Posts tagged as: california

Presidential Candidate Vows to Soldier on Despite Nude Photo Scandal

Photo: Cyril Ndegeya/The East African

Diane Shima Rwigara addresses a press conference, announcing her candidature for the Rwanda presidency.

Ever since Diane Shima Rwigara came out to express her political views — and later declared her intention to run for president of Rwanda in the August 4 elections — the 35-year-old has attracted praise and criticism in equal measure.

One week after nude photographs — which she has disowned — were circulated on social media a day after she announced her presidential bid, Ms Rwigara says she will not be deterred: “I will not stop. I am going to continue with my preparations. The incident made me stronger, more resilient and determined to continue with this cause,” she told The EastAfrican.

The photographs were released through an email titled “the shameless acts of Diane Shima Rwigara who wants to contest for presidency”, with the sender adding “look at our presidential candidate”. The sender identified himself/herself as Emmy Twahirwa and claimed to be a journalist.

Robert Mugabe, a journalist who has reportedly been associated with Ms Rwigara, later stated on Facebook that the photos were doctored and were the work of her detractors.

Following that, Ms Rwigara took a few days off the public scene and later told The EastAfrican that the photographs were manipulated.

The incident elicited sympathy for the US-educated activist-turned politician, with many condemning the act of shaming her and others called for investigation.


No government agency has commented on the nudes scandal nor has any official come out to publicly condemn the sharing of the photos or denounce the presidential hopeful over her supposed “questionable integrity”.

But Ms Rwigara, who on Wednesday May 10 went to the National Electoral Commission to present the list of people who will sign for her and pick documents needed for the purpose, attracted wide coverage.

As an independent candidate, she must raise 600 signatures, at least 20 from each of the 30 districts. She believes that once she makes it to the ballot, she would make a good case and race against President Paul Kagame, who is widely expected to win the August 4 polls with a landslide.

More on This

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Meet Rwanda’s First Female Independent Presidential Candidate

First Female Independent Candidate Joins Race for PresidencyActivism and Rwanda’s Development Model – Diane Rwigara Takes a Stand

Ms Rwigara, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the California State University, Sacramento and a master’s degree in accounting from California State University, San Francisco, has surprised many with her boldness.On February 23, she held a press conference where she described herself as a “concerned Rwandan and activist” but denied intending to engage in politics. She highlighted several issues the country was facing that she said needed to be addressed urgently. Among these, she said, were the growing levels of poverty and hunger, which she said the government did not want to recognise, let alone address.”I am neither a politician nor a member of any political party,” Ms Rwigara told The EastAfrican shortly after the press conference, adding that she decided to speak out about the issues “because no one else appeared willing to speak about them.”On May 3, she called another press conference, during which she announced her intention to pit candidature against President Kagame.No freedom of press“The reason I am contesting is because our country has a stained past. The RPF government has achieved a number of things, attempted to deliver on others but completely failed on several aspects. Rwandans still face many challenges including poverty, hunger and injustices in all sections of the society,” she said.Ms Rwigara also said there was no freedom of press and expression in Rwanda, pointing out that none of the media were critical while those who tried to criticise the government often ended up in trouble, pointing out that she was ready to raise those concerns on behalf of the people.”We have cases of insecurity as people disappear without trace, some are killed while others flee the country. Most Rwandans know these but won’t speak out because of fear,” she said.Indeed, her move caught many off-guard, in a country where many people prefer silence rather than point out issues affecting them. A lot of talk followed her press conference, with many wondering where she got the guts to run for the country’s highest office.Several other prospective candidates have announced similar intentions for the top job in Rwanda, among them Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, former journalist Philippe Mpayimana and Gilbert Mwenedata, who will contest as independent candidates.InjusticesThe daughter of Assinapol Rwigara, a prominent businessman and RPF member, who died in February 2015 in an accident, Ms Rwigara maintains that her political ambitions were her personal decision and should not be in any way connected to her family.The embattled family has been in the limelight since the passing on of the tycoon after it contested the police version of the circumstances under which Mr Rwigara died. They went as far as petitioning President Kagame to call for an inquiry into the death.Since then, the family found itself in trouble when Kigali city authorities demolished a hotel of the deceased businessman because “it did not have the necessary permits”. Several of Mr Rwigara’s properties were also repossessed by the City of Kigali administration.Ms Rwigara maintains that she is not driven by anger or disgruntled by events surrounding her family, but says the manner in which her father died are some of the injustices she is willing to fight to correct.Her bid has not been helped by support from ‘renowned enemies’ of Kigali, including members of the Rwanda National Congress, an exiled group which Rwanda refers to as a criminal organisation, and of which one of her exiled uncles Benjamin Rutabana is a member.Ms Rwigara denies being a member of the group or any other political party, existing inside or outside the country.

Africa: Google Launches Cloud IOT Core Service for Enterprises

By Matt Hamblen

Google today unveiled a cloud platform service to help organizations collect vital data from billions of Internet of Things devices.

The service, Google Cloud IoT Core, is designed to help enterprises, including utilities and transportation agencies, securely connect globally distributed devices to the Google Cloud Platform. There, the data can be centrally managed and integrated with Google’s data analytics services, said Indranil Chakraborty, cloud product manager at Google.

One customer who has been testing the new service for two months is Energyworx, a company of 40 workers that has used Google cloud services since 2014. Energyworx provides data analytics to utilities to help them plan better and improve performance.

The new Cloud IoT Core has been deployed by Energyworx to get real-time data readings from thousands of solar inverters and electric vehicle charging ports that have been deployed in California and other locales, said Edwin Poot, founder and visionary for Energyworx, in an interview. He said he expects to expand the test of Cloud IoT Core to include collection of data from millions of smart utiity meters used to measure water and gas in coming years.

Cloud IoT Core provides a communications bridge between Google analytics and devices in the field, Poot said. Many of the devices, including solar invertors, rely on distinct or arcane data protocols that Google services can translate without manual intervention. (A solar inverter converts the variable direct current of a solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current that can be fed into the commercial electric grid.)

With the service, utilities can send control commands to meters, turning them on off, he said.

Energyworx only pays Google for the IoT devices it uses to receive data, Poot said, which should keep costs low. Overall, Poot said Google cloud services have cost a 10th what Energyworx was paying to Amazon Web Services, which it used prior to 2014.

“We’re seeing the power of cloud will grow fast and this [Google IoT] approach will be scalable,” Poot said. “We don’t install anything and don’t maintain anything. We just program it and use it and don’t worry about anything else.”


Continent Calls for Funding to Restore Degraded Forests, Land

Investing in forest and landscape restoration as well as ensuring their sustainability will improve livelihoods of… Read more »

Africa: ‘Dancing’ Is the New Miracle Drug Says Dr. Patricia Bragg, World Health Crusader

press release

Santa Barbara, California — “New studies show that dancing increases your memory and helps prevent a wide variety of diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. Patricia Bragg, CEO of Bragg Live Food Products, an international organic health company.

Singer/dancer Katy Perry, featured with Dr. Bragg in the attached video, has called Dr. Bragg, “The Queen of Health.” (

Researchers found dancing also helps prevent Parkinson’s disease, obesity, dementia, depression and anxiety, according to Dr. Bragg, whose father, Dr. Paul C. Bragg, was the originator of health stores in America in 1912.

“I have been dancing all of my life, and it’s not surprising to me that medical science is proving what I’ve known all along,” said Dr. Bragg, who has danced with Fred Astaire, Lawrence Welk, Arthur Murray and Gene Kelly, among many others. “Dancing is vital to the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle.”

The UCLA Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh reported that dancing reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia by 50 percent. The disease is expected to strike nearly 14 million Americans over the next 30 years.

“Think of the millions who can avoid this trauma simply by dancing!” says Dr. Bragg, the author of 10 best-selling ‘self-health’ books.

Dancing helps people with Parkinson’s disease recover balance and muscle control. “It’s also been shown to reduce depression, anxiety and stress and boost self-esteem,” a University of California at Berkeley report concluded.

“You can dance anywhere and new studies show it also makes you smarter!” says Dr. Bragg.

The New York Times recently stated that dancing improves the “part of the brain involved with processing speed and memory.” Studies from Stanford University report that, “Dancing increases cognitive acuity at all ages,” because it requires split-second decisions and exercises the neuronal synapses of our brains. There is only one such neural connection to our memory and when that fades from disuse, “…our nouns go first, like names of people,” according to the Stanford study. Dancing keeps that neural connection strong and super-efficient.

“My memories of dancing with Fred Astaire, Lawrence Welk, Arthur Murray and Gene Kelly, are crystal clear and so is my memory of the great time I had dancing last night!” says Dr. Bragg, “So, turn up the music and let’s dance to health, wellness and a fulfilled, long life!”

Media Contact:Michael Bowker/+1 805-968-1020

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‘The Ocean Is Not a Dumping Ground’

An internationally renowned scientist, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim became Mauritius’s sixth president on June 5, 2015 – and one… Read more »

Ghana: Aviat Networks Awarded Supplier Partner of the Year From Airtel Ghana

press release

Accra — Award Recognizes Aviat’s Commitment and Professionalism for 2016

Aviat Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVNW), the leading expert in microwave networking solutions, today announced Airtel Business in Ghana has named Aviat their supplier partner of the year for 2016. This award recognizes Aviat as a key partner in driving and achieving Airtel Ghana’s business objectives.

Aviat won this award specifically for the high level of commitment and professionalism executing key projects for Airtel Business across the country, and seamlessness adopted in following through to provide the necessary support to ensure its success. “We are extremely pleased with Aviat’s performance,” says Richard Adiase, Head, Airtel Business. “The team continues to exceed our expectations and we feel we can depend on them. We have a true partner in Aviat.”

“The level of customer service and support provided by Aviat’s local Ghana team, and our African team as a whole, is second to none,” states Heinz Stumpe, SVP and Chief Sales Officer, Aviat Networks. “We are proud of this achievement and we are extremely committed to delivering exceptional support over the long term to our customers throughout Africa.”

About Aviat Networks

Aviat Networks, Inc. works to provide dependable products, services and support to our customers. With more than one million systems sold into 170 countries worldwide, communications service providers and private network operators including state/local government, utility, federal government and defense organizations trust Aviat with their critical applications.

Coupled with a long history of microwave innovations, Aviat provides a comprehensive suite of localized professional and support services enabling customers to drastically simplify both their networks and their lives. For more than 70 years, the experts at Aviat have delivered high performance products, simplified operations, and the best overall customer experience. Aviat Networks is headquartered in Milpitas, California. For more information, visit or connect with Aviat Networks on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Gary Croke, Aviat Networks, Inc.,


GJA Launches Revised Code of Ethics

A revised version of the Code of Ethics of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has been launched in Accra. Read more »

Africa: Frost & Sullivan Applauds Ixia for Developing Cloudstorm™, a Remarkable Multi-TB Application and Network Security Test Solution

press release

Santa Clara, California — CloudStorm addresses cloud-scale volumes of traffic and provides high resolution accuracy for latency measurements

Based on its recent analysis of the application and network security test market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Ixia with the 2017 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation. Ixia’s CloudStorm™, the first multi-terabit (Tb) network security test platform, supports the increased capacity of hyper-scale cloud-based data centers at nanosecond granularity. A single CloudStorm card is capable of generating 3.5 million application flows per second by employing the latest technologies in network processors and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA).


CloudStorm focuses on diverse applications in data centers, including storage assignments as well as server and network security. It offers the unprecedented performance of 2.4 Tb of throughput, 42 million sessions per second, and 1.4 billion simultaneous sessions in a full chassis.

The solution has multiple benefits for multiple stakeholders. For instance:

It enables customers to address secure socket layers (SSL) and devise distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) mitigation strategies.

Network equipment vendors (NEMs) are able to validate next-generation 100G application delivery controllers and firewalls, and bring their products to market faster.

Cloud service providers and enterprises to measure the availability and resiliency of the data centers they are deploying so they can arrive at a best-fit security policy. With a hardware platform capable of supporting various speeds, CloudStorm eliminates the need for additional hardware to support each speed. This not only decreases capital expenditure, but also simplifies management and reduces data center and pre-deployment lab costs for space, cooling and electricity.

“CloudStorm is in a unique position to support data center operators in balancing security requirements with superior quality of experience (QoE) as network traffic moves toward total encryption,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Mariano Kimbara. “Its customer-centric approach presents customers with a unified platform for application and security testing. Customers can now emulate the magnitude of different applications for the most comprehensive range of security vectors. Compared to existing solutions, CloudStorm delivers four times the SSL emulation scale.”

Furthermore, CloudStorm combines the functionalities of BreakingPoint and IxLoad and is available in two versions–CloudStorm Fusion, which combines both solutions, and an IxLoad-only version. IxLoad focuses on application performance and QoE validation. It can validate the performance of over-the-top (OTT) servers, session initiation protocol (SIP) gateways, and wide area network (WAN) optimization controllers. Breakingpoint, on the other hand, emphasizes security network testing due to the large volume of applications and breadth of threat vectors.

“Ixia has made significant contributions to the market with its leading application and network security test solutions, evolving from PerfectStorm and now CloudStorm,” noted Mariano Kimbara. “Its solution provides a holistic experience that will enhance the business value proposition of its customers, and is richly deserving of the 2017 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation.”

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed an innovative element in a product by leverage leading-edge technologies. The award recognises the value-added features/benefits of the product and the increased ROI it gives customers, which in turn raises customer acquisition and overall market penetration potential.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Contact us: Start the discussion.


Chiara CarellaP: +44 (0) 207.343.8314F: 210.348.1003E:

Despite Murderous Attacks, ‘Witches’ Fight for Land

analysisBy Katy Migiro

Nyashana — This story is part of Our new website shining a light on land and property rights around the world

As Tanzanian widow Ruth Zacharia raised her right arm to protect her skull from a volley of machete blows, her three attackers sliced through her hand.

She fell to the floor; one leg slid into the kitchen fire.

“They said: ‘We have been sent by our mother because you killed our father so that you could buy that land’,” the 63-year-old recalled, fidgeting with her stiff, scarred right hand.

“I said: ‘I am not a witch’… They started cutting me all over.”

Thousands of elderly Tanzanian women have been strangled, knifed to death and burned alive over the last two decades after being denounced as witches.

“They said that (they) are witches… but it was a hidden agenda,” said Athanasio Kweyunga, human rights coordinator for the Magu Poverty Eradication Rehabilitation Centre (MAPERECE), a charity helping elderly people in the area.

“The reason is land.”

Attacks on women denounced as witches, often by hired thugs or vengeful relatives, continue despite efforts by the government, rights groups and charities to crack down on the killings.

With rapid population growth, land is being subdivided into smaller parcels with each generation. Tired soils, erratic rains and the costs of modern life leave many families in poverty.

Traditionally, widows in Tanzania cannot inherit their husbands’ land, but have a right to live out their days on it before it passes on to male relatives. This can create tensions.

“They are supposed to bequeath it when they die — and they don’t die,” said Helen Kijo-Bisimba, executive director of Tanzania’s Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC).

“That’s why we find some old women are being killed by their own children.”


Tanzanians’ belief in witchcraft dates back centuries as a way of explaining common misfortunes like death, failed harvests and infertility.

In the first six months of 2016, the police recorded 394 witchcraft-related killings in Tanzania, almost equal to the 425 recorded in the whole of 2015, LHRC data shows.

Superstition is deep-rooted among farming communities living along the shores of Lake Victoria in northwestern Tanzania, where most of the attacks take place.

Women with red eyes are often accused of being witches.

But traditional beliefs are often used as a smokescreen, campaigners say, when the main driver of the killings is land.

“There are still sporadic incidents,” Sihaba Nkinga, the permanent secretary in Tanzania’s ministry for the elderly, said in a phone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The police… haven’t got maximum cooperation from members of society where such attacks happen.”


Zacharia’s troubles began after she bought an acre of land in 2011 near her home in Tanzania’s western Magu District.

Another family wanted the land but they were unable to pay for the entire two-acre plot after their father died. So the vendor split it between the two families, who knew each other through the local church.

Zacharia planted rice on her portion but the other family’s cows trampled it. One night, she woke to see flames outside her window, as petrol had been doused over the tree overhanging her house. Finally, she was attacked.

“I went through major suffering,” she said, taking a break from reading her Bible. “Because they wanted to kill me, they should just be killed.”

The perpetrators were arrested in 2014 but were released on bail.

Although Tanzanians believe both sexes can be witches, almost all of the victims of attacks are women.

“The social vulnerability of women is key,” said Edward Miguel, a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, who has studied witchcraft killings in Tanzania.

As culture dictates that married women move to their husband’s home village, they often become socially isolated and face hostility from in-laws after he dies, he said.

Miguel believes that introducing an old age pension for women could safeguard them from attack.

“Other household members will have an incentive to keep them alive,” he said, pointing to the importance of pensions for sustaining many poor families in South Africa.


Miguel’s research found that witch killings during the 1990s peaked during periods of drought and flooding, when food was in short supply and the elderly became a burden.

As people interpret reality through the lens of their faith, they believed their attacks on witches caused the improved harvests that followed years of crop failure, he said.

“It’s really no different than any other religious belief,” he said in a Skype interview.

“It empowers them in a very uncertain world.”

Witchdoctors, whose good magic counters the bad magic of witches, have also been widely blamed.

The genitals were cut off many elderly ‘witches’ corpses for use by witchdoctors in good luck charms, said Joseph Mbasha, Tanzanian spokesman for the charity HelpAge.

“You can mix them up with herbs so that (the witchdoctor) can cleanse you (of a suspected curse) and you could be lucky,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The region is also notorious for murders of people with albinism, with their body parts also being used in witchdoctors’ lucky charms.

Although it is proving hard to stop the killings, police in Magu District say they are seeing a downward trend.

Murders of elderly people in the district have fallen to less than one a month from one each day a decade ago, said Philipo Mziray, commanding officer at Magu police station, dressed in a khaki uniform and black beret.

Rights groups, like MAPERECE, are teaching people about the medical, rather than supernatural, causes of death, such as AIDS and malaria, and the harmful consequences of witchcraft allegations.

After a two months in hospital and lengthy physiotherapy, Zacharia now helps her elderly neighbours report abuse and encourages younger people to take care of their parents.

“If we keep quiet, the oppression will continue,” she said, watching chickens fight over grain in her front yard.

“It’s better now because people have got knowledge.”

The International Women’s Media Foundation supported Katy Migiro’s reporting from Tanzania (Reporting by Katy Migiro @katymigiro; Additional reporting by Kizito Makoye in Dar es Salaam; Editing by Ros Russell

Africa: Frost & Sullivan Commends RWL Water for the Versatility, Cost Effectiveness, and Technical Excellence of Its Mobile Desalination System,…

press release

Santa Clara, California — The Nirobox™ ensures rapid return on investment with its scalable capacity and low power consumption

Based on its recent analysis of the mobile water desalination systems market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes RWL Water with the 2017 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Value Leadership. RWL Water emerges as a core solution provider for mobile water desalination systems in the mid-size market with the launch of its modular water treatment product solutions suite, Nirobox™. This reverse osmosis desalination plant for seawater and brackish water provides the capacity to treat up to 1,500 cubic meters per day with a single 40-foot container. Its superior energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and scalability make it the ideal solution for a variety of mobile applications and verticals.

Unlike competitors that focus on a single geographical area or product, RWL Water upholds a diverse portfolio. Its broad global presence, combined with investments in emerging technologies, endows it with global majors while retaining the speed, flexibility, and lower overheads of smaller companies.

Similar to larger market participants, RWL Water offers tailored project finance capability and extensive operations, which are crucial purchase factors in the mid-size market. Currently, it has more than 7,000 installed sites in 70+ countries, with core operations in the Americas, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. RWL Water anticipates strong demand in remote geographies, including the Caribbean and South Pacific, as well as from hotels and resorts, growing communities, and isolated industrial outposts such as mines. The company strives to include an off-grid power supply so that customers become entirely independent of the grid.

“Nirobox™ delivers many benefits to users, including customized water quality, remote technical support, and high recovery rates of up to 50% for seawater and 90% for brackish water,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst, Seth Cutler. “It consumes only low amounts of chemicals, as its proprietary and ultrafiltration membrane cleaning process inhibits microorganism growth.”

Additionally, Nirobox™ decreases power consumption by 40% over alternative technologies, boasts rapid deployment, and produces potable water immediately upon commissioning. RWL Water’s professional services and support team ensures the Nirobox™ is optimized for performance; the solution only requires less than 1% downtime for cleaning and maintenance, for instance. The Nirobox™ remote monitoring system eliminates on-site specialized personnel for system operation as monitoring occurs in real-time via remote operations.

“Through its strategic initiative to balance its business portfolio with customer-centric products and projects, RWL Water expects to grow strongly over the next five years,” noted Cutler. “Its outstanding service further cements its relationships with customers and is, therefore, a significant driver of sustainable revenue.”

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that demonstrates excellence in implementing strategies that proactively create value for its customers with a focus on improving the return on the investment that customers make in its services or products. The award recognises the company’s inordinate focus on augmenting the value that its customers receive, beyond simply good customer service, leading to superior customer retention and ultimately, customer base expansion.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

About RWL Water

Founded by Ronald S. Lauder in 2010, NY-based RWL Water was established with a vision to become the leading global water, wastewater and reuse solutions provider in the middle market. With operations in Latin America, the United States, Europe and the Middle East and over 90 years of combined operational experience, RWL Water provides leading edge, global solutions for desalination, water, wastewater, waste-to-energy, recovery & reuse as well as food & beverage processing.

Recognized as one of the fastest growing water solutions companies in the world, RWL Water has designed and built more than 7,000 successful installations and possesses strong customer references in more than 70 countries worldwide.

For more information about RWL Water, please visit our website:

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector, and the investment community. Contact us: Start the discussion.


Chiara CarellaP: +44 (0) 207.343.8314F: 210.348.1003E:

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Botswana: Ministry of Health Receives Malaria Vehicles

Photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim | Wikipedia

(File photo).

By Goweditswe Kome

Gaborone — Botswana is recognised as a frontrunner for the position of the first country to eliminate malaria in the Elimination 8 (E8) group of countries.

Speaking at the official hand over of 5 (4×4) Ford Ranger vehicles by Southern African Malaria Elimination 8 (E8) initiative, Minister of Health and Wellness Ms Dorcas Makgato said Botswana recorded the lowest number of Malaria cases per 1 000 population.

Ms Makgato said in the last two years, Botswana has received awards of excellence from the African Leaders Malaria Alliance for her achievements in reducing malaria.

She urged former Minister of Health in Namibia, who is also E8 Ambassador, Dr Richard Kamwi and Director at the University of California, San Francisco, Sir Richard Feachem to collectively brainstorm efforts to support regional surveillance and cross-border collaboration strategies in order to accelerate a race to a Botswana and SADC free of malaria.

Ms Makgato said Botswana has signed onto the SADC Elimination 8 Framework Agreement, which provides a platform for joint collaboration towards malaria elimination and because malaria knows no boundaries, the response should similarly transcend boundaries.

“We have neighbour countries that have high malaria transmission, and we are establishing, through the E8 partnership, a mechanism to collaborate to reduce the importation of malaria into our country from across the borders,” she said.

She said as they are scaling their efforts to respond to the increase in cases along borders with Zambia and Zimbabwe, the ministry is rolling out mobile clinics and rapid response teams that will enhance the elimination efforts, particularly along borders in collaboration with the neighbouring countries.

She thanked the E8 secretariat for coordinating the establishment of the mobile clinics whose work would be supported by the five vehicles, adding that the vehicles would enhance capacity for scaling up access to malaria services and improve case management outcomes in the border areas, which is a key to elimination strategy.

Ms Makgato said through the partnership with E8, the national malaria programme would increase access to adequate testing and treatment services in border locations of the region by providing health care services to migrant populations as well as local communities.

For his part, Dr Kamwi said Botswana was truly eliminating malaria.

He cited that out of the 8 countries, Botswana was competing with Swaziland in case mortality as in 2016 they each had 5 death.

In terms of cases per 1 000, Botswana has the lowest as it recorded 0.15 per 1 000.

Dr Kamwi said there was no way a country could eradicate or eliminate malaria without transport and financial resources.

Meanwhile, a press release from the ministry of health states that Botswana was experiencing a high level of Malaria transmission following the recent heavy rains.

According to the press release, there has been an increase in the number of cases of malaria in malaria-prone areas namely; Okavango, Ngami, Chobe, Boteti, Tutume and Bobirwa.

The release states that cases of the disease have also been reported in areas that do not usually have malaria, which include North East, Serowe, Palapye, Mahalapye, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Kgalagadi South and Ghanzi.

Malaria is a serious disease transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause death if not treated quickly.


Nigeria: Three Birds, One Shot – Turning Corrupt Money Into Electricity

opinionBy Ibraheem Dooba

The Federal Government is beginning to have success in courts with the forfeiture of stolen money. It’s my opinion that this is an opportunity to not only fight corruption, but also engage Nigerians and then provide the infrastructure that we need the most: electricity.

An expert on solar energy estimated that one megawatts of solar electricity plant will cost 100 million naira. I asked another expert for a second opinion. One hundred million naira, he said, is too high an estimate.

And there’s this growing understanding that solar is getting cheaper than coal as a source of electricity. Huffington Post reported: “In December [2016], the World Economic Forum released a report that found solar and wind energy have reached parity with, or dropped below, the price of coal in 30 countries.”

This is on account of improvement in technology and economics of scale.

Still, for our purposes, let’s use the figure today to think about what we can do with N34 billion seized from the former petroleum minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke and several more billions from other corrupt officials.

A federal high court on Thursday penultimate week ruled that $153 million (34 billion naira) linked to the former minister of petroleum be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Which is a cheering news, given that the money was earlier put on an interim forfeiture. Permanent forfeiture is good.

It’s good for the government and the people would benefit from it, if the FG employs the amount decently and carry the public along by spending the money on one problem. I recommend solar electricity, for the following reasons.

If Buhari would solve the problem of electricity supply, most other sins would be forgiven. And no one would balk at the efforts to make energy accessible and affordable for Nigerians. Also, this would be one programme that our compatriots would find relatable. Every household or business is affected by electricity or lack of it.

Two, solar energy is usually off-the-shelf. It’s something you can buy and easily install; therefore, it would be a project that would quickly return dividends. We don’t have to wait years to benefit. A solar plant can be completed in six months. A coal plant takes years. And a nuclear plant can take a decade.This would be the economics that everyone would understand. I can tell my aunt in the village that “electricity improved because Buhari converted stolen money to electricity.”

At the rate of 100 million for each MW, Diezani’s N34 billion will give us 340MW. If the EFCC succeeds in converting all the following interim forfeitures ofthe alleged illegal money to permanent forfeitures, we’d have 100 billion in cash that is already sitting in the bank and screaming to be put in the service of Nigerians: Raymond Dokpesi, N2.1bn; Patience Jonathan, $15m; Murtala Nyako, N29bn; the Amosus, N2.7bn; Andrew Yakubu, $9.8m; Roberts, $40m; Steven Oronsaye, N190m; Mba, N2.9bn and Ozekhome, N75m.

In that case, we’d have 1,000MW of solar electricity.That may be a modest amount, but it is close to what the three hydro stations in Niger State (Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro) are producing. And in the past several months, the nation has been depending on them, especially when militants disrupt supply to gas plants. It is also more than 700MW being constructed in Zungeru, Niger State, which has taken many years to be completed.

Some may argue also that solar does not even approximate what it is cracked up to be. They would point at Germany and say although it has the largest implementation of solar energy in the world, there are still problems associated with it. But the fact that we have Germany as an example should be the reason why we should go the solar route.

They’ve made the mistakes for us, so that we don’t have to, we can tweak their template to adapt to our situation and we can call upon them to assist us. Clearly, solar solution has moved beyond the question of whether it’s a fix or a fig leaf.

At a point, renewables – mainly solar and wind – contributed up to 90% of Germany’s energy; even though Sir David MacKay argued in his book “Renewable Energy without the Hot Air” that 80% of the developed world’s energy mix is still fossil fuel.

But MacKay’s book (2008), is a decade old and solar is half the cost of coal now. And the technology is improving at such a pace that in the next decade, it wouldn’t matter whether you’re a sunny or a rainy country. Already, places like Texas, California and Germany are producing more renewable energy than they need. This is good news. Abundance of technology makes it accessible to billions of people; two good examples are mobile phones and the internet.

Others may also say that our problem is not generation alone. This is true. Some would argue further that problems in the distribution corner is worse than in the generation. And they would all be right. We have problems with transmission and especially distribution. A recent interview with the chief executive of one of the generation companies is a validation of this. He said while the drop in electricity supply was blamed on the lack of rain to feed the hydro stations, that wasn’t the case. Indeed, they had power stranded at their plants but the distribution companies were refusing to buy, he said.

A friend in the industry also told me that “Discos are the ones messing up the sector.”

Therefore, distribution appears to be the weakest link in the chain and even if we produce 10,000MW today, if the distribution problem is not fixed, that would amount to very little.

Yet, if we produce enough, the DisCos would eventually run out of excuses and be forced to do the right thing or be terminated.Electricity is being stranded at GenCos because the DisCos are still making money without providing electricity due to the crazy estimated billings. This needs to stop.

In conclusion, the forfeitures provide a tremendous opportunity to adopt a razor sharp focus and carry the people along; it would get us get excited againin building Nigeria together.

Tanzania Wants to Maximally Exploit the Tallest Tree in Africa

Photo: Daily News

Tallest tree in Africa.

By Deus Ngowi

Moshi — The government is exploring strategies to maximally exploit tourist potentials of the tallest tree in Africa, found in Kilimanjaro Region. According to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) Chief Park Warden Bertita Loibooki, the unique tree has the potentials of attracting more tourists to Africa’s tallest mountain and elsewhere.

Ms Loibooki said here that having around the tree that measures 81.5 metres is a tourism millage, noting that KINAPA will conserve it by any means possible to enable people from different corners of the world to see it.

“It’s a big boast to have this tree in our park and we are going to use it as one of our tools to promote Mount Kilimanjaro, get more tourists and revenues,” she said during the regional leaders’ tour of the tree at Mrusunga, Kidia area.

The giant indigenous tree – Entandrophragma excelsum – belongs to the mahogany family and replaces the previous reigning height champion on the continent, an 81.5-metre tall Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna) from Limpopo, South Africa that died in 2006. The tree is also ancient, its age estimated at between 500 and 600 years.

It was discovered last year by Dr Andreas Hemp and Dr Claudia Hemp from the University of Bayreuth in Germany. Ms Loibooki said KINAPA was initiating a research to find out the best means to improve the infrastructure at the area. She argued that improved infrastructure will shorten the tourists’ safari to the area, because as of now the environment is not friendly to reach the place.

It takes about 2:30 hour walk from Tema village to Mrusunga area. Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner (RC), Said Meck Sadiki, Moshi District Commissioner (DC), Kippi Warioba and other officials had to use both feet and hands to make it to the area due to the steep hills, valleys and rivers they had to cross.

Mr Sadiki who hoisted the national flag upon arrival at the tree, urged KINAPA to protect the tree and ensure nobody tampers with it, warning citizens against any attempt to harm it, saying some people could start going for the tree’s barks due to their religious beliefs. He issued a stern warning against environmental degradation, especially the wanton felling of trees.

He said the tree is likely to increase local and international tourists, enhancing the state coffers. The researchers, under Kili Project, first spotted the bunches of the tall Entandrophragma excelsum trees while exploring Mount Kilimanjaro’s vegetation 20 years ago.

But, it was only recently that the tools were availed to measure its accurate height. Following the discovery, the tree has become a new heritage of natural wonders in Africa. Dr Andreas revealed that the tree is the sixth longest in the world and that it keeps growing amid prospects of remaining alive for the next 200 years.

In 2013, Mount Kilimanjaro was declared one of the seven wonders of Africa, with its Kibo Peak at 5,895 metres from sea level, being the big attraction to visitors from foreign countries.

The tallest tree in the world measures 115.7 metres and is found in California, in the United States of America (USA), with the second measuring 99.8 metres found in Tasmania, Australia.

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