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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 328 | 329 | (Page 330) | 331 | 332 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Burundi's deadly turmoil ongoingBurundi's deadly turmoil ongoing Two years after Burundi's president plunged the central African country into turmoil, the regime shows no signs of easing up on a crackdown that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee.

    The UN estimates that at least 500 people have been killed since President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a third term in April 2015. Aid groups say as many as 2 000 people have died.

    Nkurunziza's re-election move violated the two-term limit set by the constitution and a 2006 peace deal that ended a dozen years of civil war.

    The head of state claims that his first term doesn't count because he was appointed after the war, and not directly elected.

    He has also suggested a possible change to Burundi's constitution that would let him run again in 2020.

    In the meantime, his ruling CNND-FDD party has unleashed its feared youth wing known as the Imbonerakure - “those who see from afar” in the local Kirundi language - who now reign with impunity across much of the country.

    “The Imbonerakure have become the spearhead of the repression, they have spread out across the country identifying and harassing the opposition,” said Florent Geel of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

    And the UN rights chief condemned the youth wing this month for repeatedly calling for the rape and murder of opposition supporters, saying it amounts to a “campaign of terror”.

    The East African Community plans a summit meeting for May, which many officials see as the last chance to find a diplomatic solution to a crisis that has prompted more than 400 000 people to flee the country.

    “The crisis is behind us, security is assured, peace has returned to Burundi and everyone is going about their business,” said the country's first vice president, Gaston Sindimwo.

    But opposition leaders as well as NGOs say this claim of “peace” results from brutal repression that has left hundreds dead.

    The Imbonerakure often set up roadblocks to search vehicles heading north into Rwanda or south into Tanzania, arresting scores of “suspects”, several witnesses told AFP.

    “The entire population is terrorised because anyone can arrest you in the street and you won't be heard from again,” a resident in Bujumbura, the capital, said on condition on anonymity.

    “The fear is so strong that sometimes a father won't dare ask the security services for news of his missing son,” he said.

    The government has rejected all of the UN's reports on the violence and calls for inquiries, as well as a Security Council resolution seeking the deployment of 228 police officers.

    The political opposition, and many elements of civil society in general, have fled Burundi.

    A foreign diplomat in Bujumbura said the government also worries about rebel groups forming in neighbouring countries, including the Republican Forces of Burundi (Forebu), which mainly consists of deserting police and soldiers.

    “Many Burundians now believe that this is the only language understood by President Pierre Nkurunziza, who refuses to talk about peace,” said Jeremie Minani, an opposition leader.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    SA's nuke deal with Russia scrappedSA's nuke deal with Russia scrappedWestern Cape High Court sets aside decision In an application brought by Earthlife and others in South Africa, the High Court ruled that the ANC government's agreement with Russia on nuclear power was unlawful and it has been set aside. It's back to the drawing board for government, which has received a bloody nose in the Western Cape High Court where its nuclear procurement processes to date have been declared unlawful and set aside.

    Judge Lee Bozalek on Wednesday morning ruled in favour of the case brought by Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute (Safcei) against government.

    In his ruling, he declared government's attempts to secure 9.6 GW of nuclear energy were unlawful, including the initial determination to procure nuclear energy in 2013, the cooperation agreements signed with Russia, the US and South Korea, as well as former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson's decision to hand over the procurement of nuclear energy to Eskom late last year.

    The court case was first launched in October 2015, with Earthlife Africa and Safcei challenging the government's decision to buy 9.6 GW of nuclear power without debating it first in Parliament, thus flouting democratic processes.

    The two organisations said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday that if the court bid is successful, it will put “serious roadblocks” in the way of the government and Eskom's nuclear procurement process.

    Fin24 earlier reported that the applicants argued in court papers that the government cannot afford the mooted R1trn nuclear price tag, and that it acted in secret when it signed an agreement with Russia as part of the procurement plans for a nuclear build programme.

    The court declared that the minister's decision on or about 10 June 2015 to table the Russian IGA before parliament in terms of the Constitution is unconstitutional and unlawful, and it is reviewed and set aside.

    The judge also declared that the minister's decisions at about the same time to table certain other agreements before Parliament in terms of the Constitution unlawful and unconstitutional.

    These include the agreement for cooperation between SA and the US regarding peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and an agreement between SA and the Republic of Korea regarding cooperation between the two countries in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

    Earthlife and Safcei further argue that the Department of Energy acted unlawfully when it decided in December 2016 to move the procurement of nuclear energy to Eskom, as former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson had not followed any public participation or consultative process before making the decision.

    Joemat-Pettersson in a responding affidavit said she was not aware of any rule or court order that would prevent her from handing over the procurement process to Eskom.

    Government's lawyer Marius Oosthuizen SC said in counter arguments that the deal signed with Russia is not tantamount to a commercial agreement, but was only an agreement to work together.

    He pointed out that an international agreement between two countries is not required to be debated in Parliament, as it is not a constitutional requirement.

    Oosthuizen also argued that the government is within its rights to come up with policies such as nuclear energy as part of South Africa's energy mix, and that it should not be preceded by a debate in parliament.

    He further questioned why “everybody” is “picking” on government's agreement with Russia when similar agreements had been signed with France and China.

    The procurement of nuclear energy is the subject of fierce debate in the country. A number of energy experts argue that it is superfluous, as energy demand is lower than previously projected and nuclear energy would be too expensive.

    The government, on the other hand, including power utility Eskom, maintains that South Africa needs nuclear energy as a form of base load power as coal-fired power stations are being phased out.

    Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba repeated President Jacob Zuma's earlier statement that nuclear energy would only be procured at a pace and scale the government can afford.

    The affordability issue however was also raised by Fitch, which became the second rating agency to downgrade South Africa's sovereign credit rating.

    In its statement issued on April 7, explaining the decision to cut South Africa's rating to junk status, Fitch said under new Minister of Energy Nkhensani Kubayi the programme is likely to move “relatively quickly”.

    It further noted that under the finance ministry of Nhlanhla Nene, who was removed on 9 December 2015, National Treasury said Eskom could not absorb the nuclear programme with its approved guarantees at the time. A nuclear build programme would increase contingent liabilities, Fitch said, which are already “sizeable”.

    FIN24

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    Time for a competitive economy Time for a competitive economy Time for a competitive economy
    There have been diverse opinions on the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework in Namibia (NEEEF) question, with some not supporting the proposed legislation in its entirety. There is no doubt that government will find itself in a dilemma when it comes to the implementation of this economic transformation plan. It is true that Namibia is still not yet an established nation and that much transformation is needed to address the current imbalances in almost all sectors of our economy. We are cognisant of the fact that addressing the issues of the past is an incredibly difficult mission and hence the authorities must tread with caution when implementing certain programmes aimed at changing the status quo for the better. Previously disadvantaged Namibians have made peace with the fact that there were oppressive policies that excluded them from access to capital, infrastructure and to build industries, in comparison to white-owned businesses that greatly benefited. Together, as Namibians, one and all, we have a duty to fix our country and not just act like cry-babies whenever words such as NEEEF and empowerment are mentioned. Inasmuch as we don’t wholly agree with the NEEEF concept and its targeted interventions, it is about time that we swallow our pride and work towards the economic transformation of an all-inclusive democracy. For quite a long time the structure of the economy has remained largely unchanged. We can’t be happy with the high levels of inequality and poverty that our people are wallowing in. There is clearly an urgent need to accelerate the pace of transforming our economy with the main objective of ensuring all our people an equitable share of the country’s wealth. The poor have every reason to feel infuriated when they struggle to get jobs, decent homes and to simply provide for their families. Moreover we must guard against factors such as corruption and maladministration, which undermine economic transformation and deplete our resources. It is crucial to develop a credible and sustainable growth strategy that inspire responsible businesses to make sizable contributions towards the prosperity of all Namibian citizens. Everyone has a role to play in the Namibian house!




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  • 04/26/17--16:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day HAPPY NEW YEAR: Iraqi Yazidis light up a balloon outside Lalish temple situated in a valley near Dohuk, 430 km (260 miles) northwest of Baghdad, during a ceremony to celebrate the Yazidi New Year on 18 April 2017. The Yazidis, who number about 1.6 million, commemorate the arrival of the light into the world during the celebration. Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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    Angola confirms malaria transmissionAngola confirms malaria transmissionTakes hands with Namibia to combat cross-border infections In an updated memorandum of understanding, the Angolan and Namibian health authorities will work together to not only combat malaria cross-border, but also other illnesses. The Angolan health minister has confirmed that malaria transmission has increased in Angola and added that the disease is also transmitted to Namibia by Angolans who visit Namibia on daily basis.

    Dr Luis Gomes Sambo made this announcement during the commemoration of World Malaria Day at Omafo in Ohangwena on Tuesday. The event also saw the Namibian health minister, Dr Bernhard Haufiku launching a health relationship memorandum to combat common diseases at Oihole in the Cunene Province of Angola.

    Sambo commended Namibia's efforts and successes in fighting malaria and he vowed to work with Namibia to make sure that Angola also defeats the disease. However, he said that malaria transmission in Angola is increasing and due to the free movement across the border.

    “Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, I commend the efforts made by Namibia in combating malaria. Angola is still in progress in this regard and needs to learn from Namibia. Since we are sharing our borders and our culture, we are also sharing diseases through our people who are visiting Namibia,” Sambo said. He they started strengthening border control and improved intervention mechanisms. He said he was also delighted to see Dr Haufiku in Angola with effort to strengthen the health relationship between the two countries.

    “We have introduced disease control along the border that includes vaccinations and testing those who are going to, or coming from, Namibia.” This year Haufiku announced a malaria outbreak in the northern region after his ministry reported more than 7 000 cases between January and February alone, while 15 people have died from malaria since the beginning of the year. The ministry reported that most of these cases are coming from Angola and it is against this background that the two ministries launched the memorandum and commemorated Malaria Day together to enable them fight the disease together.

    “For us to defeat malaria Namibia and Angola must speak one medical language. It will not help if we are fighting malaria here while Angola is quiet. What is happening in Namibia must be the same in Angola. At the launch in Angola I told the Angolan people that the malaria fight can only be won if they go out en masse and fight malaria in their own communities,” Haufiku said.

    He said that the memorandum will not only concentrate on malaria, but also on other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), HIV and Aids, polio and other diseases. He also said that they are broadening their cooperation which was first established by former health minister Dr Richard Kamwi and former Angolan health minister Dr José Vieira Dias Van-Dúnem. “Our lawyers are busy reviewing policies that govern the existing memorandum of understanding which only focuses on border control.

    We would like the relationship to focus on equalising the health system on both sides. This will include health workers' exchanges and treatment programmes to make sure the two countries are on equal footing,” he said.

    Haufiku said that for the two nations to successfully fight malaria they must have a task team of community health workers deep in remote areas where people need to be educated on how to prevent malaria and how to respond to malaria symptoms.



    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Libraries face major challengesLibraries face major challenges Only half the country's population has access to libraries and information and communication technology services.

    This was announced by Elia Manga, the deputy director at the Directorate of National Library and Archives Services (NLAS) during a key performance indicators presentation this week. Manga said that 1.1 million Namibians have access to library services although the number could be higher if more people made use of these facilities. According to Manga, NLAS initially targeted over 800 000 Namibians but this was surpassed during 2016/17. “The target was exceeded due to improved library service awareness,” said Manga. NLAS came up with the figures after conducting research at 63 community libraries, 17 special libraries and at the national library in Windhoek. The deputy director added that NLAS wanted to reach over 6 000 community members through mobile library services and eventually reached 5 746, falling just short of their mark. He also said that they initially targeted training for 2 000 community members in basic ICT training and finally managed to conclude the training for 1 492 community members. “The target was not met as only 26 libraries funded by the Finnish Library Association are conducting basic ICT training and some of the computers were not working,” said Manga. Manga says that only the national library has internet services for users. According to Manga they targeted 152 800 users in libraries and with the help of Wi-Ri in 2016/17 they exceeded that target to 184 000. “The target exceeded as many users are using Wi-Fi services - even after hours - at the three regional libraries,” said Manga. Manga says there are three government libraries that offer access to global electronic services. “The libraries provided access to emerald, EbscoHost and HINARI services,” said Manga. These services provide low-cost access to research and information. What is of concern however, is the lack of preservation of indigenous work in Namibia that is not being digitised for broader access. “Broader consultation to get participants from identified regions has been a challenge,” said Manga.

    Due to a shortage of staff at the national library and the National Archives only 2 604 documents were digitised in 2016/17. While there have been many challenges, there have also been many successes and over 3 000 children have benefited from the organised reading programmes at schools and community libraries. Access to information in Namibia remains problematic but has improved with the greater penetration of smartphones, allowing instant internet access from any location. Drives by for example, MTC, have made smartphones for accessible for all Namibians providing far greater access to information than ever before. In the view of some, this may cause long-term challenges to libraries as they may become redundant as physical institutions.



    Shona Ngava

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    New plan for marine oil spillsNew plan for marine oil spills Cabinet has approved the new Draft National Marine Pollution Contingency Plan that will replace Namibia's first National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) which has become inadequate to effectively manage the fast evolving risk profile driven by the growth of the Walvis Bay port.

    The NOCSP was approved by Cabinet nearly a decade ago and provided for a coordinated and integrated national system for dealing with oil spills in Namibian waters and was characterised by willing and effective cooperation between government and the industry.

    The system is no longer sustainable.

    “Unfortunately, the above economic activities also mean that the risk of a serious marine pollution, not only from oil but also from hazardous and noxious substances, is greater than before. “This threatens our marine resources and our coastline, which - in its entirety - is classified as a national park and is endowed with many biological and socio-economic resources,” the new draft plan states. Namibia had to review its marine pollution preparedness and response system in order to make it more responsive to the prevailing risk scenarios and align it to international best practices. The new national plan adopts a sustainable funding model while recognising the need to develop and maintain a shared responsibility, and the commitment of all stakeholders in order to provide effective marine pollution prevention, preparedness and response services in Namibia, the region and internationally. The 1995 hull failure incident involving the cargo vessel Irene, wherein 700 metric tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) was released into Namibian waters, highlighted the need for Namibia to develop and sustain a coordinated and integrated system for preparing and responding to ship-sourced pollution incidents.



    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 04/26/17--16:00: Seas remains in custody
  • Seas remains in custodySeas remains in custodyWoman accused of killing daughter denied bail A Swakopmund magistrate weighs up all the opinions, including several social workers and healthcare workers in the evaluation of bail for Zenobia Seas. The 32-year-old Zenobia Seas who is accused of having smothered her daughter to death, was denied bail during her formal bail application in the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court last week.

    In her judgement on the application, Magistrate Surita Savage expressed her indignation, not only at the matter at hand, but in general at the rise in domestic violence cases.

    “Every day we open the newspaper we read of horrific domestic violence crimes being committed and this one ranks as one of the worst in that the accused, being little Ava's mother, was supposed to protect her defenceless child, but from what was placed before this court, the accused did the extreme opposite and a little girl paid with her life,” said Savage.

    According to the charge sheet, Seas stand accused of murdering Ava Antonette Amakhoes Owoses, 3, on 26 September last year in the vicinity of Henties Bay.

    During the application the state prosecutor, Dalon Quickfall, said the state opposes the granting of bail to the accused on the grounds that it would not be in the interest of the public and the administration of justice.

    According to Quickfall, the state has a strong case against Seas and added the state also fears that the accused will tamper with state witnesses, specifically family members.

    Seas's legal representative, Mposikeng Dube, told the court that the accused intends to seek medical assistance from a psychologist or psychiatrist to determine her state of mind at the time of the incident. Seas is of the opinion that her constitutional right will be violated if she is not released on bail to seek medical assistance.

    An educational psychologist, Estelle Bailey, who visited Seas once, testified that there is no reason to suggest that she should stay any longer in custody.

    “She does not appear to be a threat to herself or anyone else. In order for the legal process to follow its course and for Seas to be fit to stand trial, it is recommended that she undergoes more evaluation in different physical circumstances and surroundings that may shed light on what drove her actions on that day”, said Bailey.

    The former regional crime investigation coordinator for the Erongo region, Deputy Commissioner Otillie Kashuupulwa, testified that there was an outcry from the public as an innocent life was taken. She also said that the state would be able to cater to the accused's medical needs should this be requested in advance.

    In her judgement, Savage said, “There is no doubt that the charge the accused is facing is serious and usually attracts severe punishment on conviction. However, sight must not be lost of the fact that the presumption in law is that an accused is innocent until proven guilty. A court will lean in favour of an accused unless there are strong indicators that it is likely to prejudice the ends of justice.”

    According to Savage public interest deserves strong considerations.

    “It is not easy to define, it may be created in the minds of the public that the police, courts, and state is unable and unwilling to protect them. This fear has become real, especially that the state is compelled to disclose case dockets including witness statement to the accused. The public will thus fear that they are not safe because they might become victims of the same accused,” she said.

    Savage said that the court considered Bailey's evidence. She however found that the court is not convinced a single session was adequate to draw an educated conclusion as to the future state of mind of the accused. She said that Bailey's recommendation remains an opinion.

    “The accused may consult with a doctor or psychologist of her own choice. Should the police authorities fail to render the required assistance to the accused, it is available to the detainee concerned to challenge the detention before a court of law. I am satisfied that the accused is not restrained from medical treatment while in custody,” said Savage.

    Savage said the accused intends to return to her family home where she resides with her parents and child, should she be released on bail.

    “This court cannot lose sight of the fact that the family of the accused are witnesses in this matter, and with this proposed arrangement it will be impossible to prevent contamination or interference with witnesses.”

    “The public ultimately wants to see justice be done. This court affirms the position of the state that it is in the public interest when a child is killed in the manner that Ava lost her life. She is one of the many victims in our country. In my view there is sufficient reason to come to the conclusion that it would not be in the interest of justice to release the accused on bail,” said Savage.

    Savage further ordered that the case be postponed until 7 June for the police to obtain outstanding medical and forensic evidence.

    Jessica Botes

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    Ondangwa donates land for new campusOndangwa donates land for new campus The Ondangwa Town Council has donated about 10 hectares of land to the University of Namibia to start a new campus.

    The piece of land will be used by the engineering and information technology faculty to establish an industrial park for the automotive engineering field.

    This announcement was made last week during a graduation ceremony at Ongwediva.

    Ondangwa Town Council CEO Ismael Namugongo has in the past highlighted the need to attract investment to the town through land allocation.

    Unam’s vice-chancellor Lazarus Hangula was ecstatic to share the good news.

    “I am pleased to announce that the Ondangwa Town Council has donated more than 10 hectares of land to Unam’s engineering and information communication faculty to develop an industrial park. It is also hoped that a specialised centre for the development of automotive engineering and other currently lacking industrial skills in Namibia will be established there, resources permitting.

    Unam’s outgoing Chancellor and former president Hifikepunye Pohamba commended Ondangwa for donating land to the university.

    “I am delighted that the faculty of engineering and information technology plans to establish an industrial park at Ondangwa. The park will serve as a catalyst for large-scale industrial development and promotion of agricultural mechanism,” Pohamba said.

    Namugongo confirmed that they donated the land to Unam. He said that this is part of transforming Ondangwa into an industrial town.

    “Our vision is to become an engine of industrial and sustainable development in the north. For us to achieve this we need experienced people to help us realise our dream. We engaged into discussions with Unam for the past 12 months and after that we decided to donate land to them,” Namugongo said. Namugongo said that Ondangwa has the potential and they are expecting Unam to train the local people.

    “We have the airport, railway facilities and other infrastructure that can assist the trained expertise to boost the growth of our town.”



    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Namibian media still freest in AfricaNamibian media still freest in Africa Namibia has retained its top ranking in the latest World Press Freedom Index as the country with the freest media in Africa.

    But Namibia dropped seven places to 24th out of 180 countries in the world ranking.

    The rankings were released this week by Reporters Without Borders.

    Ghana (26), Cape Verde (27), South Africa (31) and Burkina Faso (42) are the other top-ranked African countries. Botswana, Mauritania, Mauritius, Madagascar and Senegal also made it to Africa's top ten.

    The world rankings are dominated by Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

    Namibia has over the years maintained the highest ranking on the continent and its government in particular has been credited for upholding press freedom.

    The chairperson of the Namibia Editors' Forum (NEF), Joseph Ailonga, commended the country on maintaining the highest ranking on the continent, but was quick to point that a lot still needed to be done to guard against dropping in the overall world ranking. “The latest rankings show the value and the media environment that we currently have in our country,” he said. “The indication of us dropping in terms of world ranking probably has to do with other African countries going down. An example is what is happening in Cameroon.” Ailonga added that the tone used by the political authorities over the last 12 months or so might have led to the country falling seven places in the world ranking.

    He particularly singled out the imminent Broadcasting Code that will be enacted under Namibia's new Communication Act as a drawback.

    He also blasted last year's cabinet directive which sought preferential treatment for two state media houses when it comes to government information and advertising.

    “Press freedom must continue. Obviously the government must be proactive in this regard. If they want to be the freest in Africa they should adhere to transparency and tune down the tone on intimidation. Government must play its role to ensure that Namibia remains the freest in Africa,” he said.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    DTA demands Zambian leader's releaseDTA demands Zambian leader's release DTA leader McHenry Venaani has written to the chairperson of the SADC Troika, John Magufuli, demanding that he intervene in the recent arrest of Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema on treason charges.

    Hichilema was charged with treason for allegedly obstructing President Edgar Lungu's motorcade on a road about two weeks ago.

    It was reported that Hichilema's convoy refused to give way to the presidential motorcade when it passed through the town of Mongu, about 500km west of Lusaka.

    In Zambia, treason is punishable by a minimum jail term of 15 years and the maximum sentence is the death penalty. No bail is granted in such cases.

    “The current wave of politically motivated arrests of opposition party leaders and members in Zambia has culminated in the arbitrary arrest and detention of the leader of the official opposition in Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, for what is at best a minor traffic violation that has creatively been dubbed 'treason',” said Venaani.

    “It is deplorable for those in the region who fear political competition and opposition to use state machinery to victimise, criminalise and oppress opposition parties, their leaders and their members.

    “SADC and Africa at large does not need reminding that it is actions such as these which have previously and continue to fuel political instability and conflict throughout Africa.”

    Venaani asked Magufuli, who is the president of Tanzania, to intervene and “put to an end the politically motivated arrests and detention in Zambia”.

    “I also call on the SADC Troika to ensure the immediate release of the UPND president, Hakainde Hichilema.”

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Land and genocide hand in handLand and genocide hand in handOvaherero want resettlement put on hold The Ovaherero Traditional Authority says all resettlement activities should be suspended until after the second national land conference in September. The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) say the only way to restore faith in the government's resettlement efforts is to immediately suspend all resettlement activity until the issue is finalised at the proposed land conference in September.

    In a press statement issued yesterday on behalf of the Ovaherero Chiefs' Council after a two-day meeting, the OTA expressed concern about the government's perceived ambivalence about the question of ancestral land.

    OTA spokesperson Bob Kandetu said the government's approach to such a sensitive matter left much to be desired. “We look forward to raising these matters with the head of state at his earliest convenience,” he said.

    He added that the authority's position was that all matters of resettlement must be suspended until after the envisaged land conference, “as the only way to restore a measure of integrity of the process of resettlement”.

    He said that the Chiefs' Council had noted with concern that the willing-buyer, willing-seller model had not performed well and that the process had not been well managed.

    “Also, there is no evidence that those who were settled on these farms were the most deserving. In Namibia, there are those who have lost land and deserve to be resettled and those who yearn to be settled on land as entitlement.”

    He said the Ovaherero and Nama people had lost land and wealth through colonial expropriation and that their assets were forcibly taken from them by Germany over 112 years ago and redistributed to German settlers and soldiers.

    The OTA also raised concern about the “status and format” of the planned land conference later this year.

    Kandetu said the authority hoped the land conference would be “above board” and “fairly managed”, despite the strong views already expressed by the government.

    Sins and apologies

    Yesterday's comments came in the wake of this week's confession of guilt and a request for forgiveness issued by the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD).

    In subsequent interviews, church officials described the apology as long overdue.

    “From the depths of our hearts, we ask the descendants of the victims, and all those whose ancestors suffered from the exercise of German colonial rule, for forgiveness for the wrong done them and the pain they suffered as a consequence,” the church said. In a lengthy document adopted this week by the EKD, the church said it was clear that the German response to the Ovaherero and Nama resistance was “clearly genocidal”. The apology stated: “As the Evangelical Church of Germany, and successor organisation of the former Prussian Evangelical High Church Council, we expressly confess our guilt today towards the entire Namibian people and before God.”

    The statement said the actions were “a great sin and not to be justified at all”.

    It further said the church was “deeply aware that any acts of atonement cannot undo the injustice committed”.

    The document concluded with a list of proposed examples of the way in which the church could cooperate in the “process of healing memories in Namibia and Germany”, including supporting efforts to gain public recognition of the genocide in Germany, and assisting with the transfer of the remains of genocide victims still in Germany.

    The Chiefs' Council said they had resolved to “tirelessly take the campaign for reparations to the doorstep of Germany”.

    They accused the country of not having shown any respect for the reparation campaign.

    “Germany has proven that they have no respect for human lives as testified by the genocide against two nations and the scorn they continue to pour on our leaders,” they said.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 04/26/17--16:00: Khomas tops ammunition list
  • Khomas tops ammunition listKhomas tops ammunition list A total of 1 276 firearms, 99 509 rounds of ammunition and 81 explosive devices were surrendered under an amnesty declared by the Ministry of Safety and Security.

    The Namibian Police declared a gun amnesty in August 2016 which ran for three months and was subsequently extended to 18 February 2017.

    The Khomas Region registered the highest number of armaments returned, with a total of 806 firearms, 55 712 rounds of ammunition and 21 explosive devices, followed by Otjozondjupa with 72 firearms, 22 491 rounds of ammunition and 45 explosive devices.

    A large quantity of ammunition was also returned in the Oshikoto (8 652), Ohangwena (3 022) and Hardap (3 045) regions, while

    //Karas (68), Erongo (62), Omusati (73) and Oshikoto (62) saw a high number of surrendered firearms.

    The only regions where explosive devices were surrendered were Khomas, Otjozondjupa and //Karas (15).

    Safety and security minister Charles Namoloh said the firearms would be subjected to ballistic tests. “The ministry is in the process of establishing if any of the firearms handed over has been used in the commission of crime through ballistic tests.”

    Ndeitunga said the government was concerned about the proliferation of illegal weapons and ammunition that had been found by the police during operations conducted nationwide.

    He said the reason why there were so many illegal guns in Namibia was the Angolan and South African conflict, during which war materials had been acquired by many citizens.

    He said from 2013 to 2015 the police had confiscated 560 illegal firearms.

    “This year there is a big number, but they may still be tied up with investigations in court cases,” he said.

    “Illegal firearms in irresponsible hands are a great concern and are used in violent crimes,” said Ndeitunga. He said an earlier amnesty had been declared in 1992, but despite that some people still possessed unlicensed weapons.

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    In the footsteps of Namibia's exiled childrenIn the footsteps of Namibia's exiled childrenRetracing the history of the GDR kids Some of the Namibians who had grown up in the former East Germany recently revisited their former homes. On the eve of the commemoration of Cassinga Day a group of Namibian journalists visited places in the former East Germany where children from Swapo refugee camps had been sent.

    About 430 refugee children were sent to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) under an agreement with its government and the exiled Swapo leadership.

    Many of these children were first taken to Jagdschloss (hunting castle) Bellin, which the GDR government had expropriated from a noble family.

    There, in the rural backwaters of the socialist state, the children were housed and schooled. The castle, built by Henry Brarens Sloman in 1910, has 50 rooms where the children slept, played, prayed, and where the foundations of their lives were laid.

    From Bellin many of the older children were transferred to the former School of Friendship Strassfurt, which is now the vocational training institute of Saxony-Anhalt, about three hours from Bellin, where they continued with their secondary schooling.

    Most of the children had been living in the GDR since 1979. Some arrived later in the 1980s.

    As seismic political changes swept across Europe, the notorious Berlin Wall dividing East and West Germany fell in 1989, heralding in a new socio-political era.

    It was also the birth of the new Namibia. With that came the end of Namibia's GDR kids' stay in Germany. They were all repatriated to Namibia, the country of their parents, where many struggled to adapt to the local way of life. This week's trip was aimed at retracing the history of the so-called 'GDR kids' and what it meant for them and the Germans who were part of this project.





    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Ex-governor critical after attackEx-governor critical after attack ILENI NANDJATO

    The former governor of the Omusati Region, Leonard Nangolo Mukwiilongo, is still in a critical condition in a private hospital in the north, three weeks after he was attacked at his Elim residence.

    The 92-year-old Mukwiilongo was tortured and assaulted by six robbers who demanded from him the keys to his safe.

    According to his son, Tshatipamba, the six armed men arrived at his father’s house on 11 April at around 11:00 in the morning and found Mukwiilongo and a maid sitting outside.

    The robbers allegedly forced them inside the house where they demanded money.

    “They blindfolded my father and the maid and started demanding the safe keys. He refused to hand it over to them. They set fire to plastic bags and started torturing him. He was later hit in the head with a pistol,” he said. According to Tshatipamba, the robbers locked Mukwiilongo and the maid inside the room and tried to flee with the safe.

    “The safe was too heavy and while they were struggling to load it onto their car the maid managed to untie herself and helped to untie my father. She escaped from the room through the window and ran for help. When the robbers saw the maid running, they fled and left the safe behind.”

    Omusati police spokesperson Anna Kunga told Namibian Sun that three of the suspects had been arrested and had appeared before the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court.

    They are Wilhelm Nakale (41), Stefanus Namupala (35) and Abraham Ashipena (26). They were denied bail and the case was postponed to 31 May.

    “The police investigation continues and we are still looking for the other three suspects,” Kunga said.

    Mukwiilongo’s nephew, Epafras Mukwiilongo, said his uncle deserved state security by virtue of being a former governor. “These are prominent people in the communities who need protection all the time. Now this is what is happening since the government abandoned them,” Epafras said.

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    Tjongarero peeved at youth apathyTjongarero peeved at youth apathy Deputy youth minister Agnes Tjongarero has blasted young people for not showing interest in national issues.

    Tjongarero said she was disappointed in the youth, adding that she did not see any active involvement by the younger generation.

    “There are so many youth bodies in this country, yet there is no input from their side. We want active participation from them,” said Tjongarero, who was speaking at the launch of the national preparatory committee for the upcoming World Youth Festival at the Swapo Party headquarters in Windhoek.

    Tjongarero delivered the keynote address on behalf of minister Jerry Ekandjo, who had to accompany President Hage Geingob to Zimbabwe.

    She told the media that she had the minister's prepared speech but she was not going to read it because she wanted to address her disappointment in the youth instead.





    “The Swapo Party Youth League, the National Youth Council and many others are not doing anything. I do not even see them going against bills that are tabled in parliament,” Tjongarero said.

    Addressing the delegates chosen to represent Namibia at the World Youth Festival, which is to be held in Sochi, Russia, in October, she urged them to return home with useful ideas and implement them.

    “Don't just go and be smart on that side. The same ideas that you speak of there you should bring back home and implement,” she said.

    “Bring those ideas back home and let us see your introduce new things.”

    Tjongarero urged youth groups to get involved at legislative level, saying that they should dictate what bills and laws are passed in parliament.

    The youth festival, arranged by the World Federation of Democratic Youth, is scheduled for 14 to 22 October.

    TUNOHOLE MUNGOBA

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  • 04/26/17--16:00: Okahandja in financial mess
  • Okahandja in financial messOkahandja in financial messPolitical interference the order of the day The town CEO has admitted that there is total chaos at the municipality, where political interference continues unabated. The Okahandja municipality is in a mess and the town's books are in disarray.

    Senior municipal officials were at pains yesterday to explain the council's financial situation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

    The Okahandja officials were grilled on the council's financial woes, which included missing public money, inaccessible bank accounts and other irregularities.

    The committee was stuck on the first question for about the entire hearing. The chairperson, Peter Kazongominja, in frustration finally proposed that it might be better to move the public hearing to Okahandja where a proper public hearing could be held and anybody could be subpoenaed.

    This came after the council's CEO, Martha Mutilifa, was questioned about the municipality's accounts for 2012 to 2014. She said she was not working at the municipality at that time.

    The committee specifically wanted to know about the fact that money from the capital reserve and housing fund had to be used to fund shortfalls in the revenue account. That amounted to N$70.3 million in 2014 and N$46 million in 2013.

    At the 2016 financial year-end the revenue account had a negative balance of N$44.6 million. These funds were for infrastructure development and were instead used for operational issues, the committee found.

    Mutilifa was adamant that a lack of qualified staff was to blame for the council's poor financial management. “There was no financial management in place,” she said.



    Political interference

    She said she had tried to advertise for qualified staff, but political interference hampered the process.

    “I am running a council that has no senior staff in place. The 2015/16 report will be the same as 2013/14 because the same people are doing the same thing.

    “I should just admit that we were not doing things right, we might just implicate things further if I try to explain further.

    “There were funds from Tipeeg and from the Build Together project missing and the senior financial officer just resigned.”

    When Mutilifa was questioned on the municipality's bank accounts and why they did not reflect certain amounts, she said there were 15 bank accounts at one stage, some of which they still could not access.





    “Some people are probably still out there that can open these accounts, I should just admit that we are doing things wrong,” she said.

    She said that at some banks they were being denied signatory rights to the accounts.

    “We are talking of 2012/13 and the same council and management are not there anymore. The board and the CEO were not cooperating and the people were hiding information.”

    Kazongominja, however, made it clear that the issue had to be resolved because it was public money.

    “I communicated my concern to the mayor and I was told to write a letter to the banks with her signature. The problem is that the previous senior financial manager was also acting CEO and could authorise anything. It took me about four months to get access at some accounts, but Standard Bank and FNB are still a no-go,” said Mutilifa.

    According to her she does not even know who has signatory rights to these accounts.

    “I don't know about the Build Together account, the money is gone, but who has signatory rights I also don't know.”

    According to her these accounts were not disclosed in the auditor-general's reports. She said the senior financial manger just disappeared.

    “He resigned from his position because things became too hot.”



    'Officials protected'

    Mutilifa claimed that “certain people are protected” in Okahandja, and said as long as these people knew how to manipulate the system, no financial control was possible.

    She also revealed that the recommendations by the line ministry after a forensic audit had been done were not being fully implemented.

    For example, a recommendation that some staff should be suspended was defied by reinstating them.



    At this point it was suggested that there should be a thorough investigation at the municipality, but auditor-general Junias Kandjeke pointed out that a forensic investigation had been done already.

    “Now we are hearing that the report is not being implemented and staff members are running away when audits are conducted. You have the right to subpoena anybody for information at these hearings,” Kandjeke advised the chairperson.

    Kazongominja wanted to stop the hearing and move it to Okahandja. But it was decided that Mutilifa would be given an opportunity to give feedback on the remaining questions.



    No strategy

    Mutilifa also blamed political interference for the community demonstrations being held regularly at the town.

    “We don't even have a strategic plan in place. The system is in chaos because there is a lot of interference from politicians,” the CEO said.

    She said when she tried to advertise vacancies for senior staff there was interference time and again. The mayor told her this year that the positions would have to be advertised again “because she had touched the applications”.

    “There have even been life-threatening letters that have been sent to me to get rid of me. Yes, it is a risk. And people can hate me, but I am proud of the work that I have done,” she said.

    Asked whether she had raised her concerns with the town council, Mutilifa said she was told that she had been appointed to implement the decisions of the council.

    Kazongominja said the committee would decide on the way forward as soon as possible.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Feldmann takes the helm at TransNamibFeldmann takes the helm at TransNamib The board of directors of TransNamib Holdings Ltd has announced that Michael Feldmann, former executive at operations, will take the lead at the parastatal as acting CEO. He replaces Hippy Tjivikua, who too was acting CEO and who will resume his position as executive for strategy and stakeholder management. The decision was made at a board meeting held on 25 April. According to a statement, "the decision to make a change regarding the position of acting CEO, is in line with the decision of the board's responsibility for succession planning at EXCO level."

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Be responsible, mining industry urgedBe responsible, mining industry urged B2Gold Namibia’s managing director, Mike Dawe, has advised that the government should not become involved in mining.
    He made the comment at the just-concluded mining expo at a Business 7 event organised by Namibia Media Holdings this afternoon.
    “There are instances in which Epangelo mining should be applauded but the government should not become involved in mining activities,” he said.
    According to Dawe, government investment in mining has not always yielded the desired outcomes, making reference to countries like Australia.
    He also said that B2Gold was looking to the future of its mining operation and called on the sector to be more protective of the environment.
    Suggesting that mining companies should be a lot more conscious when it came to the environment, he said: “You cannot take from the earth, we must also give back. If you finish you cannot simply leave.”
    Dawe also suggested that while not yet implemented, the New Equitable Empowerment Framework was near catastrophic. “The first draft was a catastrophe.”
    Drawing attention to export levies, Dawe said: “It is still an issue, with all the royalties the average mining company pays over 50% to government while diamond companies pay over 80% of their revenue over the government in export levies.”
    PwC Africa chief executive officer Hein Boegman expressed concern about the outlook for mining, suggesting that commodity prices would remain flat for the foreseeable future. He warned about mining companies’ liquidity.
    On the social front he called for mining companies to be more responsible. “One of the challenges is the social environment; many people think that big business is bad. The mining industry will have to build up that trust.”
    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Welwitschias out to tackle BullsWelwitschias out to tackle BullsFearless rugby is on Rugby fans can expected an electric match tomorrow as two teams desperate to register points in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge meet at the Hage Geingob Stadium. JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA



    The Windhoek Draught Welwitschias are up against the odds when they face possibly one of the strongest teams in the group, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, tomorrow at 15:00.

    On paper, the Blue Bulls are the hot favourites, given that the Namibians have played second fiddle to the South Africans whenever they have met.

    The last time the two teams clashed, the Bulls humiliated the Welwitschias 95-12 in Pretoria.

    However, the positive news for the Welwitschias is that the Blue Bulls did not start the season well, seeing that they lost 23-31 to Pumas last weekend.

    The Namibian team are still licking their wounds after their 50-33 defeat against Valke.

    The home-ground crowd is also likely to play its part in order to keep the atmosphere as hostile as possible for the visitors.

    Welwitschias coach Lyn Jones has made it clear that his intention is not to win the competition, but he would love to see his players improve as the tournament progresses.

    The pressure is mounting on the Welshman, as many local fans expect him to turn around the team’s fortunes given his coaching experience.

    It will be Jones’s first competitive match in front of the home fans.

    The roaring Namibian crowd is likely to inspire the home team to push harder for tries and conversions.

    The Welwitschias are likely to rely on the presence of right wing Lesley Klim, left winger Gino Wilson, Theuns Kotzé, scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies and eighth man Leneve Damens, who all scored tries last weekend.

    The team will have to improve their conversion kicks, seeing that they missed a few in the last game.

    Missing from last week’s game is lock Maharua Katjiteo, who did not even make it to the bench.

    Assistant coach JP Nell has expressed confidence in the team, stating that the players have shown that they can compete with top teams.

    He feels that going into the match with the right attitude can earn them a famous victory against the South African side.

    Teams

    Starting line-up: David Philander, Lesley Klim, JC Greyling, Darryl de la Harpe, Gino Wilson, Theuns Kotzé, Eugene Jantjies (c),Leneve Damens ,Thomasau Forbes, Rohan Kitshoff, Ruan Ludick, Muniovita Kasiringua, AJ de Klerk, Shaun du Preez, Christo McNish.

    Subs: Gerhard Lotter, Collen Smit, Andries Rousseau, Mahepisa Tjeriko, Thomas Kali, Cameron Klassen, Heinrich Smit.

    Vodacom Blue Bulls: Divan Rossouw, Jade Stighling, Ulrich Beyers, Franco Naude, Rabs Maxwane, Tony Jantjies, Ivan van Zyl, Clyde Davids, Abongile Nonkontwana (capt), Marco van Staden, Aston Fortuin, Freddy Ngoza, Andrew Beerwinkel, Corniel Els, Njabulo Gumede.

    Reserves: Alandre van Rooyen, Matthys Basson, Brian Leitch, Chris Massyn, André Warner, Joshua Stander, Duncan Matthews.

    What the coach said (Lyn Jones): “Success is the plan and we are working together as a young team of coaches and players to achieve more. The only thing which will stop us is our fitness, but there is no doubt that we will win the match.”

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