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Liberia:Torrential Rains Destroy Roads in Nimba

By Cewhy Kwanue

Last week’s voting in several parts of Nimba was disturbed by heavy rains which messed up road networks causing delays at some polling centers, the offices of the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the county have said.

The NEC complained about the stretch of road between Gban Town, just a stone’s throw east of Ganta, and Saclepea, the central region, which is in ruins as the torrential rains in recent weeks have made travel in and to that part of the county nearly impossible.

The persistent rains have turned most roads in the county from dusty chariot paths to sinuous strips that look more or less like brown mashed potatoes. Some residents are taking advantage of the situation to dig along the worst sections, thus compounding the condition of the roads, travelers have said.

The situation has also stalled commercial activities thereby causing prices of goods and services to increase

The results, according to passengers who confided in the Daily Observer, are serious inconveniences in travel and in some cases accidental deaths. A recent one involved a motorcyclist, Kadiker Whyear, affectionately known as KDK, who lost his life while reportedly bypassing a broken down vehicle on one of the dilapidated bridges in the county’s Electoral District #5 near Gruzenplay Town. The young motorcyclist who died on October 12 at the scene of the accident, has been buried in Nyor-Butuo Town.

To help ease the tension, some of Gban youth created a detour for the cyclists, but extortion is recorded

Motorcyclists who try to relieve travelers of the stress of getting to their destinations have themselves endured the worst of the condition of the roads. Young residents from communities along the impassable stretches have grouped themselves to exploit motorcyclists who get stuck in the mud along the detours they (youngsters) create by extorting money.

Meanwhile, these photos from the Gban Town near Ganta clearly tell the rest of the story.


Where’re the Crowds?

The national vice chairman for administration for the opposition party Movement for Economic Empowerment or MOVEE, is… Read more »

Liberia:China Nearing Completion of U.S.$60 Billion New Modern Airport

By Alpha Daffae Senkpeni

Beijing — Construction work on the New Beijing Airport is showing huge progress, as engineers express confidence that the project would be finished and open for use by 2019, less than three years before the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The new airport project located in Hubei Province, about 67 kilometers from the in-use Beijing Capital International Airport, will be one of the largest airports and most expensive in the world costing the Chinese government 400 billion Yuan (about US$60.6 billion).

The ongoing modern state-of-the-art infrastructure will compete with international airports in Japan, London and the United States based on its size, traffic and services.

The project covers a land area that can host 44 standard football stadiums. By 2030, China would surpass the US as the largest aviation sector in the world.

President Xi Jinping dubbed the airport project “a landmark project” of Beijing that is a “new powerhouse of China” when he visited the construction site February this year.

The Chinese leader hailed the project for embodying construction principle that makes it a “module project, a quality project, safe project and clean project”.

It is a “new national gateway to demonstrate the image of China, practice sincere service and new brand of first-class airport worldwide,” added the contractor in a brief overview.

“It will be a great way to show the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” said Zhu Wenxin, spokesperson for the three state-owned firms jointly executing the mega projects.

Zhu led a team of journalists on a tour of the project on Monday, October 15, two days to the opening of the Communist Party of China (CPC) 19th congress.

The CPC congress, from October 18 to 20th, will set the country’s agenda for the next five years making it one of the most important political gatherings in the world’s most populous nation.

Under the CPC guidance, China has garnered massive economic prowess in recent decades, becoming the second largest economic in the world.

And the mega new airport project outside Beijing shows the country’s economic ambitions and how it would shift the global aviation sector in the coming decades.

A long term-plan shows that the new 46 square kilometer airport would hit a maximum of 100 million throughput passengers and 4 million tons cargo and mail throughput.

For the short term, it is targeting 72 million passengers and 2 million ton cargo throughput by 2025.

This would further impact China’s economy, as passenger traffic is expected to significantly increase, industry experts say.

According to the design, the airport will host 620,000 aircraft movements on four runways – three vertical and one horizontal – and a 700,000 square meter of terminal building. Airline bases, cargo, and fuel maintenance and catering facilities will also be available.

Anti-earthquake, rubber isolation bearings and elasticity sliding bearings have been installed to ensure the safety and stability of the terminal.

“[This is] a large modern international aviation hub and a century project practicing the new development concept of innovation, coordination, environment friendly, openness and sharing,” reads the overview of the project released by the spokesman.

For domestic transportation, the airport is a boom. It will also connect Beijing, a city of over 23 million people, with surrounding cities by expressway, fast speed railway of 250 kilometers per hour and subways that will run under the terminal “giving passengers convenient travel experience,” Zhu said.

South Africa:Children With Disability Battle to Find Schools

By Thembela Ntongana

According to government figures there are more than 2,000 children with disabilities waiting for schools in the Eastern Cape. GroundUp spoke to two families in Mdantsane near East London.

Boniswa Ntshota, 73, has been caring for her grandson, Hlomla Ntshota, since his mother died in 2008. She says she has been looking for a school for him in Mdantsane for three years.

Ntshota lives in a two-roomed shack. She left the Transkei in 2006 to be closer to medical facilities. She has diabetes, suffers from arthritis and her eyesight is weakening.

Hlomla, 9, does not speak and has to go to physiotherapy on a regular basis. His grandmother says learning to walk took him longer than most children.

“I want him to go to a school that will cater for him. He is old enough now and I want him to play with other children,” she says.

Ntshota says she has spoken to doctors and social workers dealing with Hlomla’s case. But all she has had so far are promises.

Single parent Nontsha Peter from NU11 lives in an RDP house with her 25-year-old son, Sibusiso. He can do little for himself and uses nappies.

From 2001 to 2010, he lived in a school for the disabled in Port Elizabeth. “It was difficult to have my son so far from me, but I had no choice; we couldn’t survive on his social grant alone,” says Peter.

During those years she would bring him home for the December holidays. She would have to hire a car as she couldn’t travel on public transport with him.

One holiday she decided not to take him back to the school because she was unhappy with the condition she had found him in.

She says she has looked everywhere for a school for him. The closest school that accommodates children with disability told her that Sibusiso needed special attention.

“When you are looking after him you have to think for two people. It is a full time job,” she says. “I do it because I am his mother but it is too much for other people.”

She is a domestic worker and when she goes to work she leaves Sibusiso with an elderly aunt. However, the aunt is in very poor health and sometimes spends weeks in hospital, leaving Peter with no help except the neighbours.

“I want a school for him because I would like to rest. I work the whole day and get back home and work again … I need to work because we spend his social grant on nappies,” says Peter.

Children denied their right to education

In September, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that there were 725 public schools which take disabled learners. That is less than 3% of schools countrywide.

Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) attorney Chandre Stuurman says children with disabilities have a constitutional right to edeucation. “This right is immediately realisable and is not subject to the available resources of government. Despite this, thousands of children with disabilities or children who experience other barriers to learning are out of school or are not being accommodated when placed in an ordinary public school,” says Stuurman.

Provincial manager for Disabled People South Africa Mncedisi Nkota says, “We have a serious crisis. If East London is a city and it is faced with such an issue, how much more in rural areas?”

“The department [of education] talks of inclusive education, which we promote, but the reality is that the department is not ready. It is something that we have been talking about for more than 15 years,” he says.

“We have a number of learners who are on waiting lists and they wait till they are too old to enrol in school, meaning that they miss out on years of education,” said Nkota.

Eastern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Mali Mtima said there were seven schools for the disabled in East London and one in Mdantsane. Four other schools are over 50km away in King William’s Town.

Asked about waiting lists, he said the department was dealing with the problem by creating new schools and increasing full service schools.

Eritrea:Workshop On Proper Application of Pesticides

Mendefera — A workshop on proper application and conservation of pesticides, as well as on liquid and solid waste management was conducted on 12 October in Mendefera.

The workshop, in which representatives of administrations and line ministries took part, was focused on the consequence of unsafe conservation of pesticides in the people’s lives.

Speaking at the occasion, the head of Regulations and Control at the Ministry of Agriculture branch in the region, Mr. Tesfasilassie Tesfamicael indicated that improper conservation of pesticides could cause unprecedented environmental pollution and health complication on the public.

Calling for due attention on liquid and solid waste management, the head of Environment at the region Mr. Tekie Teklemicael underlined the dangers of burning waste products without the prior knowledge of concerned bodies. He also called for proper use and control of plastic bags.

Stating that lack of adequate supply of pesticides is forcing farmers to buy below standard medicines, the participants on their part called on concerned institutions meet their demands.

Eritrea:Statement of Mr. Arefaine Berhe, Minister of Agriculture, At the World Food Day 2017 Observance

press release

Ms. Bui Thi Lan, FAO Representative in Eritrea!

Ms. Susan Namondo Ngongi, Resident/ Humanitarian Coordinator (UN) and UNDP Representative!

High Government, PFDJ and Army Officials!

Excellences Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps.!

Religious Leaders!

Members of the Farming Community!

Invited Guests!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

At the outset, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you for accepting our invitation to participate in this very important occasion.

This year’s World Food Day theme is “Change the Future of Migration – Invest in Food Security and Rural Development”.

As we can all appreciate, even though migration nowadays is receiving more global coverage and attention and manipulated for different ends, it has been part of human behavior for centuries.

Migration is the movement of people within the boundaries of a country or across boarders. Usually, the in country movement is from the rural areas to the urban centers. This is particularly so because job opportunities are created in towns and cities due to industrialization and other economic factors and at the same time social services and other amenities are almost absent or inadequate in the rural areas. However, the opposite flow can take place during conflict time as people feel safer in or around their villages and especially when the urban centers become the main battle grounds.

On the other hand, International migration as we see it today, is getting extremely pronounced due to multiple factors. Generally youth from the developing countries migrate to the developed countries for what they perceive as greener pastures. Others migrate to escape war and violence. Even those with very good education and skill migrate for better paying jobs. All these and others, however, can be summarized into a “push” and “pull” factors which translates to the un encouraging situation at the point of departure and the rosy promises and attractions at the destination. Nowadays, as it is very clear to all of us, human traffickers, organized at a global level are taking migration as a very lucrative business and that is why even kids who cannot reason out are becoming victims of this organized crime.

To save humanity from this evil and crippling phenomenon, we have to change the future of migration. We have to invest in food and nutrition security and rural development.

This is a global mission with national implementation. Every country must contribute its fair share for the global objective to be met. In this regard, let me briefly outline what Eritrea is doing by way of investing in food and nutrition security and rural development. The most limiting factor for agriculture, which is the mainstay of the Eritrean economy, is water and this is precisely the reason why the Government is spending a significant portion of its resources in water harvesting in the form of big, medium and small dams, ponds in particular and soil and water conservation in general. The rural road infrastructure has also taken a good share of the government resources and attention. As a result almost every village is connected to the network. Health and Education services are very wide spread within a diameter of five kilometers. Transportation and communication, energy and the provision of potable water has improved significantly over the years. Agricultural extension services and the availability of improved crops and livestock and rural credit systems are increasing in scope and depth thereby impacting the livelihood of the rural community positively.

Beyond this, because of the Government’s policy of even development throughout the country many villages and semi-urban centers have developed into towns and urban centers with satisfactory social services and this naturally minimizes the flow of people from the rural areas to the relatively larger towns.

Apart from the above mentioned foundation, the Government is shifting from the back-breaking traditional agriculture to technology-driven modern agriculture in order to make it youth friendly. Irrigated agriculture, with special emphasis to pressurized agriculture with alternative energy, mainly solar, is being introduced. Protected agriculture in the form of green houses and poly-tunnels are being promoted. High-value crops like vegetables, fruits and flowers mainly for export, are getting more emphasis. The outcomes of dairy, poultry, piggery apiary etc. are increasing in amount and quality. The farms around the big dams are fine-tuning their irrigation infrastructures to demonstrate modern commercial agriculture that will eventually benefit the youth and attract more into farming businesses and career in the agriculture value chain. “The Minimum Integrated Household Package” which is small intensive and integrated, is already providing food and nutrition at household level and is spreading at a commendable speed. Finally, all these undertakings and, more to come, will hopefully change the future of migration in Eritrea.

In conclusion, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the organizers of this event for a job well done.

I thank you for your attention !

Arefaine Berhe

WFD, 16 October, 2017

South Africa:Reshuffle More for Energy Deal Than Good Governance – Opposition Leader

Leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane, has called the latest reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma an attempt to reinforce a nuclear deal with Russia.

In a statement, Maimane said the appointment of former State Security Minister David Mahlobo as Minister of Energy, was a clear attempt to strike a billion-rand energy deal with the country.

“This smacks of an attempt to reignite the ANC’s efforts to chain our country to a multi-billion rand nuclear deal with the Russians.”

Maimane said Zuma was relentless in his pursuit to loot state funds.

“The DA is not surprised by President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, the latest move in Zuma’s war against anyone who opposes his project of ‘State Capture’,” he said.

He said that former Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, who was sacked, was an obvious target because he “follows Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom, Mcebisi Jonas and others who have failed to toe the Zuma line and have found themselves out of office”.

Nzimande, also the general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), was replaced by former Minister of Home Affairs Hlengiwe Mkhize.

‘Zuma appears to be firing his critics’

Relations between Zuma and Nzimande have been described to be at an all-time low, as the SACP – that had propelled him to power – had turned out to be one of his biggest critics.

The party, which is in an alliance with the ANC, has called for Zuma to step down and has banned him from addressing its events.

Maimane said the SACP has been dealt an insulting blow, and they must now decide how long they will put up with this abuse, or if they will now do what they know is right, and begin to work outside the ANC.

He said the reshuffle was not a move to enforce service delivery, but that it was politically driven.

“This reshuffle has nothing to do with effecting good governance, and ensuring the best people serve our country. On the contrary, Jacob Zuma appears to be firing his critics, and offering promotions in exchange for support ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December this year.”

He called on South Africans to “use their power to vote out this self-serving ANC government at the ballot box, and choose a new beginning for our country”.

“The future of South Africa lies in a post-ANC South Africa, free from corruption and ‘State Capture’, and focused on our nation’s new struggle – the struggle for access to jobs.

Source: News24

South Africa

Zuma Fires Critical Communist Leader From Cabinet

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South Africa:TB Hospital a Pillar of Hope to Besieged Matatiele

By Bandile Njonga

Matatiele — MATATIELE in the Eastern Cape is synonymous with demarcation deadlocks of the past decade and recent service delivery protests but will soon be mentioned in the same breath with a multimillion Rand, world-class facility to treat rampant tuberculosis. Valued at more than R436 million, the Khotsong TB Hospital has become a pillar of hope for communities residing in and around the municipality with a population of over 12 million. Furthermore, the project has set aside over R94 million in construction work for local small micro medium enterprises (SMMEs). Currently some 14 local SMME contractors have been awarded contracts worth a combined value of R8,1 million as of the second quarter of this year. Once finished, expectantly in 2018, the TB hospital will result in a world-class modern day hospital with over 120 beds together with staff accommodation covering an area of over 9 000m2 Already, more than 300 locals from Matatiele are benefiting from the construction upgrade. Since the start of the project, some 96 local people have received Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) accreditation. As one of the social and economic objectives of the project, candidate technical professionals with formal tertiary qualifications are employed as interns by the main contractor in order to acquire practical workplace experience on the site. Currently eight interns are employed on the project all coming from the local community. Fourteen interns will eventually benefit as the project progresses.

“Most of the training specialised in technical work, brick laying, plumbing, electrical cabling, painting, carpentry and pipe laying,” said Simlindele Manqina, Communications Officer at the Coega Development Corporation (CDC). CDC is implementing the project on behalf of the Department of Health (DoH) in the Eastern Cape. Salim Mohamed, Director Infrastructure Programme Delivery Health Facilities Development and Maintenance at the Eastern Cape DoH, said efforts behind providing training and development are meant to boost the skills level of the local community so that, people were equipped with skills that will sustain them post the construction life span of the project.

“This internship programme has already yielded success as one of the contractors has offered fulltime employment to one of the interns as their Health and Safety officer,” Mohamed disclosed. Matatiele shot to the national spotlight in 2005, the municipality was moved from KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape, as part of the 12th Amendment of the Constitution. The majority of residents objected to the move, leading to the formation of the African Independent Congress (AIC). The Constitutional Court in 2006 ruled that the part of the 12th amendment was invalid due to insufficient consultation with stakeholders. AIC and the ruling African National Congress have agreed to ensure Matatiele is incorporated back into KZN, hopefully by the end of November. At the end of September, a violent protest by the Route 56 Matatiele Forum, erupted over demands that rural roads from Matatiele to the border area of Lesotho tarred. About 15 people arrested and charged with public violence are out on warning. “Our demands still stand. However, the construction of the TB hospital is a step in the right direction towards delivery of services,” said Zolani Maqakelane, an activist with the forum. – CAJ News

South Africa

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President Jacob Zuma has fired his tertiary education minister, South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade… Read more »

Nairobi On Alert After ‘Deadliest’ Somalia Explosion

Security agencies in Kenya have been placed on high alert after a truck bomb exploded in Mogadishu, Somalia, killing 276 people.

“Officers are on high alert. The surveillance has been increased. We have always been and therefore cannot drop our guard now.

“We have activated our systems because they (terrorists) carry out an attack in one area they tend to do it as a pattern, by attacking elsewhere,” Police spokesman George Kinoti said.

The Somali Government said 300 other people were injured during the Saturday blast.

“Somalia Federal Government confirmed that 276 people were killed in the blast… and 300 others wounded people were admitted at the different hospitals in Mogadishu,” the country’s ministry of information said.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed condemned the attack, saying:


Opposition Nasa Suspends Demos

The National Super Alliance on Tuesday suspended its demonstrations against the electoral commission amidst claimed of… Read more »

Age Limit – Cabinet Minister Supports Amendment to Survive

By Nelson Wesonga

Tororo — A Cabinet minister has admitted that he supports the lifting of the age limit for presidential candidates from the Constitution because he wants to “survive.”

“Those of us who are old, we want to survive,” Mr Peter Lokeris, the state minister for Mineral Development said on Monday in Tororo District, where he had gone to commission a 10-megawatt Tororo Solar North power plant.

When the Daily Monitor asked him to clarify, he said he meant they [old politicians] want to live longer.

“It is not about food or a Cabinet post. It is to live, to enjoy life – with or without a job,” he said.

During his address on Monday, Mr Lokeris said the young and the middle-aged Ugandans who have issues with elderly politicians should know that they, too, will grow old.

The Karamojong in north-eastern Uganda, he added, believe in the leadership of elders.

He said since the elders are grounded in history, ‘we think we can benefit from them’.

Currently, many Ugandans are engaged in a fierce debate over the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2017, that seeks, among other proposals, to remove the age limit caps for presidential candidates.

The Constitution in its current form bars people who are less than35 years and above 75 years from contesting for presidency.

Unless it is amended, President Yoweri Museveni, 73, will not qualify to contest in 2021 because he would be 77 years old.

Proponents of the bill say, Mr Museveni, who has been in power for 31 years, should be given another “opportunity” to contest again in 2021 and lead the country for another 5-year term.

Opponents of the proposal say the culture of changing the Constitution to benefit one individual should be stopped.

Mr Museveni, who had many months back dismissed the Members of Parliament who were pushing for the lifting of the age limit, now says the age caps are discriminatory.

“The current legal regime is discriminatory against Ugandans who are below 30 and 35 for the offices of district chairperson and president respectively… These amendments are harmonising the current legal regime that is discriminatory… ” Mr Museveni said during a recent caucus meeting for the ruling National Resistance Movement legislators

Mr Museveni also argued that Nelson Mandela became President of the Republic of South Africa when he was 76-years-old.

However, some senior citizens of Uganda, among them the former Prime Minister, Apolo Nsibambi, a political scientist, former Chief Justice Wako Wambuzi , former Principal Judge James Ogoola under their Elders Forum warned against the scheme to remove the age limit.

Angola:Government to Work to Consolidate Banking System

Luanda — The Government will work with the National Bank of Angola (BNA) to consolidate the process of adapting the national financial and banking system to the norms and standards of international financial institutions, said the President of the Republic, João Lourenço.

According to the Head of State, the measure also aims to intensify the effective control of the means of payment, the reestablishment of relations between the national banks and the corresponding banks, and the restructuring and reorganization of banks with structural liquidity deficits.

In addressing the country’s State of the Nation message at the opening session of the First Legislative Session of the 4th Legislature of the National Assembly, João Lourenço emphasized that in view of the Central Bank’s role in the economy, this institution should be governed by professionals in the area, to strictly and competently fulfill their function.

For this reason, he said, the Government will give all support to the Financial Intelligence Unit for its role in preventing and combating money laundering and possible financing of terrorism.


Head of State Pledges Mandate Focused On Citizens

The Angolan Head of State, João Lourenço, last Monday pledged that his mandate will be focused on the… Read more »

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