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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Miss H headlines the coast's first Song NightMiss H headlines the coast's first Song Night Well-known vocalist from Swakopmund, Heather Dennis, better known as Miss H, will be the headlining act as Song Night debuts at the coast.

    The energetic musician who also plays the acoustic guitar, drums, violin and piano, will feature at the showpiece which will take place in Walvis Bay as well as in Swakopmund at the end of the month. Song Night's founder and director, Lize Ehlers confirmed that Miss H will also give pep talks and advice to the upcoming musicians who will take part perform at Song Night. Since April 2011, Song Night has moulded the careers of several award winning Namibian musicians like Sean K, Bradley Anthony and Priscilla. The 31-year-old Heal songstress explained to tjil why it was necessary for Song Night to branch out to Namibia's coast. “The aim of having Song Night at the coast is to get the performing artists paying gigs there. It is not easy in Namibia to be a performing artist, but it is worth it,” Ehlers said. After auditions to the showpiece were concluded on 23 January, Ehlers has vowed to offer the performers with voice training during rehearsals. Song Night will take place at Walvis Bay's Steakhouse and at the COSDEF Arts and Crafts Centre in Swakopmund on 30 and 31 January respectively. Both shows will start at 18:00 and tickets will be sold at the door for N$ 80 each.

    Adolf Kaure

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: 70% airplay not doable
  • 70% airplay not doable70% airplay not doableArtists need to produce more music The demand for 70% airplay of local artists on local radio stations is not possible, says Radio Energy. Local artists have banded together demanding 70% airplay on radio stations across Namibia. This week tjil contacted several radio stations to get their view on the issue.

    Radio Energy's station manager Joseph Ailonga said his station plays 45% local music as they do not have enough music within all the genres to play a full 100%. When it comes to choosing playlists, some of the factors Energy considers include quality and commercial viability, as the songs need to be in line with their target market.

    “The music being released today… its quality is good and its commercially viable enough but it lacks depth and doesn't last long, thus there is always a new guy/girl with a new hot record to be played,” said Ailonga.

    Asked if advertisers play a role in which music Radio Energy plays, Ailonga says they have no bearing on their playlist unless it has to do with their campaigns.

    “At the end of the day they want a station that stands for its principles and has the numbers within the target market they play in. It's a numbers game and it's the listener that dictates where to go and what to play. Understanding them gives you an opportunity to tap into their domain and advertisers want that,” he said.

    In conclusion, Ailonga says the 70% airplay request is a good idea but artists must learn to be practical and realistic about what they want. He pointed out things that need to be considered including listenership, the availability of music to be played, and radio station target markets.

    “We don't have the music to fulfil the 45% quota on Energy 100fm, how do we satisfy a 70% quota? We have established radio stations with a diverse listenership from different backgrounds, needing a specific type of playlist. Do we have the capacity to fill that gap? Where are the artists within the target market of Radio Wave, Hit Radio, Kosmos and many others? Or do we simply want to force those radio stations to change their formats to suit the Namibian music sector for purely royalties,” he questioned.

    He added that radio stations are businesses that need to survive in order for an artist to survive and thus pressuring radio stations into playing what is not of their target market will eventually eliminate them. He urges local artists to make music of all genres to satisfy the quotas then the argument about the 70% can be realistic.

    “For now artists have no leg to stand on because if any of those radios asked for their music and it must meet their standards then they will not be able to provide it. Let's make good music and it will all come together, besides the percentage of local versus international wasn't so bad at all based on the figures I read,” he said.

    There was no response from radio stations Mixed FM, Shipi FM, Channel 7, Hit Radio and Plant Radio stations at the time of going to print.

    JUNE SHIMUOSHILI

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: Entitled much?
  • Entitled much?Entitled much? Entitled much?
    I know I will be stepping on a few toes with this but it’s something that has been on my mind for the longest of times. I have been in the industry for three years now and I have concluded that Namibian artists are selfish… and I will explain as to why I believe so.
    Namibian artists have a certain pattern of behaviour as if journalists and the world owe them so much more than life itself, and I think this contributes to why the industry is in such a state. I have come to know that Namibian artists want everything to be done for them and it is simply ridiculous. By this I mean you get those that come from studio and want the media to push their music from the get-go. It shouldn’t be like this in this era of social media… one doesn’t even need the media much as everything is right there at your fingertips. They complain about everything and the moment one speaks against it, they feel they are being hated. Give simple advice on how something could have gone and they feel like you don’t want them to succeed, especially newcomers. And the one that makes me feel like scratching my eyes out is how much they are not ‘appreciated’ which I have come to learn means their music is not being written about or being played as they want it to be. They complain about the silliest of things, when the public is enjoying international music, it’s a problem, when the public is enjoying a certain local song it’s a problem because other local songs don’t get the same attention. Mara how?
    Now, don’t get me wrong, I am pro-Namibian 100%. I just don’t believe in forcing situations. Forcing us to support local when local is redundant within the industry or copied straight from outside our borders is absurd. So why must I support local if it’s a little less good than the original from South Africa? Maybe if we start appreciating what we have, just maybe then we will freely support local without artists threatening us. Yes, I know for many, music is the only thing that puts bread on the table but it doesn’t mean that you must make music without the passion anymore to put bread on the table. A good singer is one that can sing well. A great singer is one that not only sings well, but also cares about taking criticism to help improve their singing.
    June Shimuoshili
    june@namibiansun.com



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  • 01/25/18--14:00: Fighting crime with art
  • Fighting crime with artFighting crime with artMusic is the antidote for social inequity Gospel music duo Franklin and Dee A believe that music is a tool that can be used to fight the evils of society. The local gospel duo, comprising of Franklin Shitaleni and Leopold Vatilifa, spoke to tjil recently on the power music carries as a platform. “We cannot fight against gender-based violence, if we encourage people to drink and club until the early morning hours. We don't sing against people, we sing against evil agendas. We bring about social justice by standing against factors that bring hurt to our society. We want to take gospel music to a level it has never been in Namibia. We are not here to win awards and sit. We are on a Kingdom job,” said Shitaleni.

    The duo recently released their first album titled Victory. They collaborated with multiple NAMA-winning gospel musician D-Naff on his track Ino Shuna Monima. Vatilifa explained the concept behind the song.

    “Ino Shuna Monima is in Oshiwambo, meaning “don't turn back or don't backslide. This is a song to encourage believers to watch what we feed on which can cause us to turn away from the faith. It's been great working with D-Naff and Brown Klaxic (producer) on the song. The video is available on YouTube,” said Shitaleni.

    The duo have also collaborated with renowned American gospel rapper, Da T.R.U.T.H on a song titled, Hit me with the Word.

    “The song simply says that we hit you with the word of God, because faith comes by hearing. Lost Christian rappers want to minimise the name Jesus Christ and the raw truth about the word of God, because it would apparently limit them from entering certain places or movements. What we say is that, we are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is the power of God at work,” said the other half of the duo, Leopold Vatilfa.

    He told his fans to look out for their follow-up album with recording time almost done. “We will announce the title of our next project soon and on 3 February we are booked for SA, and next year in June, we'll be in the USA for a two-week tour. We entered the NAMAs, and we are hoping to be victorious with the Victory project,” he said.

    Apart from being hosted by preachers like Apostle N.E Ngoveni, Franklin and Dee A have worked alongside great artists like Khaya Mtetwa, Neyi Zimu, Benjamin Dube and Denzil Erasmus. They also toured five cities in the United States in April 2017, hosted by Brian Robinson.

    Adolf Kaure

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: Eyes on the camera
  • Eyes on the cameraEyes on the cameraSwopping the catwalk for showbiz Maria Nepembe has hopes of developing her acting career and securig more international acting gigs after she was recently involved in a movie that was shot in London. She chats to tjil about her acting plans and being behind the scenes as a director. Renowned model and Big Brother Africa 2013 housemate Maria Nepembe is no stranger to the small screen and says it is something she was doing for a long time - since high school.

    “When I was a student at the University of Namibia I had training in theatre and when I moved to Ghana I also acted in a local series there,” she shared. The model turned actress says she's acted alongside Ghanaian acting heavyweights such Jacky Apia and Yvonne Nelson in a recent movie production.

    “What I love about acting is that you get to step into a character's shoes and portray that character according to the script. I recently shot a movie in Nigeria where I had to play as a blind girl and I had to do research on the behaviour of blind people, their facial expressions and how they react to many other things. Acting is very complex,” she shared.

    She said locally she's acted in three film productions, one her highlights being the movie Fish out of Water. Nepembe says local film producers, scriptwriters and actors have a lot of potential and are growing the film and theatre industry in Namibia.

    “When it comes to the quality of our films and the talent of our performers, Namibia is unmatched.

    Our actors are professional and everything is so organised compared to when I was in Western Africa,” she expressed.

    She was recently involved in the production of a movie shot in London titled Coming to London. The script revolves around a Ghanaian man who goes to London and falls in love with a girl (played by Nepembe) in London.

    “I got to work with really huge stars such Ik Ogbonna and I was really happy that I was allowed an opportunity to be myself and express my acting abilities while I was shooting in London,” she told tjil.





    The actress mentioned that the gigs abroad have opened her up to the film industry and says she is going to take every opportunity to become a well-known actress. “I got to meet incredible actors from around the world and so far my acting experience has opened a lot of doors for me to connect and work with many other people.”

    Without revealing too much see says that she's already bagged another film production for 2018 and says she will be shooting for the film very soon.

    “I am going to shoot a film in March in Cape Town and that is one of the things I am most excited about this year,” she said.

    Her main focus right now is growing her business and working in other fields because she is getting too “old” for modelling.

    “I think I am old for modelling now. I will focus mainly on print-photography when it comes to modelling because I love it. I am a businesswoman and I want to grow in those areas, she said.

    Besides acting Nepembe has hopes of developing the local film industry by stepping into a more production-based role. “I want to have my own production company and employ photographers, videographers, actors and many others. The plan is to get proper equipment and a crew that can work on local productions and I hope to work on three productions by the end of the year,” she shared.

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    The battle for electric car supremacyThe battle for electric car supremacyPlug wars Carmakers behind the winning technology will benefit from having an established supply chain and an extensive network. If you drive a petrol car you can fuel it any place in the world. You will not get that for electric vehicles. - Nicolas Meilhan, Principal analyst: Frost & Sullivan Christoph Steitz - German carmakers hope a network of high-power charging stations they are rolling out with Ford will set an industry standard for plugs and protocols that will give them an edge over electric car rivals.

    At the moment, Tesla and carmakers in Japan and Germany use different plugs and communication protocols to link batteries to chargers, but firms building the charging networks needed for electric vehicles to become mainstream say the number of plug formats will need to be limited to keep costs down.

    Carmakers behind the winning technology will benefit from having an established supply chain and an extensive network, making their vehicles potentially more attractive to customers worried about embarking upon longer journeys, analysts say.

    Manufacturers that back losing plugs, however, could end up with redundant research and development and may have to invest to adapt assembly lines and vehicle designs so their customers can use the most widespread fast-charging networks.

    Swiss bank UBS has estimated that US$360 billion will need to be spent over the next eight years to build global charging infrastructure to keep pace with electric car sales, and it will be key to limit the numerous technologies now in use.

    "The quick-charging marketplace might be growing fast but the issue of different types of connectivity and communication will need to be resolved going forward," UBS said in a study published this month.

    To try to build critical mass for the Combined Charging System (CCS) favoured by Europe, BMW, Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, Ford and the Volkswagen group, which includes Audi and Porsche, said in November they would develop 400 high-power charging stations on main roads in 18 European countries by 2020.

    "In the end, it is about safe-guarding investments for those that are investing in electric mobility," said Claas Bracklo, head of electromobility at BMW and the chairman of the Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN), which is backing CCS.

    "We have founded CharIN to build a position of power."

    It is still early days for electric cars and difficult to predict which plug technology will prevail or even whether there will always be different ways to charge vehicles, unlike the one-size-fits-all nozzle that can refill all petrol cars.

    But there is a lot at stake for the carmakers ploughing billions of dollars into the development of batteries and electric cars.

    FORMAT WARS

    Besides CCS, there are three other standards that will charge batteries fast: Tesla's Supercharger system, CHAdeMO, or Charge de Move, developed by Japanese firms including carmakers Nissan and Mitsubishi, and GB/T in China, the world's biggest electric car market.

    "I think over time CHAdeMO and CCS converge, likely into the current CCS standard, and the jury is out as to what will happen to Tesla," said Pasquale Romano, chief executive officer of Silicon Valley-based ChargePoint, which runs one of the world's largest charging station networks.

    So far, there are about 7 000 CCS charging points worldwide, according to CharIN, with more than half in Europe. The European Union backs CCS as the standard for fast-charging but does not prohibit other plugs being installed.

    That compares with 16 639 charge points compatible with CHAdeMO - most in Japan and Europe - and 8 496 Tesla Superchargers, with the majority in the United States. In China, there are 127 434 GB/T charging stations, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance.

    Just as in previous format wars such as the battle for videotape dominance between VHS and Betamax, each charging standard has its pros and cons.

    Tesla's system is exclusive to its clients, for example, while CCS features a double-plug that can charge DC and AC, increasing the number of spots where drivers can recharge.

    CHAdeMO, meanwhile, allows cars to sell power from their batteries back to the grid, a process known as bi-directional charging that can help stabilise energy networks in times of demand swings and earn car owners some extra cash.

    "If I were Nissan, I'd be wanting to take that standard and make it the dominant one," said Gerard Reid, founder of Alexa Capital that advises companies in the energy, technology and power infrastructure sectors.

    "It creates a competitive advantage for them," he said.

    TIME IS TIME

    Most plugs used to charge cars at home use alternate current (AC) and are slow, so building networks that can power vehicles fast when on the road is seen as key by the industry, given many potential consumers still worry about battery range.

    Able to deliver more powerful direct current (DC), fast-chargers can load electric cars up to seven times faster.

    The fastest DC stations, capable of delivering up to 400 kilowatts, can recharge cars within 10 minutes, a vast improvement on the 10-12 hours it can take to reload at some AC charging points today.

    Developers hope drivers will feel more confident about undertaking longer journeys if they know they can reboot with a quick pit stop similar to stopping at a petrol station.

    With that in mind, the joint venture set up by the German carmakers and Ford to install CCS fast-chargers has teamed up with companies that have service station networks in Europe: Shell, OMV, Germany's Tank & Rast and retailer Circle K.

    For traditional carmakers, getting ahead in the electric car race is also about staying relevant in an industry that has been shaken up by Tesla.

    Elon Musk's company is now worth US$11 billion more than Ford, even though Tesla delivered just 76 230 cars in 2016 while the US car industry pioneer sold 6.65 million vehicles.

    The German carmakers teaming up with Ford, however, believe their deeper pockets should give them the upper hand in the long run and they see charging technology as an important factor in the fight.

    TIPPING POINT

    For now, CCS, Supercharger and CHAdeMO plugs continue to be installed in Europe as well as the United States, while China is pressing ahead with GB/T, suggesting it is too early to call a winner in the plug wars - especially as no carmaker will want to lose out on the Chinese market.

    Tesla, for example, said in October it was modifying its Model S and Model X cars for China to add a second charge port compatible with the country's GB/T fast-charging standard.

    Most other rivals are also incorporating the GB/T standard into their vehicles for China, which has ambitious quotas for electric car sales, although some industry officials still hope the country will adopt one of the other standards at some point.

    While sticking with developing its proprietary network for now, Tesla is a member of the CHAdeMO and CharIN initiatives. It is also selling adapters so owners of its cars in North America and Japan can use CHAdeMO charging stations.

    Tesla declined to comment on whether it would consider joining a rival charging standard at some point, a move analysts say could be a tipping point in the race for plug dominance.

    "For Tesla it was always very important to have a charging infrastructure for our clients from the get-go," a spokeswoman said, adding that it welcomed all investment in car charging.

    Tomoko Blech, who represents CHAdeMO in Europe, said fussing over which standard would prevail was not helpful given that the electric car industry was still in its early days and carmakers should fight it out with their models.

    Some also argue there will always be several ways to charge battery-powered cars.

    "If you drive a petrol car you can fuel it any place in the world. This is the best you can get," said Nicolas Meilhan, principal analyst at consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

    "You will not get that for electric vehicles."– Nampa/Reuters

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    The art of writing is becoming extinct The art of writing is becoming extinct Oh, how the art of writing has changed. Gone are the days when people used to write love letters to each other to express their emotions for each other. Ja, a man would pen the most amazing words to declare his true feelings to his significant other.

    This true act of chivalry has since died and has been replaced with a lame method referred to as texting. The problem with texting does not lie in the method itself, but rather in what has now become a new version of English.

    I mean, how on earth does someone write “I 1 2 C U B4 8 2nite…”. Apparently, the common English, this would translate to “I want to see you before eight (o'clock) tonight…”. Seriously?

    Every time I receive one of these messages, I always nod my head in agreement with those that reason that the art of writing – a craft that is meant to not only transport ideas but also leave lasting emotions – has surely gone to the dogs.

    Ask any man who was raised in the 80s, and he will confide in you that he had at least once written a long and 'exciting' love letter to the love of his life (at the time), in which he declared his love and promised heaven and earth. Oh yes, we could pen unimaginable phrases that relegated Shakespeare to levels ordinary!

    The trick in writing such letters was in the way you start. I mean, the lady you are after might have probably heard your name in passing and therefore have no idea in hell who you are!

    Therein lies your first major obstacle: you ought to first let her know who you are, why should she read a letter from you, and mostly importantly - what would a loser like you want with her.

    And a loser I was. I never played soccer, sucked at Mathematics and wore school pants that belonged to my brother the previous year. Eish, it didn't matter how much you clean and ironed those pants, they will still look the same way they did Friday afternoon.

    But I loved them - they were my own version of the coat of many colours that the biblical Joseph wore. My brother was also proud of me for having made my dream of wearing black school pants come true, and I just couldn't get myself to burst his bubble.

    So, a typical love letter would start off with “Post of love…Violets are blue, roses are red… my love for you is everlasting”. Neither the writer, nor the recipient of the letter could clearly define what loves was back then, but it didn't really matter.







    The 80s-produced television commercials that were just out of this world; they had the most amazing taglines that left you wondering just how they do it. We used them in our letters too!

    If she appreciates your advances, she would immediately swop places in class with another classmate to sit closer to you. She would be eyeing you throughout the lessons, and even give you a perky kiss on the cheek on the day just before the summer holidays. Forget about Duracell batteries lasting longer - I still remember and feel those kisses on my left cheek like it were yesterday.

    The price to pay for such affection was high though: you have to carry her school bag for her in between lessons, buy her vetkoek (fatcake) during breaks, and walk her home even though you live kilometers apart from each other.

    Trust me, those bags were heavy! You see, unlike guys who would carry a few books and leave the heavy Mathematics textbook at home to share with a friend in class; girls carried all their prescribed books to school!

    The downside of it all is unimaginably cruel; your letter will be read out loud just before the History class, and for weeks after that you will become the talk of the class - for all the wrong reasons. The names that you earn for pulling off stunts like that will not simply wash away overnight - they get stuck to you!

    Now you know why I am called “Mr My heart is on fire and you are the ice”!



    Until then…



    tjatindi@gmail.com

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    High levels of poverty repulsiveHigh levels of poverty repulsive Oxfam International this week affirmed the huge wealth gap still prevailing in the world with the latest report serving as a stern reminder that the global economy continues to be skewed in favour of the rich. Some of the key findings from the report indicated that the richest 1% took almost 82% of the wealth made last year.

    This essentially means that out of every five dollars of wealth generated in 2017 ended up in the pockets of the richest 1%. This is absurd to say the least, but it is unfortunately the reality on the ground. The report also highlighted that amid the widening wealth gap, there was an unprecedented growth in dollar billionaires, with at least one billionaire produced every second day. Themed 'Reward Work, Not Wealth', the report also revealed that 42 people own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.7 billion people.

    These obscene disparities are a slap in the face of equitable distribution of wealth around the world and call for serious retrospection.

    We cannot be happy with the fact that it takes a South African executive, of a franchise retailer also operating in Namibia, four and a half days to earn what an average worker would earn at the same company in their life. We are far off the mark when it comes to lifting millions of our people out of extreme poverty despite the rich mineral resources at our doorstep.

    How do politicians and the stinking rich actually sleep knowing that there are millions of people who on a daily basis experience a shortage of common necessities such as clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, among others? The sad reality is more and more people are wallowing in need and this backlash has the potential to threaten our collective sense of humanity from an African point of view.

    There is surely a need for a paradigm shift to help significantly reduce poverty. African governments for that matter must come up with pro-poor policies coupled by a commitment to help create employment and more sustainable human development path.

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: Govt is not broke - Nghaamwa
  • Govt is not broke - NghaamwaGovt is not broke - NghaamwaUninformed people should not make comments The governor for the Ohangwena Region, Usko Nghaamwa says the Namibian government is not bankrupt and people should desist from making such uninformed statements. Ohangwena regional governor Usko Nghaamwa has reassured Namibians that government is not bankrupt.

    The governor was speaking at a Nored electrification event at Onhuno where he called on Namibians to rather use their time to find ways of helping to grow the country’s economy instead of making “destructive” statements.

    Public reaction has condemned government following statements by several key ministries, including health and education, on the impact of budget cuts.

    Currently there are a significant number of government projects which are on hold or have been stalled due to the unavailability of funds.

    Nghaamwa, however, is of the view that only those with real knowledge about the state of the country’s coffers, and those with authority, can make such statements to the public.

    He pointed out the people who are referring to government as being broke are generally those who expect government to address their every need, as well as the businesspeople who survived on government tenders, a mind-set he said should change.

    “I hear a lot of people saying government is broke but the question I have is: ‘Who are you to say the government is broke?’ You are not the minister of finance nor did he delegate you to inform the nation about that,” Nghaamwa stated

    “The people who are saying government is broke are those that want government to do everything while they are doing nothing to help the government. You will also hear businesspeople saying government is broke because they are not getting tenders from government anymore. I am also a businessperson and I am not one of those that depend on government tenders.”

    Nghaamwa called on his fellow citizens to bear with government during the difficult global economic crisis and to ease the pressure of government by showing support.

    “This is our country and only we can make it a great country. Businesspeople come on board and support the government. Parents, if your child needs a certain book and the school does not have enough of them, just buy the book because it’s for your child’s future,” Nghaamwa said.

    The governor also raised concern about the high levels of crime, particularly the killing of women at the hands of their partners.

    He called these killing “unnecessary” and said they are taking “the country backwards as they divert government from focusing on addressing issues that will grow the economy”.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: Geingob leaves for Ethiopia
  • Geingob leaves for EthiopiaGeingob leaves for Ethiopia President Hage Geingob is expected to depart for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, today to attend the 30th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

    The summit will be held under the theme: 'Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation'.

    The summit will consider the report of the Peace and Security Council on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa, covering conflict situations in Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan (Darfur) Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic.

    It will also consider the assumption of the chairmanship of the summit by Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who is taking over from the president of Guinea, Alpha Conde.

    This is according to a statement issued by the office of the president this week. Other important meetings scheduled on the margins of the leaders' summit include the summit of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) which is taking place tomorrow.

    On the same day the committee of ten heads of state and government for education, science, and technology in Africa, of which Namibia is a co-champion, is taking place.

    The 36th session of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee also takes place tomorrow.

    The president will be accompanied by minister of works Alpheus !Naruseb, minister of economic planning Tom Alweendo, deputy minister of international relations and cooperation Peya Mushelenga and support staff.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Nigerian political standoff threatens central bank independenceNigerian political standoff threatens central bank independenceBlow to confidence The presidency and senate disagree over the latter's powers to confirm or deny executive nominees to government posts. If there's an emergency, what policy adjustments will the central bank make and how quickly? - Bismark Rewane, MD: Financial Derivatives. Chijioke Ohuocha - A standoff between Nigeria's presidency and parliament over confirmation of new members of the central bank's interest rate committee is threatening the bank's independence and damaging fragile investor confidence in Africa's biggest economy.

    The central bank had been due to announce its interest rate decision on Tuesday, a day after a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting. But the meeting was not held due to a lack of new members whose confirmation is pending before lawmakers.

    The bank said on Monday it had been unable to form a quorum and would maintain its benchmark rate at 14%.

    On Tuesday, the stock market fell to a one-week low, amid fears that monetary policy was being held hostage by the spat between President Muhammadu Buhari's office and the senate over government appointments.

    "The development is a blow to the idea of central bank independence in the country and could erode confidence," said Michael Famoroti, chief economist at Vetiva Capital.

    At least six members of the MPC are needed to approve an interest rate decision, but at the moment there are only four.

    Stalemate

    At the heart of the matter is a stalemate between the presidency and senate over the latter's powers to confirm or deny executive nominees to government posts.

    The senate is refusing to approve presidential nominees, including those for the MPC, because it believes Buhari has sidestepped their authority in appointing his choice of head of the financial crimes watchdog in an "acting" capacity, after he was twice blocked by the senate.

    "Once investors believe that governance has broken down in the country it could lead to an erosion of confidence. If there's an emergency, what policy adjustments will the central bank make and how quickly?" said Bismark Rewane, managing director at Lagos-based Financial Derivatives.

    Dire situation

    The central bank and the presidency both declined to comment.

    Nigeria emerged from recession last year but growth is still fragile and inflation - which has been slowing - needs to fall faster for the central bank to be able to alter its hawkish stance on interest rates, analysts say.

    Investors shunned Nigerian assets over the past three years and have only started to return after the naira was floated for them last year. Some are still on the sidelines waiting for stability.

    The bank has kept rates at 14% for over a year to attract foreign investors into bonds to support the naira. But Abuja wants to see rates come down to lower government costs at a time when inflation is in double digits and the 2019 presidential election looms.

    "The key thing to watch for is how long the impasse continues," Vetiva's Famoroti said.

    "It would signify a severe political disruption in monetary policy – an unwelcome one in a pre-election year - and could cause investor jitters that put pressure on the currency and the economy."

    In October, Central Bank governor Godwin Emefiele said he expected inflation to fall at a faster pace and reach the high single-digits by the middle of 2018. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Reho councillor, manager in crashReho councillor, manager in crashCouncillors allegedly ignore minister's directive Claims are made that the car in which a councillor and acting CEO were travelling was not properly issued. Rehoboth residents are again up in arms after controversially appointed acting CEO of the town council, Willie Swartz, and chairperson of the management committee, Winston /Uirab, were in a car accident outside Mariental on Monday.

    The outraged residents called to say that Swartz is not supposed to use a council vehicle because he gets a car allowance.

    A source preferring anonymity also alleged that the car used on the trip was not signed out.

    “The car was simply taken. It was not signed out. It is complete chaos, recklessness and indiscipline,” the source said.

    /Uirab this week said he was driving the car and not Swartz. He added that the car was allotted to him by the municipality's fleet officer.

    “I did not steal the car; I drove the car out of the council premises after a short meeting in the morning. The car was provided to me. I can give 100% assurance that council vehicles or properties are not used and abused by councillors or managers,” /Uirab said.

    According to /Uirab they were on their way to an official engagement with the Keetmanshoop municipality to find out more about that council's short-term arrangement with Erongo Red and how it managed to minimise its debt with NamPower.

    Rehoboth mayor Christine Blaauw-Petrus and deputy mayor Eva Maasdorp were also travelling to Keetmanshoop for the same purpose in a separate vehicle.

    Residents also claim that the council is simply ignoring a directive by Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, that Swartz should not represent the council at any platform.

    /Uirab also said he has heard of Shangingwa's directive pertaining to Swartz, but said that it states that the council should meet and “peruse” the directive and then only take a resolution on the matter.

    Blaauw-Petrus was not available for comment.

    Maasdorp said she is not the designated person to comment on “this sensitive issue” and referred all queries to Blaauw-Petrus.

    Spokesperson of the town council, Jeffrey Kasupi, claimed that he did not know anything about the accident and later also said that he was not able to find out any information regarding the incident and the circumstances surrounding it.

    Swartz did not answer his phone and later switched it off.

    Swartz's appointment to the acting CEO position is regarded as controversial because he has – in mid-2015 – tendered his resignation at the council and for all intents and purposes reappointed himself in his former position as manager of human resources and corporate affairs five months later, with the Swapo councillors' approval. The council then also paid Swartz N$150 000 for the five months he has not been employed at the council.

    After his return to the office Swartz was suspended by suspended council CEO Chris /Uirab for allegedly having deposited N$13 million of the municipality's money into his personal bank account.

    The following day after his suspension, the council reinstated Swartz.

    Catherine Sasman

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    NHE to construct 200 houses at OshakatiNHE to construct 200 houses at Oshakati The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) announced they will construct 200 low-income houses at Oshakati in order to address the country's housing backlog.

    The houses will be constructed at Ekuku Extension 6 through the NHE's public-private partnership (PPP) agreements with two companies. At yesterday's ground-breaking ceremony, urban and rural development minister, Sophia Shaningwa commended NHE's efforts in addressing the housing backlog, however, she stressed that contractors should ensure that the houses are of good quality and be affordable for those in need. Shaningwa shed light on the issue of Mass Housing homes still not occupied in certain towns saying market research was not done properly and as a result there are no clients for the houses.

    She therefore warned the contractors not to set high prices for the homes saying they will end up having houses which are unoccupied and stand as 'white elephants'.

    “Let me point out that affordable housing has become a daunting challenge in developing countries and Namibia is no exemption, especially taking into consideration that the majority of the population are not able to buy houses at the current market prices,” Shaningwa said.

    “It is therefore important that when government creates an enabling environment such as we have in our country, the private sector should join the quest to house all the Namibians by constructing quality, but affordable, houses,” Shaningwa further said. She said she was informed that the houses to be constructed will not cost more than N$500 000, a good price in her view.

    Shaningwa also used the opportunity to call upon the financial institutions to be more lenient in providing loans saying that the banks also have a role to play in ensuring Namibians are housed. Oshana governor Clemens Kashuupulwa called upon local authorities to avail serviced land to NHE in order for the housing challenge to be addressed.

    “I wish to urge all local authorities who are the custodians of the land upon which houses are constructed, to avail land to NHE at affordable rates so as to allow the housing institution to roll-out as many housing units as possible,” Kashuupulwa said.

    According to NHE's chairperson, Sam Shivute, NHE will live up to its mandate which is to provide affordable houses for the people of the country.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Corruption - A social disease (Part 130): History and context in creating a more informed perspective in a corrupt worldCorruption - A social disease (Part 130): History and context in creating a more informed perspective in a corrupt world Johan Coetzee - "Justice for all", is mentioned in the Namibian Constitution, Chapter 1, Article 1 (1).

    Is justice for all people possible in the global context?

    History and context can play a critical role in creating a more informed perspective about those that have suffered from all kinds of human injustices such as starvation, genocide and misrepresentation, to mention a few. Over thousands of years the conquerors of empires have written history, e.g. the genocide of the Incas in South America by the Spaniards and the slaughtering of the Indians by the Americans.

    The "winners" tend to portray mainly their perceptions about events in an effort to canvass a way of thinking and creating systems and propaganda that suits the government of the day for financial support and political power. “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history” (Orwell).

    Let us focus on one of the most devastating human and misrepresentations in recent history.

    EISENHOWER'S CAMPS

    At the end of World War II between 750 000 and 1.7 million German citizens died in concentration camps (Menuhin). Eisenhower, an American, who was in charge of the Allied Forces declared that if he found any of his men supplying Germans in concentration camps with food, they would receive the death penalty. Eisenhower declared that Germans in concentration camps are not Prisoners of War (POW) as defined in terms of the Geneva Convention of 1929, but Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEF), (Menuhin).

    The Red Cross could therefore not enter these camps in providing food and medical supplies. In comparison, Hitler allowed the Red Cross entrance to concentrations where captured Allied Forces were kept.

    One man has played a very critical role in creating a tremendous injustice to millions. “Eisenhower’s camps were yet another breach of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who or no longer participating in hostilities” (Menuhin). The camps were also a crime against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, in that they qualified as acts which were a “particularly odious offense in that it constitutes a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of human beings” (Bacque).

    “I have been at Frankfurt for a civil government conference. If what we are doing is liberty, then give me death. I can’t see how Americans can sink so low. It is Semitic, and I am sure of it.” (Patton, 1945, as cited in Menuhin).

    Eisenhower could have halted the rape, murder and torture of hundreds of thousands of German citizens by the Russians at the end of WWII if he had not given orders to halt the Allied Forces’ invasion of Berlin and also halted the invasion of eastern parts of Germany. He deliberately waited for the Russians to invade Berlin (Menuhin).

    After WWII, one quarter of Germany was annexed by the Allied Forces, and about fifteen million Germans “expelled in the largest act of ethnic cleansing the world has ever known”. Over two million of these people died either on the road or in concentration camps in Poland and elsewhere. Children were enslaved for years in these camps and the majority of them also died. (Bacque)

    From the discussion, it is possible to say that a gross injustice has been committed by the Allied Forces and the United States of America. It is also possible to pose a number of questions: Why has the death of tens of millions of German citizens not been declared as a contravention of the Geneva Convention of 1929? Declared a breach of IHL? Declared as Crimes Against Humanity?

    What about recognition of the genocide, apology and reparations such as compensation? Is the United States of America (USA) accountable? Will a USA District Court be willing to accept a case against genocide, as is theoretically possible? (Kössler and Melber)

    References

    Bacque, J. 1997. Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians under Allied Occupation 1944-1950, Little Brown.

    Bacque, J. 1989. Other Losses, Stoddart.

    Faurisson, R. 1998. The Journal of Historical Review, March-April (Vol. 17, No. 2), pages 19-20.

    Kössler, R. & Melber, H. 2018. Article in The Namibian titled "Genocide as a Subject to Negotiation?"

    Menuhin, G. 2015. Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil. The Barnes Review.

    Orwell, G. 1984. Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    Patton, G. 1945. General of the USA Armed Forces. Letter to his wife, August 27.

    Republic of Namibia. 1990. The Namibian Constitution. Government Gazette, Windhoek.

    jcoetzee@nust.na

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    Mutorwa denies water conflictMutorwa denies water conflict Agriculture, water and forestry minister John Mutorwa says Namibia is not embroiled in any battle with the Angolan authorities as far as water use is concerned.

    Mutorwa this week refuted reports suggesting the Angolan authorities want Namibia to start paying for the water supplied from the Calueque Dam in southern Angola.

    Responding to a Namibian Sun article, Mutorwa said it was in fact Angola that had changed the scope of the Kunene Transboundary Water Supply Project (KTWSP) agreement which was established as a conveyance system that would supply sufficient potable water from the Oshakati purification plant to the Cunene Province in Angola.

    The minister, however, confirmed that Namibia's part of the agreement, which was supposed to be implemented between May 2010 and June 2012, would only be completed by December this year. Namibian Sun this week reported that the Namibian authorities were seemingly reneging on a deal with Angola under which the northern regions are receiving free water from Angola's Calueque Dam. Mutorwa said that was not the case. He said the 1926 water agreement between the two countries never made provision for Namibia to receive water from the Calueque scheme at a cost.

    “The two countries adopted the principle of 'best joint utilisation' in the planning and development of water resources of common rivers. This cooperation has led to Angola conceding rights to Namibia to construct the Calueque Dam and related works in Angolan territory, to be able to draw and convey water from the Kunene River free of charge. Therefore, the historical water use agreements make provisions for sharing of the waters of the Kunene River,” said Mutorwa. It was reported that under the KTWSP agreement that was supposed to be implemented between May 2010 and June 2012, Namibia was supposed to supply purified water to Angola's Cunene Province from Oshakati, where water from Calueque is treated. Experts claimed that delays on the Namibian side had forced the Angolan government to establish the Xangongo Water Supply Scheme to provide sufficient water to its people. Mutorwa said while the two countries were busy implementing the KTWSP, the Angolan authorities opted to develop a new scheme to secure its own water supply.

    “This resulted in the Southern Angolan Water Supply Scheme starting with the purification plant at Xangongo and pipelines from Xangongo to Ondjiva and eventually to Santa Clara, at the border with Namibia. These developments resulted in changes to the scope of the KTWSP,” he said. According to the Namibian Sun report, Namibia was expected to upgrade its purification plant at Oshakati and expand the existing bulk supply system at Omakango, Omafo and Oshikango. The expectation was that the country would then supply southern towns in Angola such as Ondjiva, Namacunde, Chiede and Santa Clara. Mutorwa said that was a SADC pilot project under its Regional Strategic Water Development Programme and would be financed by the German development cooperation agencies KfW and GIZ.

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: Farm invasions decline
  • Farm invasions declineFarm invasions decline Statistics show that there has been a steady decline in farm attacks since 2016 after an alarming increase in 2015. Following the grisly killing of the Riedel couple on a farm outside Gobabis at the beginning of this week, fears again emerged that the violence in neighbouring South Africa has spilled over to Namibia.
    This does not appear to be the case though, as farm attack statistics indicate a decline in this type of crime.
    Since the beginning of January 2016 the Riedel killing has been the second farm murder.
    During the past 18 years statistics compiled by the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) indicate that there have been 83 farm attacks and murders reported on commercial farms in Namibia.
    At least 43 people have been murdered in farm invasions and about 78 people were attacked on farms since the year 2000.
    This includes the biggest farm massacre in Namibia during March 2000 when eight people were brutally killed on the Kareeboomvloer farm by brothers Sylvester and Gavin Beukes.
    The Beukes brothers first shot and killed the farm owners, Justus and Elzabé Erasmus, and then executed all the witnesses.
    Meanwhile statistics show that there has been a steady decline in farm attacks since 2016.
    This is attributed to interventions by the police and farmers after there was a surge in farm attacks and murders in 2015.
    That year the number of farm attacks was one of the highest recorded since 2000 and farmers sought police intervention while different crime-fighting groups were established. A total of ten incidents and three murders were recorded in 2015.
    The only year that had such a high number of farm invasions was in 2006 when there were also three murders reported.
    In 2016 there were seven incidents reported on farms and no murders while three incidents were reported last year and only one murder.
    This year the Riedel killing was the first reported farm invasion and murder. It is reported that the Riedel couple, aged 68 and 66 years respectively, were attacked on their farm Grunfeld outside Gobabis and that the attackers then burned down the farmstead.
    The president of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), Rhyno van der Merwe, told Namibian Sun that there has definitely been a decline in farm invasions during the past two years.
    “We have been in discussions with the inspector-general of the Namibian Police about safety and security on farms and he assured us that the safety of all Namibians including the farmers is a matter that is close to his heart.”
    Van der Merwe described the killing of the Riedel couple as a tragic incident, but added that it cannot be generalised.
    “When it comes to safety on farms we also have a responsibility, but we know that we have the support of the police,” said Van der Merwe.
    The police are still investigating whether the fire was arson.
    The president of the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU), Jason Emvula, condemned the killing of farmers in Namibia.
    He said that attacks and murders on famers were a national problem. “When it comes to crimes against farmers it should not be labelled into groups of commercial and communal, we do not put a difference between us.”
    Emvula stressed that farmers were the ones putting food on the tables of the people in the country, and that should be kept in mind by those that were murdering them.
    “I have big respect for this job our farmers are doing - putting food on the table. I condemn in the strongest terms those that cause harm to our farmers. We must unite and not spread the hatred.”
    Emvula further said that communal farmers, especially in the north, are also targeted by attackers. “It is just underreported.”
    He referred to a recent incident where a farmer was attacked while he was on his way to fetch money for his workers.
    “It is probably worse here. Attackers don’t segregate between who is commercial and communal; they strike when they see opportunity.”
    Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said cooperation between the police and the farming community had yielded positive results.
    “We should however not get excited, because the decline may only be fleeting,” Ndeitunga said.
    He therefore urged farmers to join reservists and farming committees and also thanked them for the positive response that there has been so far to fight against crime.
    “The decline in murder cases of farmers is very positive and we will continue to strengthen efforts until it is zero,” he said.
    Statistics clearly show that the majority of those who have been attacked and murdered are elderly people.
    Farms in Namibia are not immune to violence in different forms.
    Most recently Aranos farmer Willem Visagie Barnard, 62, was this week found guilty of murdering his wife.
    Barnard killed his 55-year-old wife, Anette Barnard, with a single gunshot to the head at the couple’s farm Choris near Aranos on 9 April 2010.
    The trial of Okahandja farmer Kai Rust is also continuing. He is accused of shooting at suspected poachers and killing one.
    Several other fatal accidents have been recorded, including the massive gas explosion at Dordabis.
    ELLANIE SMIT


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    Taking stock of 2017, pondering 2018Taking stock of 2017, pondering 2018Opinion piece: Part 1 The portfolio manager at Sanlam Investment Management (SIM) shares his insights into economic and financial developments in the past year and looks at the year ahead. There is a strong likelihood that 2017 will be the first annual contraction that Namibia records in the last decade. – Basson van Rooyen, Portfolio manager: SIM Basson van Rooyen - As we shake off the dust from 2017 and take stock of the year that has passed, one can agree that it was definitely one of the more interesting and volatile years from recent memory with some unexpected developments: Namibia and South Africa flirting with credit ratings outside of the investment grade bands, new regulation developments channelling more funds into Namibian markets and some significant political changes to our neighbours here in Southern Africa.

    With all of this volatility and many market commentators being negative, 2017 favoured the investor holding more local assets especially in the equity space, even with the inclusion of the drop in value of Steinhoff shares.

    Looking down the road into 2018, one has to wonder if short-term trends will continue or if this market is positioned for more volatility and uncertainty.

    Positioning portfolios requires patience and commitment to long-term goals where one has to keep looking for well-positioned, positively valued investments and not get swept along by short-term profit-seeking investment decisions.

    Inflation

    Inflation both for Namibia and South Africa remained below 6% for the fourth quarter of 2017 with the local December year-on-year inflation rate standing at 5.2% and the average rate for 2017 at 6.2%.

    The contributors to the December inflation numbers were mainly housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels at 9.2%, education at 7.8% and transport at 6.7% - while food, alcoholic beverages and tobacco ended the year on a downward trend after their large contribution to inflation numbers in the third quarter.

    We’re expecting NCPI to remain relatively in line with the South African inflation target band of 3% to 6%. Our forecast is for an annual average of 5.1% in 2018. The risk for an unexpected move in the inflation number stems from the potential for exchange rate volatility as well as the impact of commodity prices in the short term.

    GDP

    The economic growth numbers continue to disappoint and together with revisions made by the Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA), we have had only one positive quarter in the last year and a half.

    The 2016 full year gross domestic product (GDP) growth stood at 1.1% and the Bank of Namibia’s current projection of growth for 2017 is at 0.6%. This means the fourth quarter growth of 2017 needs to come in at 7.1%, which seems to be a bit of a stretch.

    Construction remains one of the main detractors from growth. As it now stands, this sector has contracted for the 7th straight quarter, mainly due to the cut in government expenditure on construction projects. There is a strong likelihood that 2017 will be the first annual contraction that Namibia records in the last decade.

    Rates, budget

    The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Namibia (BoN) cited support for the domestic economic growth, slowdown in inflation and private sector credit extension as to keeping the repo rate unchanged for the last quarter of 2017 and in line with that of South Africa at 6.75%. Although we’ve seen a general upward trend from the US Fed Fund target rate since late 2016 and a recent increase in UK Bank of England repo rate, the market is still pricing in a drop of approximately 50 basis points towards the middle of 2018.

    The 2017/18 mid-term budget review did not bolster confidence in the objective of fiscal consolidation when we saw unbudgeted expenditure and additional strategic resource allocations not previously included in the budget.

    The current projected budget deficit for 2017/18 has been revised from N$4.04 billion to N$9.4 billion (3.5% of GDP), which were mainly attributed to outstanding invoices coming out of the 2016/17 period.

    Revenue collection seems to be on track with prior years and the much-relied on Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenue of N$9.8 billion has been received to date. Unfortunately, the SACU revenue, which makes up more than 30% of government’s total revenue, is expected to remain under pressure in the medium term, due to the low growth environment across the SACU regions.

    Further cutting on expenditure will become very difficult as the public sector wage bill has steadily increased to over 40% of the total government expenditure. Cutting this could risk possible public unrest. Another option is further cutting of developmental projects which has already seen minimal allocations compared to previous year’s budgets.

    * Part 2 of the opinion piece will be published on Monday.

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: Blood evidence questioned
  • Blood evidence questionedBlood evidence questionedMouton’s counsel says police interfered The lawyer defending culpable homicide accused Morné Mouton argues that a breathalyser test is inadmissible as evidence, citing an earlier High Court ruling. FRED GOEIEMAN



    The handling of the blood samples taken immediately after a fatal accident from Windhoek resident Morné Mouton (21), who caused the death of three people in Hochland Park in 2015, is becoming thorny issue for the State.

    The investigating officer in the case, Kautja Tjongarero, yesterday testified that Mouton did not object to taking a breathalyser test and a blood test to determine his blood alcohol level.

    “In the process of screening the accused, I could see his eyes were red and his breath smelled of alcohol. The breathalyser results showed positive,” Tjongarero said.

    He said he took Mouton with the sealed blood samples to a doctor who examined him. The doctor explained the process of the blood sample to Mouton and thereafter sealed the blood sample with a new seal.

    Tjongarero said he took Mouton to the police station where he was booked into the holding cells and informed that he would be charged with drunk driving.

    Mouton, who was 19 years old at the time of the incident, pleaded not guilty to the charges this week.

    The accused had a brief period of freedom when his case was provisionally struck from the roll in September 2018 after the court conceded to a defence objection citing the lengthy delays in the matter.

    On the date when the case was struck from the roll, the case docket was not in court but it was retrieved and the case was again placed on the court roll.

    Mouton faces charges of culpable homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol for the road accident that resulted in the death of police officer Manfred Gaoseb, 35, and two civilians, namely 22-year-old Werner Simon and Joshua Ngenokesho.

    Sisa Namandje, appearing on behalf of Mouton, argued that the result of the breathalyser test was inadmissible as evidence, citing a High Court ruling that suspects must be taken to a doctor to draw blood for testing.

    Tjongarero, during cross-examination by the defence lawyer, denied that certain police officers had interfered with the blood samples.

    In another case at Swakopmund a few years ago, lawyer Raymond Heathcote, who was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, alternatively driving with an excessive breath alcohol level, had pleaded not guilty.

    In a plea explanation he questioned both the reliability of the breathalyser equipment used to measure his breath alcohol level before his arrest at Swakopmund on 27 August 2011, and the legality of the government notice regarding breathalysers.

    In her ruling in January 2015, Magistrate Gaynor Poulton said the government notice stipulating which breathalysers can be used in Namibia did not conform to the Act, and as a result was invalid.

    The magistrate’s ruling followed an argument by Heathcote’s lawyer that a section of the Act required that when the regulations stipulating the standards to be met by breathalyser equipment are issued, they must be published and be open for inspection. This had not been stated in the government notice of 2003.

    However in the Supreme Court after considering a petition in which the State asked it to overturn a High Court judge's refusal of its application for leave to appeal against the magistrate's ruling, Chief Justice Peter Shivute and Acting Judges of Appeal Gerhard Maritz and Sylvester Mainga decided to set aside the judge's decision. The Supreme Court replaced the decision with an order allowing the State to appeal against the magistrate's ruling after all.

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: IT’s where it’s at
  • IT’s where it’s atIT’s where it’s at IT specialist refuses to be motionless or slow down. Octavia Tsibes



    Selma Petrus was born and raised in the northern part of Namibia in the Oshikoto Region, in a small village called Ondonga. The 25-year-old grew up with her father. “I was schooled at Onamulunga Combined School from Grade 1 all the way to Grade 10 and continued to Ekulo Senior Secondary school for Grades 11 and 12. After my matric, I enrolled at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) where I furthered my studies in the field of Information Technology (IT), specialising in Systems Administration and Networks, and graduated in April 2015,” Petrus said.

    She is currently employed and doing her honours. “The plan is to continue with my Master’s and thereafter I want to finish off with a PhD - all in IT,” she says.

    “I didn’t know a thing about IT until after I registered for it. Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming a medical doctor. I was busy with registration at NUST for Environmental Health, and when I finally came to the last stage of registration which was a clean, nicely air-conditioned huge computer laboratory I couldn’t believe my eyes, I have never seen so many computers in my life before,” she says.

    The computer lab inspired Petrus so much that at that very moment she abandoned Environmental Health and rushed to register for a course that had to do with computers… and which happened to be IT.

    “My grades were exceptional so they allowed me to register for IT and I am very grateful that I did so,” she says.

    While she was still a student, she volunteered as an IT intern at information processing companies in order to gain sufficient experience upon the completion of her studies.

    “Experience in IT industry is vital” she says.

    As an IT specialist her roles and duties include network management, systems update and maintenance, server maintenance, applications support, training ‘computer illiterate’ workers, assisting users experiencing technical troubles ranging from hardware and software issues (on-site, remotely or via the phone) to the navigation of the technology itself and many other arising related IT activities.

    She further added in order to make in the industry you need to be self-disciplined, respect all users irrespective of race, tribe, gender, age and position. Humility, the ability to learn new things, dedication and commitment, an interest in technology and a willingness to communicate will also take you far Petrus said.

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  • 01/25/18--14:00: GDP: Gross Domestic Problem?
  • GDP: Gross Domestic Problem?GDP: Gross Domestic Problem?Davos calls for holistic approach International thinkers agree with Namibians like President Hage Geingob that a gross domestic product is not be-all and end-all of economic growth. There's emerging agreement that the kind of statistics we've used in the past just aren't working anymore. - Diane Coyle, Economist: University of Manchester It can topple governments, confer international bragging rights and pretty much obsessed the government of China once the country began its long march back to economic prowess.

    But is GDP (gross domestic product) outliving its usefulness as a metric of economic size, and is it stoking social and environmental crisis by encouraging growth at any cost?

    Debate about whether it is time to adopt a more nuanced calculator has been growing in recent years, and featured anew during discussions at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos this week.

    “There's emerging agreement that the kind of statistics we've used in the past just aren't working anymore,” British economist Diane Coyle from the University of Manchester told AFP in Davos.

    Coyle is one of several experts who have written books on the subject. Others have detailed proposals such as a “Human Development Index”, and a new addition to the literature came out this week from Financial Times journalist David Pilling, entitled “The Growth Delusion”.

    In Davos, Coyle outlined new thinking that would supplement brute economic data with measurements covering human capital (skills and education), physical infrastructure and “intangible capital” such as computerised data and patents.

    They would also cover environmental quality, and “social capital” looking at how united or divided a country is.



    Namibia

    GDP as the essential element in measuring how successful the economy is, has also been widely debated in Namibia.

    Launching Namibia's Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) in May last year, President Hage Geingob said the country's objective is to go beyond just “aggregates and subjective wellbeing”.

    “Development is often defined as the process by which a country improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its citizens. Measures of such development are aggregates or averages, such as, GDP per capita. Obviously, such calculations are flawed as they do not take into account the benefits accruing or not accruing at individual level,” Geingob said.

    He said international bodies, in particular the Bretton Woods Institutions, however, continue to classify countries by per capita income regardless of the type of income distribution. “Based on averages, Namibia is currently rated as an upper-middle income country, and will be on track to eventually become a high income country, perhaps even before the year 2030,” he said.

    Geingob said it would not be an achievement if by 2030 Namibia reached high income status, but the majority of its people continued to be structurally excluded from meaningful participation in the economy and wealth creation.

    “That is why we speak about inclusive development where individuals' needs have meaning,” he said.



    Shortcomings

    Ascribing a value to data is particularly pressing as companies and customers increasingly transact their lives “in the cloud”, this week's debate in Davos pointed out.

    To take one example, a globally accessible and hugely useful resource like Wikipedia is worth precisely zero in traditional GDP accounting models.

    Neither does GDP encompass the black market, omitting a huge source of activity and income in many developing countries, including in Africa and Latin America.

    Notably, GDP cannot measure the distribution of wealth within a country. So while its total value can go up, gains are all too often skewed to top earners. Those lower down the ladder can fall further behind in relative terms.



    Disenchantment

    Developed in 1934 by economist Simon Kuznets to help the United States chart an escape from the Great Depression, GDP measures the total value of a country's goods and services over quarters and years.

    Woe betide a government that heads into an election on the back of a recession - usually defined as two consecutive quarters of decline in its GDP.

    But even where there is growth, disenchantment with how it is shared out can be seen vividly in Brexit-bound Britain, according to Inga Beale, chief executive of Lloyd's of London, the insurance market.

    “We've got to find another mechanism to include much bigger parts of the population, and use different metrics to measure success of a country,” she told CNBC television.

    GDP is widely seen as a blunt instrument to measure growth, and has attracted criticism from Nobel prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, among others.



    Standing

    But countries that do execute sustained rises in GDP can use the accreted wealth to transform their standing.

    Exhibit A is China, which after decades of pell-mell growth is now the world's second-biggest economy as measured by GDP, awarding it the kind of international prestige and influence that it has not enjoyed for centuries.

    But even in China the GDP debate is intensifying as President Xi Jinping vies to prioritise quality over quantity in the economy's expansion.



    Alternatives

    So what are the alternatives to GDP?

    Dissident thinkers are calling for a holistic approach that calibrates not just economic inputs but human capital along with quality-of-life issues.

    With the planet warming and some resources already exploited to near-exhaustion, including many fisheries, the WEF this week proposed a broader measure of growth called the Inclusive Development Index (IDI) that accounts for such factors.

    On that basis, Norway is the world's richest country and the rest of the top 10 comprises small European countries and Australia. Germany is in 12th position, the United States is 23rd and China 26th.

    On its index for emerging economies, the IDI ranks Namibia 7th in Africa.

    In any case, professor Coyle said, countries do not drastically have to overhaul their national accounting to take stock of environmental degradation caused by the rush for growth.

    “You just need to breathe the air in Beijing to feel the cost,” she said. – Own reporting and Nampa/Reuters

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