapo of using the land issue as “cheap politics”. Swapo firebrand Kazenambo Kazenambo has accused party leaders of running the ruling party like a private company and intimidating young leaders who raise burning issues such as the issue of ancestral land.

    In an interview with Namibian Sun he said government should stop using the question of ancestral land as “cheap politics”.

    Kazenambo, a member of the Swapo Politburo said what was once the people's party has become an apartheid-style coloniser which uses liberation credentials to oppress its subjects.

    “When you raise issues on relevant platforms your voice is ignored, or you are intimidated and even threatened to go and form your own political party. Who does this party belong to?” he asked.

    According to him party members are living in fear knowing that if they don't “shut up” they will not “get jobs”.

    “It has become increasingly difficult for Namibians to participate in democracy,” he said.

    “We see yesterday's freedom fighters becoming today's oppressors. I am talking about the government belonging to Swapo. We are the rulers of today but when you raise issues in the central committee or politburo, you are either ignored, or subjected to name-calling that you are promoting tribalism. The party must remember that what matters is not who rules but how you rule. Swapo is causing division by ignoring the frustrations of people,” he said.

    Kazenambo strongly urged the party leadership to admit to itself that omitting ancestral land during the 1991 land conference was a grave mistake which if not addressed urgently will undermine the quest for nation-building.

    “We must respect people's historical backgrounds.

    “The communities below the red line lost their land through the barrel of the gun. These aspects must be considered when we talk about diversity. It is because of this dispossession that people were forced into forced labour which has completely altered their way of living,” he said.

    He emphasised that land in the north, northeast and west of the country by large remained in the hands of native communities, adding that these communities can still claim ancestral land because colonialism did not affect land ownership in the north as it did south of the red line.

    “Nation building requires us to have frank, honest and transparent conversations about land. We cannot build a nation on dishonesty, falsehood and by belittling communities. Then we are set for disintegration,” he said.

    He reminded government that ancestral land is at the core of the UN's declaration on indigenous communities.

    “And we have signed those conventions as a nation. Stop the political intimidation and name-calling. Democracy in this country is only used on a cosmetic basis,” he said.

    Kazenambo warned that civil strife and failed states are caused by those who cannot manage diversity. “War is caused by those in power who did not listen to the frustration of their subordinates,” he cautioned.

    Meanwhile he questioned why government hails people like Mandume Ya Ndemufayo and Hendrik Witbooi as national heroes but label the same quest of their descendants land as “tribalism”.

    He also took issue with the prioritised treatment of war veterans compared to earlier communities who resisted colonialism .

    “There are those saying the country would not have liberated without the war in Angola, it is a lie. The war of resistance was equally important as the liberation struggle,” he said.

    He also challenged government to honestly address the frustrations around land reform and resettlement. “If the list of beneficiaries will stoke tribalism then government is confirming that something is not okay. Release the list and let us correct it if something is wrong,” he urged.

    This follows the lands ministry's reluctance to release a full list of resettlement beneficiaries claiming it will cause division and tribal hatred.

    Kazenambo's remarks come at a time when critics say the party is divided especially over the question of land despite the insistence of party leaders such as Nangolo Mbumba that it is intact.

    In 2013 the intolerance of the land question was manifested when the party kicked out its youth leaders for making noise over skyrocketing rental prices, something which they feel the Swapo government is unwilling to address.

    The youth leaders under the leadership of Job Amupanda since established the AR movement which has brought about an impetus to land ownership.

    Most recently, Bernadus Swartbooi was fired from his deputy lands minister position for openly questioning government's land reform process. At the time president Hage Geingob accused Swartbooi of not using the right platforms and channels within the party.



    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Sex tape author vanishes
  • Sex tape author vanishesSex tape author vanishes Following the release of a sordid sex video, allegedly by Sakeus Shoolongo, three weeks ago, it appears as though Shoolongo has gone undercover.

    “All attempts to trace him have failed,” lawyer Norman Tjombe told Namibian Sun.

    Tjombe represents Maria Ipito who is accused by Shoolongo to have distributed videos of him and a married woman in a compromising position on social media. He says there is nothing that can be done until Shoolongo is found.

    “I don’t know where he is, I can’t speak on behalf of other people, we don’t know where he is staying but once we find him we will issue a summons again,” said Tjombe. The first summons was send as a letter of warning and delivered to Shoolongo on 23 January. The letter stated that what Shoolongo did was defamatory and a violation of Ipito’s right to dignity. “We are advised that you attempted to extort money from the woman appearing in the video by threatening to publish it should she not make payment to you. We are instructed that you immediately publish a retraction prominently on your Facebook account and state the true facts together with an apology to our client,” read the statement. Shoolongo did not apologise or respond.

    It has been reported that the married woman in the video was hospitalised and in ICU after a suicide attempt. Pictures of her child and husband have also been circulating on social media platforms which Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi of the Namibian police regarded as crimen injuria.

    “Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes, but morally people should understand that it is very bad to humiliate anyone like that. Victims in such cases must open a case in order for investigations to commence,” said Shikwambi.

    In the meantime, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (Cran) has warned the public to refrain from creating pornographic or obscene videos or photographs as it is a criminal offence punishable by law with a fine of up to N$20 000.

    In a statement by the head legal advice of CRAN Emilia Nghikembua says,“Any person found guilty of this offence is on conviction liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding N$20 000 or both. The authority will prosecute any offenders in this regard.”

    June Shimuoshili

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  • 02/12/17--14:00: Port casuals vow to stay
  • Port casuals vow to stayPort casuals vow to stay The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) informed more than 250 casual workers on Wednesday last week that their services would no longer be needed in Walvis Bay.

    A manpower analysis exercise performed by the company found the casual labour to be an unnecessary expense.

    The workers lodged a complaint against Namport at the Labour Commissioner's office. They also converged and set up camp outside Namport's offices on Thursday after they learned of their fate via a memorandum signed by Namport's human resources executive Dr Felix Musukubili.

    On Friday Namport CEO Bisey Uirab said it was inappropriate and unhygienic for the workers to camp in front the company offices.

    He explained that casual workers never had formal employment contracts with Namport, but were utilised on an ad hoc basis dependent upon fish volumes.

    “We have not embarked on a retrenchment exercise, but simply ceased to render fish repacking services.

    “We are directly exposed to all developments which have a bearing on volumes of trade across the world, the bulk of which is conveyed via the sea. The recent slump in commodity and oil prices, the strengthening of the US dollar against the local currency and increasing interest rates have resulted in a steep decline in imports and exports and consequently the volumes of cargo throughput.”

    He explained that certain Namport operations given their seasonality and fluctuations in throughput volumes were manned by causal workers who were sourced when needed with most of them notably deployed in repacking fish at the port.

    “This operation was handled by the port authority on behalf of owners of the fish over the years. However, as part of the ongoing cost containment drive and following an in depth cost benefit analysis it was considered untenable to continue rendering the fish handling service on behalf of the fishing companies. We therefore resolved to discontinue this service with effect from 1 February and subsequently notified casual workers.”

    According to Uirab, Namport has been undertaking various cost streamlining and efficiency enhancement initiatives. Port operations executive Raymond Visagie confirmed a pool of 259 workers are affected by the decision.

    “Only casuals involved in the fish repacking operations at Namport in Walvis Bay are affected. Casual deployment is confined to Walvis Bay operations only and on average we used to deploy approximately 48 casual on a day as and when required.

    Namport put a temporary moratorium on calling “casual employees” while it carried out a manpower needs assesment to determine whether or not continue utilising “flexible labour” where necessary and if so what the exact numbers required for such operations on 3 February were.

    According to some of the affected casuals, they went for interviews on 27 June 2016 and Namport promised them that 100 successful candidates amongst 156 will be recruited within four days. This never materialised.

    The casuals said they attended a meeting on 3 February and were once again promised by Musukubili and Visagie that the names of the successful candidates will be released on Wednesday. They were however notified that their services are no longer needed on 8 February.

    “Instead of releasing the names of the 100 selected candidates Namport is now giving our work to private companies. We never had adequate notification of the company's intentions and served it for periods between five and ten years. We used to work 12 hours per day. This was reduced to two six-hour shifts,” said some of the casuals.

    Uirab said that there was potential and a possibility for appointment but cargo owners and agents engaged on the issue opted not to go this route.

    According to the casuals, they worked on a no-work, no-pay basis and without any guarantee.

    “Our overtime rate was less than that earned by regular employees.”

    They say Visagie approached them on the day the six-hour shifts were implemented and informed them that they are a burden to the company due to the huge amount of overtime they earn.

    The casuals say they were surprised to learn that they were supposed to earn N$106 per hour on Sunday according to Visagie.

    “Our normal rate was N$53. We earned N$49 on a Saturday and N$66 on Sundays and never received N$106 for work on Sundays and N$79 on Saturdays.”

    Uirab refuted this and said the casuals were paid according to the provisions of the Labour Act.

    “The rates they received were probably the best. They were treated extremely well,” he concluded.

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    No room for the public at parliament opening No room for the public at parliament opening Members of the public will not be able to attend the official opening of the parliament tomorrow afternoon because of space constraints.
    As a result of the constitutional amendments of 2014, the number of seats in the National Assembly increased from 72 to 106.
    The parliament building cannot accommodate the members of both houses of parliament who are expected to turn up for the joint session this afternoon.
    Last year’s ceremony was held in a marquee tent erected in the parliament gardens, while this year’s opening ceremony will take place in the National Assembly chambers.
    According to National Assembly spokesperson David Nahogandja, the space in the National Assembly will be sufficient for everyone who has been invited plus members of the media.
    “This year, parliament administration has manoeuvred around the National Assembly’s chamber,” he explained.
    A group of schoolchildren is also expected to be part of the ceremony, as well as service chiefs, the chief justice, the former presidents and the vice-president.
    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    CAF dictatorship tires CosafaCAF dictatorship tires CosafaHayatou becomes unpopular The Namibia Football Association (NFA) fully supports CAF presidential candidate Ahmad from Madagascar. The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) vice-president, Frans Mbidi, says many Africans want democracy in football.

    This is after it was announced last month that long-serving CAF president Issa Hayatou was standing for another four-year term.

    Mbidi said that prompted Cosafa to endorse CAF presidential candidate Ahmad.

    The CAF presidential and executive committee elections will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 16 March.

    “Cosafa has taken a collective decision to support Ahmad in the presidential race because he hails from Southern Africa.

    “In the past, we have not been able to stand together as a region, but we have now decided to stand as one.

    “The under-17 Africa Cup of Nations was slated for Madagascar this year, but CAF changed the venue to Gabon because Ahmad refused to back down on elections,” Mbidi said.

    Elected back in 1988, the powerful CAF president will be contesting the position with another candidate for the first time in many years after winning unopposed in most elections.

    Mbidi also disclosed that Cosafa had been in contact with many African football leaders who are tired of one-man rule for close to three decades.

    “We do know that the northern and western regions of Africa are strong, but many leaders have pledged their support to our candidate.

    “Everyone wants to see change and democracy in football, because it has often not been the case during years of Hayatou's reign.”

    Mbidi's name also emerged as one of the candidates for the CAF southern zone executive committee elections.

    There are two vacancies, but one position will be reserved for a female candidate, while four male candidates will compete for the other vacancy.

    The NFA president will go up against Danny Jordaan (South Africa), Rui Eduardo Da Costa (Angola) and Suketu Partel (Seychelles).

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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