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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Geingob warns against tribalismGeingob warns against tribalism Addressing the first cabinet meeting for the year this morning, President Hage Geingob has strongly warned against tribalism.
    He urged Namibians not to forget examples like Libya and Iraq, where according to him, people sought to disrupt orderly systems in the hope to create better ones.
    He warned that it is easy to destroy but very difficult to pick up the pieces afterwards. “I have said on many occasions that there is nothing wrong with belonging to tribes. Our tribes are part and parcel of our genealogy and African heritage and we should be proud of who we are. But let us avoid the placing of the ism at the end of the word tribal,” he said. Geingob also warned against “discontented” individuals and groups who are using the issue of land with the hope that it will ignite chaos in the country.
    Geingob further implored his cabinet ministers to ensure that the issue of land is extensively deliberated and is approached with an utmost sincerity and clarity.
    He also challenged lands activists to come up with proposals that are acceptable within the context of a united free and reconciled Namibia.
    “Let them come up. Come and tell us who the ancestral owner of this country is, come and tell us. We use concepts just to instigate people; we debated that issue it took us time. Nobody is mentioning San when we are talking about ancestral land,” he said.


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  • 02/14/17--06:26: Shambyu chief nominee dies
  • Shambyu chief nominee diesShambyu chief nominee dies Maria Kuyanda Joachim, who was locked in a battle with Sofia Mundjembe Kanyetu over the chieftainship of the Shambyu tribe, has died.
    The 57-year-old Joachim died suddenly Sunday evening at the Rundu State Hospital, family spokesperson Wencislaus Kudumo told Nampa on Monday.
    Kudumo said she complained of pain in her left leg since Thursday.
    She was first treated at the Rundu Medical Centre that day and then transferred to the Rundu State Hospital on Sunday because the medical centre does not have machines to assist with difficulty in breathing.
    She passed away a few minutes after arrival there.
    The late Joachim was the principal of Ncgancgana Primary School in the Kavango West Region.
    Two factions - the Mwengere and the Mukwahepo’s from different sections of the Shambyu royal lineage - are locked in a bitter dispute over who should be installed as chief to succeed Angeline Matumbo Ribebe, who died in June 2015.
    According to sources, Joachim from the Mukwahepo faction was allegedly given an approval letter by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa to succeed Ribebe.
    The Mwengere faction, however, claim Ribebe left a verbal will that Sofia Mundjembe Kanyetu should be chief and she was thus coronated as tradition dictates.
    An investigation team from the ministry was sent to look into the matter but the findings and the minister’s decision have not been made public yet.
    Joachim leaves behind her husband, Johannes Joachim, five children and eight grandchildren.


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    Geingob officially opens parliamentGeingob officially opens parliament
    President Hage Geingob has implored parliamentarians to rededicate themselves, work hard and engage each other respectfully.
    Speaking during the opening of the 5th session of the 6th parliament today, Geingob emphasised that it is the duty of parliament to hold the executive accountable at all times.
    “As leaders, we have been elected by the people, the electorate. We should all therefore endeavour to serve our people to the best of our abilities, embracing the principles of accountability and transparency as we carry our day to day functions in order to maintain the trust of the electorate for accountability plus transparency equals trust,” he urged.
    Meanwhile, the Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi asked parliamentarians to start on a clean slate and not continue on the mistakes of the past.
    He also urged them to deepen its engagement with civil society in all aspects relating to sustainable development goals (SDGs).
    “In equal measure, we need to continue to strengthen our institutions of governance and the sense of patriotism, in the spirit of Harambee, togetherness, as guided by the President’s initiated Harambee Prosperity Plan. This is essential so as to build a resilient society. The strengthening of our institutions will enable us specifically as the three Organs of the State and collectively as a nation, to bring services closer to the people and ensure their timely delivery. This is essential so as to build a resilient society,” said Katjavivi.


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    Mario Football Academy resumes trainingMario Football Academy resumes training SPORT REPORTER

    The Mario Nailenge Football Academy will resume training on Monday, February 20 at a private field in Eros.

    Executive chairman Mario Nailenge said last year’s attendance was satisfactory and he was hoping for better this year.

    The academy caters for Windhoek boys and girls between seven and 15.

    Nailenge said parents with children who are interested in football may register their children with a one-off registration fee of N$1 500.

    The annual programme runs from February to October, and is closed during school holidays.

    Training is done during the week from 16:00 to 17:00 and on weekends they play in the Khomas youth league.

    The academy has four teams.

    It hosts an annual weeklong tour to Cape Town. This year’s trip will be in August.

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    Mariental to host Debmarine cup eliminationsMariental to host Debmarine cup eliminationsLack of fields in the southern stream a challenge Elimination games for the Debmarine Namibia Cup continue, with the southern teams being the next ones to battle it out. NAMPA

    The Debmarine Namibia Cup elimination round for the Southern Stream First Division (SSFD) is scheduled for Mariental on 25 and 26 February.

    The winners of the elimination round will each walk away with N$20 000, while the losing finalists win N$10 000. The losing teams in each of the semi-finals will get N$5 000.

    From there on, the 16 Namibia Premier League (NPL) clubs will join in the Round of 32, at which stage each club will receive N$18 000 for preparations all the way to the final, while the overall winner will walk away with N$500 000.

    Joshua ‘Tovey’ ||Hoëbeb, acting league administrator for the SSFD, on Monday told Nampa the games would be held at the Mariental sports field as they could not secure other venues.

    The first round will see exciting match-ups when Western Spurs from Walvis Bay open proceedings against Okahandja’s Spoilers Football Club. Rebels from Windhoek will confront Try Again from Keetmanshoop.

    Touchdown Young Brazilians from Karasburg will lock horns with Flamingos from Rehoboth, a team relegated from the NPL. Khomas NamPol will battle with former NPL campaigners PC Blue Boys from Swakopmund.

    The quarter-final stage will see a German derby between Ramblers and rookies Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW), both from Windhoek, while longtime SSFD campaigners will do battle against new boys Northern Stars from Swakopmund.

    On Sunday the games will continue with the last quarter-finals and semi-finals and the winners progressing to the final.

    The fixtures are as follows:

    25 February, Round 1

    Western Spurs vs Spoilers

    Rebels FC vs Try Again

    Touchdown Young Brazilians vs Flamingos

    Khomas NamPol vs PC Blue Boys


    Ramblers FC vs SKW FC

    Tigers Football Club from Windhoek are the defending champions of the competition after they won it in 2016 when it was known as the Bidvest Namibia Cup.

    The Namibia Football Association (NFA) and DebMarine in December signed a three-year sponsorship deal worth N$14.1 million for the hosting of the tournament.

    Rhino FC, Kantema Bullets, Eleven Champions FC and Outjo Football Academy have already booked their places in the next round of the cup.

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    PTA Tennis Series starts this weekendPTA Tennis Series starts this weekend SPORT REPORTER

    The Pro Tennis Academy (PTA) Tennis Series will start its new season on Friday and Saturday at the WHS tennis courts.

    After continued growth of the series over the last six years and a hugely successful series last year, the organisers, spearheaded by coach Romeo van Wyk, are confident that this year’s series is going to be even bigger and better than last year.

    The PTA Tennis Series is the only series of tennis tournaments in Namibia where the participants play according to their skill level and not their age.

    “We want to start where we left off last year. We are excited to see what this season brings and we are sure that there will be a lot of highly contested tennis action on display,” Van Wyk said, adding that there would be nine tournaments with points up for grabs in the various playing categories.

    Cleet Farmer repeated his 2015 victory in the advanced category last year, while Randel Kavandje won the intermediate men and Delicia Dirkse won the intermediate women’s category. Overall victory in the midi category in 2016 was claimed by Arnaud Marais, with Vaniah Mumba winning the mini category.

    Interested players can still enter today. Contact Van Wyk at romeo@protennisacademy.com.na.

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    Volleyball coaching clinic at MarientalVolleyball coaching clinic at Mariental Close to 50 learners participated in a basic volleyball skills coaching clinic at the Danie Joubert Combined School rugby field in Mariental on Saturday.

    The vice-president of the Namibia Volleyball Federation (NVF), Hillary Dux Imbuwa, said the coaching clinic was part of the federation's efforts to extend a volleyball development programme to all Namibian regions.

    Fifteen balls and a mobile volleyball court were handed over to two volunteer teachers from Germany who, together with local teachers, will continue with the development programme in Mariental. The volunteer teachers have been in Namibia since the beginning of last year and will leave the country towards the end of this year. “They are all volunteer teachers at the Mariental Primary School, and they approached the federation for assistance as they wanted to get involved in volleyball,” said Imbuwa.

    The purpose of the coaching clinic was to introduce basic coaching skills to learners and teachers alike. The programme targets learners aged 7 to 17 years. This was the first NVF coaching clinic held at Mariental. Teachers from that area used to attend training in Windhoek. “We have so far assisted regions such as Zambezi, Kavango East, Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati, Khomas, Erongo and Kunene that were covered in 2015 and 2016,” Imbuwa said.

    He said because of a lack of resources, the NVF would not be able to extend its programmes to more towns for now.

    Coaching clinics for teachers are scheduled to be conducted at Nkurenkuru in the Kavango West Region from 23 to 25 February and at Gobabis in the Omaheke Region from 9 to 11 March.


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  • 02/14/17--14:00: Tura Magic ladies win V-Cup
  • Tura Magic ladies win V-CupTura Magic ladies win V-CupFirst edition of Valentine’s Cup a success The newly launched Valentine’s Cup for female footballers was a success and the organisers want to see it grow next year. KAINO NGHITONGO

    The Women Super League defending champions, Tura Magic, dominated the recently launched Valentine’s Cup to be crowned champions over the weekend.

    The girls comfortably made it into the final against V-Power Angels and thrashed the Angels 8-0 to take home a trophy, gold medals and a N$1 500 cash prize.

    V-Power Angels did not go home empty-handed, as they were rewarded with silver medals and N$1 000 cash, while Galz & Goals in third place took home bronze medals and N$500.

    Memory Ngonda from Tura Magic was the player of the tournament while teammate Anna Shikusho took the top goal scorer award.

    Competition organiser Immanuel Hamutenya said he was pleased with the turnout.

    “The competition went well and we as the organisers were happy with the tournament and skills that were being displayed,” he said.

    Hamutenya thanked Imarketing consultants for their sponsorship and all the teams that took part in the tournament, “especially teams such as Omaheke FC who travelled from Gobabis just to take part and also the organising committee for making this happen.

    “We are calling out to the corporate world to come on board and help us to make sure women’s football is lifted in Namibia, because if we can have something like this every month then we will uplift women’s football in the country,” he said.

    Participating teams were Tura Magic, V-Power Angels, Galz & Goals, Omaheke FC, RightWay Fc and Nampol.

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  • 02/14/17--14:00: Pressure mounts on Wenger
  • Pressure mounts on WengerPressure mounts on WengerBayern, Arsenal meet in round 16 first leg The highly anticipated match between Bayern Munich and Arsenal in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League is on tonight. Arsene Wenger is once again under pressure to end Arsenal's Champions League last-16 misery as the Gunners travel to bogey team Bayern Munich in today's first leg.

    Bayern are riding a record 15-match home winning streak in Europe with the midweek clash marking the 11th meeting between the sides at Munich's Allianz Arena in the Champions League.

    Arsenal have suffered last-16 defeats in each of the last six seasons, losing to Bayern in both 2013 and 2014, and another early exit would further ramp up the pressure on 67-year-old Wenger to quit after 20 years in charge.

    The teams know each other well, having met six times in the last four years, and Bayern thrashed the Gunners 5-1 in Munich in their previous meeting in November 2015.

    Arsenal warmed up for their trip to Germany with a 2-0 win over Hull as Alexis Sanchez scored both goals to stop the rot following back-to-back league defeats to Chelsea and Watford.

    The Gunners are confident for the Allianz Arena leg with the return in London on March 7.

    “If we put in our best performance, then we can beat Bayern as well,” Arsenal's German defender Shkodran Mustafi told Sky.

    “It's down to us and it's in our hands.”

    Arsenal beat Bayern 2-0 in Munich in 2013, but still lost the last-16 tie following a 3-1 defeat in the first leg in London as the Germans went on to win that year's final at Wembley.

    “We have already won there and I feel we have a chance to go through,” said Wenger.

    Midfielder Mesut Ozil, another Germany international, is enduring a dip in form, though, and has not scored since early December.

    “It's time for him to score again,” said Wenger. “I felt he did not feel confident (against Hull).

    “It's always a problem because you think he can deliver something special.”

    Arsenal are third in the English Premier League, 10 points behind leaders Chelsea, while Bayern are seven clear in Germany's top flight.

    The Bavarians have reached the semi-final stage in Europe in each of the last three years, but Bayern are itching to go one better and reach the Cardiff final on June 3.

    Despite their lead in the Bundesliga, Bayern have turned in below-par performances in recent weeks and needed two late goals to earn a 2-0 win at relegation-threatened Ingolstadt on Saturday.

    Xabi Alonso suffered an injury scare in training on Monday, while Bayern will be missing defender Jerome Boateng and winger Franck Ribery, who are recovering from shoulder and thigh injuries respectively.

    Germany forward Thomas Mueller is enduring a goal drought with just one goal in 17 league games this term, but Robert Lewandowski has hit 23 goals in all competitions and is relishing the Arsenal showdown.

    “Everyone is waiting for this game and it'll be a big challenge for us,” said Lewandowski.

    “Arsenal have very good players, but we need to concentrate on ourselves and if we play our best football, Arsenal probably won't have many chances.

    “We need to score at least once and concede nothing, and then it'll be a good evening for us.”


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  • 02/14/17--14:00: Luatua jumps ship
  • Luatua jumps shipLuatua jumps ship All Blacks loose forward Steven Luatua will reunite with his former Super Rugby coach Pat Lam at English Premiership strugglers Bristol for the 2017-18 season, the club said.

    The hulking 25-year-old, who plays Super Rugby for the Auckland Blues, won his 15th cap for the All Blacks against Italy in November and his departure comes as a surprise for New Zealand Rugby two years out from the World Cup in Japan.

    Bristol, currently bottom of the Premiership with two wins from 14 games, made no mention of the length of his contract but Luatua said in a club statement that he was looking forward to contributing to the club's “long term vision”.

    “I have a fantastic relationship with Pat (Lam) and I enjoyed working with him at the Blues,” he said on Bristol's website (bristolrugby.co.uk).

    “I've heard great things about the environment that is being built there and the plans in place, so I can't wait to get started in the summer.”

    Luatua has played most of his test rugby as a blindside flanker but is a capable number eight and can also play in the second row.

    He made his All Blacks debut off the bench against France as a highly-rated 22-year-old in 2013 but struggled to nail down a regular spot, with veteran Jerome Kaino owning the blindside spot in Steve Hansen's back row over the past three years.

    With Kaino set to turn 34 in April, however, Luatua may have been afforded more chances to impress Hansen before the 2019 World Cup.

    Although aware of Luatua's move, Bristol's announcement blindsided the Blues, who declined to comment.

    Failure to communiicate

    Hansen, meanwhile, said he had never been given a chance to talk with Luatua about his future and took a swipe at New Zealand-born Lam.

    “In this case it's double disappointing because of the lack of communication,” Hansen said in comments published by Fairfax Media.

    “Steven's crew didn't want to talk because they are fearful we are going to change these guys' minds.

    “And he's been tapped on the shoulder by Pat Lam which is disappointing, too. If you're an ex-New Zealander you should be a bit mindful about players' careers.”

    All Blacks captain and number eight Kieran Read was also disappointed but said he could not begrudge the player.

    “It's not just what's best for them, but for their families,” he told local media.

    “But I really respect guys who have a great crack at it in New Zealand. If you stick it out it can pay dividends later in the career.”

    The All Blacks were recently boosted by the retention of outside backs Ben Smith and Israel Dagg, who have re-committed to New Zealand Rugby through to the World Cup, and Read said it was only a matter of time before he did the same.

    “I want to keep my legacy here as long as I can,” the 31-year-old said. “I'll be staying through to the next World Cup, and all going well, it will be signed off soon.”


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    Opec cuts support oil above $50Opec cuts support oil above $50Oil prices hold steady despite cut in supply Oil benchmarks have remained within a US$5 per barrel trading range since the beginning of the year. Oil prices were stable early this week, supported by an Opec-led effort to cut output while rising production elsewhere kept crude futures within the narrow range that has contained them so far this year.

    This followed a 2% percent decline in the previous session. Both oil benchmarks have remained within a US$5 per barrel trading range since the beginning of the year.

    “The usually fairly volatile oil price has barely budged for two months, the reason being conflicting dynamics in the market,” said Dutch bank ABN Amro.

    The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and other producers, including Russia, have agreed to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of 2017 in a bid to rein in a global fuel supply overhang.

    But undermining these efforts has been rising production in the United States, where increased drilling activity especially by shale oil producers has lifted overall output to 8.98 million bpd, up 6.5 percent since mid-2016 and to its highest level since April last year.

    “Oil just appears to be caught in a range at the moment and mainly focused on those supply considerations,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

    Despite an Opec compliance rate of around 90 percent with the announced cuts, scepticism remains over the end result, preventing the cut from having a bigger impact on prices, traders said.

    “Opec producers want the market to believe they will stick to the agreed production freeze. But lessons from the past have made the market deeply suspicious,” ABN said.

    Traders said that even at an Opec compliance of 90%, and a much lower rate for non-Opec members, producers would have to accelerate their cuts in the coming months in order to achieve the average daily reduction target agreed for the first half of the year.

    ABN said it had reduced its average Brent oil price forecast for the first half of 2017 “From US$55 per barrel to US$50 per barrel, while allowing for a possible temporary dip towards US$45 per barrel.”


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    Major investment in car sector expectedMajor investment in car sector expected South Africa's automotive sector capital expenditure is projected to rise to R8.2 billion this year from R6.4 billion in 2016, the car industry body said in a document seen by Reuters.

    The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa said in a memo dated February 7 that the sector's estimated capex was based on details supplied by seven major car makers and data from various sources relevant to Beijing Automotive International Corporation.

    Car manufacturers in South Africa include Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz SA, Nissan and Toyota.

    The automotive sector, South Africa's largest manufacturing industry, expects a slight increase in new vehicles sales this year as economic growth gains pace thanks to commodity price rises and a recovery in farming.


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    Renovations at Midgard EstateRenovations at Midgard EstateLodge to remain open Midgard Country Estate will remain open during renovations that started on 15 January. STAFF REPORTER

    The Midgard Country Estate is due for renovations but is expected to remain open. The renovations will form the first phase of changes anticipated at the estate.

    According to O&L Leisure managing director Terence Makari, Midgard will undergo several stages of renovation over the next few months.

    “This is the first phase of executing the master plan for Midgard, and entails minor renovations to existing structures and the removal of certain absolute structures. The renovations are being done to revitalise, upgrade and enhance our guests’ experience, and to return Midgard to its former glory where memories have been created amongst friends and family, and to bring the property on par with the others within the O&L Leisure portfolio,” Makari says.

    According to Makari, this first phase will cost N$1 million. “The most notable experience, especially to those that have been to Midgard before, will be the unobstructed views from the restaurants to the outside as well as a completely new braai experience with the renovations of the Bali Boma at the pool bar.”

    Midgard Country Estate is known for its diverse offerings to people of all ages, and from different corners of life.

    “It is an ideal ‘away from the city’ conferencing destination, popular for its warm-hearted service delivery of a team dedicated to exceed customer expectations. The setting out in nature, in addition to the existing facilities like the Kegelbahn, provide the property with an offering that is difficult to match for anyone. Midgard Country Estate is also a popular weekend getaway, ideal for families with the attractive rates, many entertainment options for children and attractions for young and old alike.”

    Midgard will remain open despite renovations to the estate, Makari says.

    “Still going strong after eight decades of existence, Midgard will be going through various exciting stages of renovations. We strive and are committed to keep the experience for our guests on par with what it is known for, even during renovations.

    “This also falls in line with our group purpose of ‘Creating a future, enhancing life’, in that through keeping Midgard on par with the standard it is known for, we continue to attract tourists and other guests, thereby securing jobs of the very important staff at Midgard Country Estate, an asset that has contributed immensely to the success of this establishment.”

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    RMB launches inflation-linked bondRMB launches inflation-linked bond RMB Namibia recently expanded its funding instruments by issuing a five-year inflation-linked bond through a private placement.

    RMB introduced the instrument as an alternative inflation-protected asset to government-issued debt. The FNB ILB replicates the existing five-year government inflation-linked bond, the GI22.

    “This landmark product is the first of its kind in our local market and has attracted significant institutional interest, both locally and internationally,” said Selma Kapeng, head of global markets at RMB Namibia.

    “The growing popularity of ILBs is attributed to the rising demand for inflation protection. Aside from being an inflation hedge, ILBs are weakly correlated to other risk assets, thereby lessening volatility and increasing diversification within a multi-asset class portfolio, particularly in times of economic uncertainty and market stress.

    “Considering the bank's view that the local Consumer Price Index (CPI) growth will continue to print above the 6% upper target for the next 18 months, the FNB ILB serves as an attractive hedge, as the semi-annual coupon payments and final nominal amount are designed to track the movements in price levels.

    “The Replica bond is a great innovation and is in line with RMB's mission to be the fixed income house of choice in Namibia,” added Kapeng.

    “ILBs can provide value to a host of Namibia's investors pursuing diverse strategies, such as pension funds and insurance companies, which could apply linkers to liability-driven investment strategies and asset managers who can use them to generate alpha. We are very excited about prospects that a product like this will bring to our growing financial market.”


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    National medical aid scheme gets goingNational medical aid scheme gets goingGroundwork also laid for pension fund Progress has been made on the establishment of a national pension fund and medical aid scheme. The Social Security Commission of Namibia has made considerable progress with regard to the implementation of a national medical aid scheme and pension fund, says its spokesperson, Unomengi Kauaperirua.

    She says although the funds are not yet operational, the groundwork and legal framework for the national pension fund have begun and the commission has made good progress.

    “The Social Security Commission is determined to ensure that these projects are operationalised on a stable foundation.

    “The funds may not be operational as yet, however groundwork for the design and legal framework of the National Pension Fund have begun and are in progress at a rationally good pace.

    “Details on the design and legal framework are ready; however they are pending approval from the relevant governance structures. Unfortunately details are not available to the public until such time all fundamentals pertaining to the unveiling of the project are established,” she said on enquiry. With regard to the National Medical Benefit Fund, the SSC is preparing to begin with the groundwork.

    “We thus appeal to all stakeholders to exercise patience. You may conclude that we are certainly moving along the axiom 'go as fast as you can, but never hurry' all for the best conceivable outcome that could possibly be borne out of this project,” she said.

    Research work related to the feasibility of the national pension fund was completed in 2014 and presented to the commission's board in November that year.

    At the time, the study was to be presented to the then Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for political consideration.

    The Union Congress of Namibia recently tore into the SSC over the slow progress made with the implementation of the social safety nets the commission should have provided as part of its mandate.


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  • 02/14/17--14:00: Bird flu is back
  • Bird flu is backBird flu is backIt is a mixed bag of good and bad for the sub-region Following an almost global outbreak of a variety of bird flu strains, Namibia has responded quickly and halted imports. Good rains have been received in many of the areas in the SADC region that were affected by the severe El Niño induced drought in past years.

    These areas include much of Botswana, Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique, Swaziland and the northern half of South Africa, where normal to above-normal rains were received.

    Further north-west, in much of Angola, Zambia, and southern DRC, rains were generally normal to slightly below normal.

    Although the total rains received in many areas were slightly below normal, they were likely generally sufficient to allow crop development, as suggested by crop models, particularly given the current early stage of the crop.

    The north-eastern parts of the region, in particular, most of Tanzania, and parts of northern Mozambique, have received well below average rainfall so far this season, with negative impacts.

    The severity of the rainfall deficit is such that in many areas the planting rains have been delayed by 40 days or more. In addition, the south-western parts of the region have also received well below average rainfall. These include parts of south-western South Africa, western Namibia and south-western Angola.

    Late November through early January also saw extremely high temperatures in many of the same areas, which resulted in higher water loss through evaporation, as greater potential for heat stress to both crops and livestock.

    The rains to date have provided good potential crop production outcomes in many of the southern parts of the region.

    Water balance models running the water requirements satisfaction index (WRSI) suggest that higher than normal percentage of the water requirements of cereal crops will be met this season, if normal rains fall for the remainder of the season.

    In contrast, below average water-related crop performance is expected in south-eastern South Africa, parts of northern Namibia, and parts of Angola.

    This is primarily due to the nature of the rainfall patterns that have occurred since the beginning of the season.

    Vegetation conditions have improved vastly since November, in response to the moderate to high rains that have been received in many areas. The improved rains this season have helped recovery, but many areas are still showing below average vegetation conditions.

    Livestock conditions remain poor in some of the areas that were more severely affected by drought last season, including parts of Zimbabwe and South Africa, and improvement is likely to take several months, if pasture conditions keep improving over the remainder of the season. In parts of South Africa, livestock mortality is still being reported.

    In Zimbabwe, livestock have been washed away by floods in some areas due to excessive rains.

    Crop conditions are mixed across the region. The north-eastern half of South Africa has been receiving good rains for much of the growing season, while the south-western half has received below average rainfall and experienced excessively high temperatures.

    Consequently, crop conditions in the east have been reportedly performing better than those in the western half. Rainfall in Zambia has been generally good, however an infestation of armyworm have affected most districts in the country. Replanting will be required in over 68 000 ha.

    Maize crops planted as late as midJanuary though, generally have lower yield potential and higher risk of cessation of rains before crops reach maturity. Zimbabwe has received large amounts of rainfall this season, good for crop development in most areas, but flooding, collapse of dams, and washing away of crops has been reported in some areas.

    Fertilizer shortages have been reported, which, together with incessant rains that have been falling, have resulted in crops being affected by nitrogen deficiency. The continuing rains have also limited weeding operations. This situation is likely to negatively impact harvests.

    Zambia was affected by a severe outbreak of the Fall Armyworm. This pest is new to the southern African region, differing from the African Armyworm that has often affected the region in the past, and is reportedly more difficult to control.

    Close to 130 000 ha planted to maize had been affected, being approximately 10% of the planted area. With 94% of the country's districts affected in varying degrees, including several districts bordering Zambia's eight neighbours in the SADC region, vigilant region-wide monitoring activities are required.

    The Fall Armyworm was also reported recently as having affected several provinces in Zimbabwe, although information on the number of hectares affected was not yet available. Namibia and South Africa have also reported outbreaks of the Fall Armyworm.


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    Lumpy Skin outbreak in OkakararaLumpy Skin outbreak in Okakarara The agricultural ministry has implemented disease control measures and warned farmers that there is an outbreak of Lumpy Skin disease in the Okangeama village in the Okakarara constituency.

    So far seven cattle from five different homesteads have been affected.

    Lumpy Skin disease is a vector-borne, infectious, eruptive and occasionally fatal disease of cattle that is characterised by nodules on the skin and other parts of the body. It is normally transmitted by insect bites.

    The ministry has ordered the immediate suspension of all cattle movement in all villages and farms neighbouring Okangeama village, which is not limited to Okomuparara, Okomita, Omingerenjeu, Ondjiripumua, Omaundjiro, Elandspan, Ozonjune, Otjiwamapeta, Okahumba and Okozombo.

    According to the ministry active disease surveillance activities in Otjituo area will commence to establish the extent of the disease.

    Furthermore, all animal gathering activities in the restricted areas have been suspended with immediate effect - until further notice.

    The ministry said that roadblocks have been set up at strategic points in order to ensure compliance with the above measures.

    The ministry strongly advised farmers in Okakarara constituency and the country at large to vaccinate their cattle against the disease and to control vectors.

    “The ministry is encouraging farmers to report any suspected outbreaks to their nearest state veterinary services office for further investigation.”

    It also said farmers can administer sulphonamides and antibiotics to control secondary bacterial infections and good nursing care to cattle showing clinical signs of infection.


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  • 02/14/17--14:00: Bird flu is back
  • Bird flu is backBird flu is backNamibia suspends poultry imports Following an almost global outbreak of a variety of bird flu strains, Namibia has responded quickly and halted imports. Namibia has suspended the import of live poultry, birds and poultry products due to the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), known informally as bird flu that has been reported in several parts of Europe, Asia and Africa.

    This was announced last week by the agricultural ministry which said that some of the affected countries in Europe, Asia and Africa include France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, Russia, Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, India and Nigeria.

    According to the ministry since the incubation period of the disease is 21 days as set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the suspension takes 42 days.

    This means two incubation periods prior to the date of first detection. All previously issued import permits are therefore recalled.

    According to the ministry Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus which occur worldwide.

    All birds are thought to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza, though some species are more resistant to infection than others.

    The ministry said that HPAI is characterised by the sudden onset, severe illness, and rapid death, with a mortality rate that can be up to 100%.

    Common clinical signs include swelling and purple discolouration of the head, comb and wattle, swelling and red discolouration of the feet, bleeding of internal organs and muscles, greenish diarrhoea, twisting of the neck, staggering movement and paralysis of wings and legs.

    Disease caused by some strains of the following subtypes: H5N1, H7N9 may be transmitted to humans.

    People can be infected with the virus through the eyes, nose, mouth through handling and coming into close contact with infected poultry, birds, and through the handling of their saliva, mucus and faeces of infected birds and through consumption of poultry products from infected poultry.

    Importers are urged to contact the veterinary permits office for further information on the countries currently affected by HPAI.


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  • 02/14/17--14:00: It's Mugabe's birthday
  • It's Mugabe's birthdayIt's Mugabe's birthdayMillions need to be raised for his party As per tradition, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe will have a lavish birthday party and while there are plans to derail it, they are highly unlikely to succeed. President Robert Mugabe's lavish 93rd birthday party is less than two weeks away - and a group of activists is trying to get it blocked.

    The Tajamuka [We are agitated] protest movement says it is “insane” for Mugabe's ruling party to want to celebrate when a worsening economic crisis has left up to 90% of Zimbabweans without formal


    As bank-card carrying Zimbabweans spend hours in queues trying to access paltry sums of cash, fundraisers for the party have demanded donations from civil servants, businesses and officials. There's some discrepancy over exactly how much they aim to raise.

    A party official last month said each of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces should raise N$331 000, making a grand total of around N$3.313 million , which is what Mugabe's party cost in 2009. However, unnamed sources have told NewZimbabwe.com the real goal may be N$33.13 million.

    Tajamuka's Happyson Ncube told the Southern Times Express this weekend: “We are mobilising all Zimbabweans and we know people have been forced to make donations towards Mugabe's birthday.”

    But the protest group, which sprang up soon after Pastor Evan Mawarire, launched his ThisFlag movement does not have wide support.

    Previous Tajamuka promises of “massive” protests against Mugabe and his government have not come to anything.

    Mugabe's birthday party - what you need to know:

    Where: On a rugby pitch at the Rhodes Estate Preparatory School near the Matopos National Park, about half an hour's drive from Bulawayo. (Cricket player Henry Olonga is reported to have attended this school).

    Initially the venue chosen was inside the park, which is where there are mass graves from the mid-1980s Gukurahundi era. It's also where British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes is buried.

    How many will attend: 100 000 according to state media (although youth leader Kudzai Chipanga has suggested today it could be as many as 200 000). The 150 cattle to be slaughtered will be a huge draw card.

    Will Grace be there? Very likely. Grace is about to take centre-stage again politically as she starts holding rallies around the country, likely to drum up support against VP Emmerson Mnangagwa. There's been speculation she may try to get herself elected as an MP next year.

    Cakes? There will be many. As is the custom, Mugabe's main (donated) birthday cake will weigh exactly the same number of kilograms as years he's accumulated. So in this case, it'll weigh 93kg.


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    Trump vows response to N KoreaTrump vows response to N KoreaMissile test irks UN, USA and its allies After yet another missile test by North Korea, American president Donald Trump described the country as a “big, big problem”. The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile test as US President Donald Trump vowed to deliver a strong response to the provocation.

    Backed by China, Pyongyang's main ally, the council agreed on a US-drafted statement describing the test-firing of the missile as a “grave violation” of UN resolutions and threatening “further significant measures”.

    The council met behind closed doors at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea after Pyongyang announced it had successfully tested a new missile on Sunday, the first launch since Trump took office.

    At a Washington news conference a few hours before the council meeting, Trump described North Korea as a “big, big problem” and vowed “we will deal with that very strongly”.

    The latest missile was launched from the western city of Kusong and flew east for about 500km before falling into the Sea of Japan (East Sea), South Korea's defence ministry said.

    US Ambassador Nikki Haley called on the council to “use every available resource to make it clear to the North Korean regime – and its enablers – that these launches are unacceptable.

    “It is time to hold North Korea accountable – not with our words, but with our actions,” she said in a statement.

    UN resolutions bar North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile launches or nuclear tests.

    But it conducted two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches last year in its quest to develop a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.

    No military solution

    The Security Council has imposed six sets of sanctions since Pyongyang first tested an atomic device in 2006.

    Enforcing those measures is key to changing Pyongyang's behaviour, Japan's Ambassador Koro Bessho said, cautioning that “it takes time”.

    “We need to keep on pushing. We are not looking for a military solution,” he said.

    “We will have a peaceful solution and the Security Council is the body that is most suited for that,” he added. The US Defence Department warned that the United States and its allies have the capability to shoot down any missile from North Korea.

    Pyongyang is “very open and transparent about their desire to build this capability, and we are open about our ability to defeat it,” Pentagon spokesperson Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.

    The United States is also working with Seoul to install a THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a move opposed by China.

    France also called for ensuring that sanctions are fully implemented.

    “It also implies on the European side working towards additional EU measures,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre said, without elaborating. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the missile test and had called for a united international response to the “further troubling violation” of UN resolutions.

    “The DPRK leadership must return to full compliance with its international obligations and to the path of denuclearisation,” he said in a statement, referring to North Korea. China and the United States worked together to draft the two latest UN sanctions resolutions, aimed at curbing North Korea's export revenues and weakening its ability to build up its ballistic and nuclear technology.

    New type of weapon system

    The North's leader Kim Jong-Un “expressed great satisfaction over the possession of another powerful nuclear attack means which adds to the tremendous might of the country,” the state news agency KCNA said on Monday.

    It released photos showing the missile blasting into the sky with a smiling Kim watching from the command centre and standing on the launch field surrounded by dozens of cheering soldiers and scientists.

    The missile was described as a surface-to-surface “medium long range” Pukguksong-2, a “Korean-style new type strategic weapon system”.

    North Korea claims it has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the US mainland, but has not yet tested one. KCNA said the missile tested on Sunday was powered by a solid-fuel engine – which needs a far shorter refuelling time than conventional liquid fuel-powered missiles.

    The South has said that Sunday's launch was intended as a test for Trump, who responded by pledging “100%” support for Washington's key regional ally, Japan.

    Trump has pressed China to play a bigger role in restraining its wayward neighbour.

    China's foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Beijing opposes North Korean missile launches that violate UN resolutions.

    Russia's foreign ministry called the launch “a demonstration of contempt for UN Security Council resolutions”.


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