Art Basel's renowned talks series, will once again bring together leading artists, gallerists, collectors, art historians, curators, museum directors and critics from across the world. Programmed for the fourth year by Mari Spirito, Founding Director of Protocinema, Conversations provides a platform for dialogues and discussions on current topics, offering diverse perspectives on collecting and exhibiting art and the wider artworld ecosystem.

The 3rd edition of the LAFF Festival (Lausanne Afro Fusions Festival), the first Afro-positive festival in Switzerland, will take place from 19 to 22 July 2018. We expect between 10,000 and 20,000 people. With the beautiful Place de l'Europe in Lausanne, in the district of Flon, this edition will be dedicated to local and international discoveries.

UK – Gisa Fuatai Purcell, a national of Samoa has been appointed as Director of ICT Development Department of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The Director of ICT Development, who reports to the Secretary-General is responsible for overall strategic direction of the operational divisions of Capacity Development, Events and Technical Support and Consultancy.

Pressident Xi Jinping of China (You Tube)

Africa Link Reports

Last month, ahead of his ill-fated African tour, then US secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, warned African governments about the amount of debt they were loading up from China. In reaction, there was collective eye-rolling around the world, and especially in Africa, as China’s largest debtor seemed to be lecturing African countries, without irony, about the perils of taking on too much Chinese debt.

A two-day Forum is being slated for 26-27April 2018 in Nairobi on The role of private sector in providing innovative solutions to the water sector in Kenya and Eastern African Region.

Ghana - The Ghanaian capital Accra will host for two days, the 5th edition of the African Summit of Palm Oil and Rubber. The event, entitled “moving forward with sustainable oil palm in Africa and improving smallholder’s productivity; continued resilience of natural rubber in the face of challenges” will be held next 25-16 April.

(Ecofin Agency) - Gwladys Johnson Akinocho

Africa Link Reports

The Burkinabe government plans to increase its electrification rate to 45% from the current 20%, by 2020. This was announced by Paul Kaba Thiéba (photo), the Prime Minister during a parliamentary audience.

Siemens has provided automation equipment and industrial networks to assist Anglo’s Engineering Skills Training Centre (ESTC). One of the pillars of Digitalization is industrial networks and security and it is crucial that these engineers understand the role of this technology in the future of mining.


News

Grid List

Tanzania is among the developing countries facing the major challenge of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Despite efforts being made by health stakeholders in fighting the diseases, more is yet to be done. In an exclusive interview, The Citizen's reporter Herieth Makwetta speaks to the minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, who explains what the government is doing to implement strategies and policies aimed at countering the diseases.

What does it mean when we speak of NCDs and how has Tanzania repositioned itself in countering them?

In 2010, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report titled, 'Global status report on non-communicable diseases: Description of the global burden of NCDs, their risk factors and determinants that stated that the diseases were affecting 47 per cent of patients and that, out of the 100 that died, 60 died of NCDs.

These statistics show that if concerted action is not taken to fight the diseases by 2020, the statistics will go up from 47 to 60 per cent and the death rate will also shoot up from 60 to 73 per cent.

Here in the country, we get a picture about NCDs through a study conducted in Dar es Salaam, Mara and Kilimanjaro regions in the 1990s, but I would not like speak about that as for now we are using a study carried out in 2012 by the National Institute for Medical Research (Nimr).

Nimr carried out the study in collaboration with the WHO, the Ministry of Health and health stakeholders as it is the one that we have been using to date, giving us a summary on NCDs.

The findings of the research show that 15.9 per cent of Tanzanians use tobacco and this includes cigarette smokers that are a catalyst for respiratory diseases, 29 per cent are alcohol drinkers that are considered one of the main causes of the diseases, 26 per cent are obese and overweight, 26 per cent have raised cholesterol in their body and 33.8 per cent have raised triglycerides, the main constituents of natural fats and oils.

The findings of the study also show that 9.1 per cent are diabetic while 25.9 per cent suffer from hypertension.

The government launched a campaign called 'Afya yako, mtaji wako' that sensitised people to engage in physical exercises so as to fight NCDs. Has the campaign brought about positive results?

The campaign was a result of the study carried out in 2012, whereby a quarter of interviewees said they were neither exercising nor doing laborious jobs. Out of those interviewed, four said they neither engaged in any physical exercises nor did any physical work and this gave us a picture of NCDs in the country.

I admit that the campaign has not succeeded to its full potential in the implementation of the exercise campaign.

I must be realistic that we started well, but our expectations were that every council would have continued with the implementation of the campaign that was launched by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

We met with council and discussed together that there was a need of relaunching the campaign that was being implemented in some regions.

Is there any current policy or guidelines for fighting NCDs currently?

In 2016, the government designed and launched a five-year national strategy for fighting NCDs. The strategy has already identified the areas that we will work on.

Tobacco consumption is one major risk factor for NCDs. What is the government doing on tobacco control?

Tanzania is a member of WHO as we have signed the 2007 framework convention on tobacco control.

I must admit that the framework is outdated as there are some areas that have not been worked upon, despite the fact that we have managed to control tobacco smoking in some areas, particularly airports, where there were no warnings on smoking. We have gone as far as special rooms for smoking. The challenge we face is on open space areas.

That has not been tackled as the law requires people not to smoke in those open space areas, but there has been confusion about who is supposed to enforce the law, it is a policeman or a health officer? The law confuses and that is why before I became the health minister, efforts were made to amend the law on tobacco control and a new one was introduced.

However, we need to agree that the new law is on the issue of controlling tobacco farming. For instance, if you tell tobacco farmers in Urambo and Tabora rural not to cultivate the crop that is part of increasing their incomes, I don't think they will understand you.

What we need now is to discuss the matter within the government while tobacco stakeholders need to come up with alternative farm crops that will help increase their incomes.

The alternative farm crops will not affect their incomes and even their future lives.

Besides that, what efforts are being made?

I'm very happy to hear that question as two weeks ago a meeting was called by the Prime Minister's Office that the time had come to agree with one another on how we can have a common stand as a country and as a government in controlling the use of tobacco.

However, we as a Ministry of Health have said that since there is no law and the one existing is outdated, we will neither ban nor go against tobacco farming.

We will educate members of the public about the effects of tobacco use. That is our main objective.

To avoid spending huge sums of cash on treating the diseases, what is the government doing on prevention?

Even in the 65th conference of health ministers from East, Central and Southern Africa, we discussed that the main risk factors of NCDs is the use of tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.

Also the issue of a life style was highlighted as many people don't walk long distances. All these risk factors are worked upon.

Do we have a recent study on NCDs?

A special study was conducted in 2012, almost six years ago, but when you look at the number of patients going to health centres due to NCDs have been increasing.

Now, what's the next plan as we look ahead?

We have repositioned ourselves in three big areas: first on prevention, second on early diagnosis and third on medical treatment.

Currently, we are focused on preventing people from falling a victim to NCDs by educating them through awareness programs.

As part of low-cost interventions, WHO recommended a minimum amount of money that should be allotted to every Tanzanian in fighting NCDs? If so, is it sufficient?

What we get is a budgeted disbursement from the Central Government.

But, we need to find ways of improving the funding. For instance, in South Africa sugar is taxed because of its massive use and it is a contributing factor to NCDs and eventually contributes to medical care bills, hence sugar is taxed.

press release

South Africa has just made history today as it becomes the first country in the world to take a bold step of replacing an injectable drug with toxic side effects, with a promising new oral medicine (bedaquiline) in the standard multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment regimens for adolescents and adults.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has welcomed the South African National Department of Health (NDoH)’s announcement and sees this as a positive step aimed at making MDR-TB treatment more tolerable, and reducing the devastating impact of side effects caused by the injectable agents.

“The standard treatment for MDR-TB is currently effective only 50% of the time, and includes a painful injectable antibiotic known to cause terrible toxic side effects, including kidney failure and hearing loss. Experience with bedaquiline in treating drug-resistant TB – mainly from South Africa - demonstrates improved clinical outcomes in people living with MDR-TB, and initial evidence shows that it can be safely and effectively used in place of the toxic injectable,” says MSF’s Dr. Anja Reuter, a DR-TB doctor in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, where MSF has run a DR-TB programme since 2007.

Although there are still some hurdles in implementation, MSF has called on the government to support health facilities in developing capacity to use bedaquiline and other new drugs, and to manufacturers to reduce the prices they charge in South Africa and globally. Worldwide, more than half a million people are infected with MDR-TB every year but extremely few who could have benefited had access to newer TB drugs such as bedaquiline.

MSF is urging other countries and officials responsible for WHO guidance on the use of DR-TB medicines to follow South Africa’s progressive example and commit to replacing the toxic injectable drug and ensuring expanded global access to effective new medicines, including bedaquiline.

By Brenda Yufeh

This was during an event to donate gifts to patients at the Chantal Biya Foundation yesterday in Yaounde.

"Sickle cell today is no longer a rare disease but friends to sickle cell patients such as the First Lady of Cameroon, Chantal Biya, are rare." It is with such words of appreciation towards Mrs Chantal Biya that the association of parents with children suffering from sickle cell at the Chantal Biya Foundation (FCB) received a delegation from the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CERAC) with special gifts from their Founding President, Chantal Biya as the international community commemorated the 10th World Sickle Cell Day, yesterday June 19, 2018. It was a get-together that permitted CERAC members and other actors to sensitize the population on the genetic disease which can be avoided.

The Head of the CERAC delegation, Aissa Motaze, who is also the Secretary General of CERAC, expressed the love, care and concern the First Lady has for those affected by the sickle cell disease. She implored the necessity for the population to create a better life for those affected by which they can be able to do lots of things in a better way.

While explaining that sickle cell is a lifespan ailment, Aissa Motaze said it is vital to educate people on the disease particularly those who are already touched on how to have a healthy life. Going beyond emotions, Aissa Motaze on behalf of CERAC, called on couples to know their electrophoresis hemoglobin test before making plans for procreation.

This is in a bid to have healthy babies. Noting that it was an obligation for CERAC and its Founding President to assist those in need, the Secretary General of CERAC, symbolically handed gifts to sickle cell children who are being taken care of at the FCB.

The head of the sickle cell unit at the FCB, Dr Anastasia Alima lauded the good gesture from CERAC which comes to add to the efforts of the Foundation in caring for people with sickle cell who have constant health problems due to red blood cell disorders.

Dr Alima said this could lead to anemia and eventually death in most cases. While explaining that many people are still ignorant about the disease, a pediatrician at FCB, Dr Rose Ngoh eps Etambat, called on parents to take their children to the hospital when sick for the FCB has doctors 24/24 to provide care to sick children especially those suffering from sickle cell.

While children suffering from sickle cell expressed gratitude to their benefactor through songs and sketches, parents of these children particularly thanked the First Lady whose motherly care and love to the children has gone beyond what words can't express.

By Zurah Nakabugo

Breast cancer is one of the most widespread cancers amongst women in the world.

Janet Nabadda, 68, a resident of Rwanyi village, Masaka was diagnosed with breast cancer at Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) in 2015. She has been unwell since 1990. It has now damaged half of her right breast.

Nabadda says it started with high blood pressure when she was 18 years old and carrying her first pregnancy in 1968.

In 1990, small wounds spontaneously emerged on her right nipple. They were not painful, so she ignored them.

According to Rose Nabatanzi , the in-charge of Kitovu Mobile Medical Centre, Nabadda wasted a lot of time with traditional healers. By the time she went to UCI, not much could be done about her cancer since it was in an advanced stage. She also refused her breast to be cut off; an operation usually performed to either arrest or mitigate the disease's progression.

Nabadda's breast is now shrinking as the cancer progresses. She was advised to go for radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment at UCI in Mulago hospital, but she also refused fearing that her breast could be cut off.

Then doctors at UCI advised her to be enrolled on morphine treatment to reduce the severe pain. Nabatanzi says Nabadda began taking morphine in 2015 and is able to do some simple work at home. Nabadda says the morphine reduced the burning sensation in her body.

"I take it twice a day and when it gets finished and I miss taking it for a few days, the heat and pain returns," she said.

Nabatanzi says breast cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the breast. Risk factors include; taking too much alcohol and a family history of breast cancer. Other causes remain unclear.

Nabatanzi advocates for continued sensitisation of the public about the dangers of breast cancer and when to go for treatment to avoid reaching hospitals when the cancer is in its advanced stages.

She says most patients currently on palliative care are cancer patients. Between January and June this year, they have registered 156 new patients and of these 80 per cent are cancers without HIV. At the end of the year, they expect about 350 registered patients on palliative care.

"We give most of these cancer patients morphine to reduce pain following a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation. In May only, we administered 63 patients on morphine. We give them morphine green and red, but sometimes morphine red is out of stock from the Joint Medical Stores where they get it," she says.

She says common side effects of morphine include constipation but patients are told how to manage it. The patients, who need radiotherapy and chemotherapy, are referred to UCI but the biggest challenge is the prohibitive cost of the treatment.

ARVs

Another patient, Vincent Luyinda Kafeero, 31, of Kikoni, Misaali, Masaka is battling skin cancer, which has damaged all his fingers and feet.

According to Nabatanzi, skin cancer is common in people living with HIV, especially people with HIV drug resistance.

Luyinda, a mason, is very weak at home with hundreds of morphine empty bottles, which he keeps to prove to the doctors that he uses the drug daily. He says as he was building, when he hit his finger with a harmer, got a wound which wasn't given much attention, but later developed into cancer.

"When I went to Uganda Care, Masaka Regional hospital in 2015, I was tested HIV positive and they also diagnosed me with cancer. Since then, I have been getting morphine treatment at Kitovu Mobile Medical Centre," he says.

Luyinda's sister Paulina Namugerwa says her brother's cancer worsened when he stopped taking ARVs for some time, due to insufficient food and also because he didn't want his partner to know his HIV status.

"We also spent much time with traditional doctors, thinking he was bewitched with the skin infection known as cellulitis (ettalo). The witchdoctors conned us of a lot of money and by the time we reached hospital, the cancer was in an advanced stage and the doctors couldn't do much. He is now kept on morphine to reduce pain," she says.

Ettalo causes painful swelling usually in the limbs. Nabatanzi says since Kitovu Mobile Medical Centre started in 1987, they have been taking care of HIV patients by visiting them in their homes in Greater Masaka sub-region, to counsel and provide treatment.

"Most patients we visit have skin cancer, uncontrolled diarrhoea and other stressing HIV conditions. However, most women have cervical cancer, but they come late to hospitals when the cancer is in its advanced stages, since they treat it as syphilis," she says.

Fr Joseph Lukwago 73, a priest at Villa Maria Catholic parish was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016, but they couldn't operate on him because it was in advanced stages.

"When they examined me, they found I have cancer in my bones. I have been on morphine treatment, which has decreased the pain and I'm now feeling ok. At UCI, they give me an injection every after three weeks to reduce pain," he says.

It is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition. These include: age. Most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years.

According to the US National Library of Medicine website, morphine is considered the "gold standard" for relieving pain and is currently one of the most effective drugs available clinically for the management of severe pain associated with cancer.

Zurah Nakabugo

By Rushdie Oudia

The Siaya County government has issued an alert after one person died as a result of suspected case of Rift Valley fever.

On Tuesday evening, a man aged 20 died after he was taken to the Siaya County Referral Hospital having a fever and bleeding from body openings.

He is reported to have been sick and sought treatment at a local health centre for about one week.

According to the acting Chief Officer for Health, Dr Omondi Owino, the patient died while undergoing treatment but added that further investigations will be done to establish the cause of his death.

"Samples taken to the Kenya Medical Research Institute revealed that the cause of death as Rift Valley fever. Tests for Ebola and Marburg virus were negative," said Dr Owino.

SICK ANIMALS

He said Rift Valley fever a disease that mainly affects livestock while people are mainly infected as a result of handling sick animals - either slaughtering them or assisting animals while giving birth.

The other mode of transmission from animals, which is relatively low, is by mosquitoes and bites from other insect.

The disease causes abortion in animals.

The county Department of Health and Sanitation has cautioned residents not to directly handle sick animals or slaughter them without consulting veterinary or public health officers.

Residents have also been encouraged to use mosquito nets.

"Anyone with a sick animal - mainly sheep and cows - must report to nearest authorities immediately and cases of abortions or loss of pregnancy in these animals must be reported too," said Dr Owino.

By Stephen Oduor

The Tana River County health department has been grappling with a Sh126 million debt hampering service delivery, Governor Dhadho Godhana has said.

Speaking at a forum in Hola, Mr Godhana said the department has been borrowing money from other departments to survive as it struggles to settle debts inherited from the previous regime.

"The department is not to blame; they have been dealing with a back-breaking debt that they inherited from the previous leadership," he said.

Mr Godhana said the county government has been stretching itself beyond its limits to correct the mess left by the previous regime which left the hospitals on their knees.

IGNORANCE

He said the sentiments of leaders in public forums concerning the state of health have always been made out of ignorance, as they do not understand the burden the county executive has been dealing with.

"We are the ones who know where the shoes pinches most, none of you knows. As a matter of fact, you just knew today that the department has been ailing from Sh126 million debt," said Governor Godhana.

Hospitals in the county have been facing unending challenges, with residents and leaders blaming it on the executive.

COMPLAINTS

Shortage of drugs coupled with theft, lack of ambulances, few nurses and arrogant staff are some of the complaints highlighted by locals.

As a result, residents have been abandoning local hospitals to seek treatment in Malindi in Kwale County while others go to Garissa.

The local county hospital has been referring 70 per cent of its patients to Malindi, which Health and Sanitation Executive Mwanajuma Hiribae attributes to lack of experts in most of the fields despite having the necessary equipment.

Mr Godhana said he is confident the two Cuban doctors who will be posted to the county will help improve services.

More medical experts and nurses are to be hired by September.

"The next financial year comes with better moments. We will revamp services and infrastructure in these hospitals. We have allocated money to bring the services up to date, including hiring more nurses," he said.

By Kundai Marunya

Man of-the-moment Alick Macheso brought the house down with a three-song, but magnificent performance at the winter warmer concert last Friday night.

Though performing early in a near empty auditorium, he gave a superb performance that featured two songs off the latest album "Dzinosvitsa Kure".

As usual his amazing guitar skills were a force of reckon while his dancers notably Zambezi Kariba and Majuice amazed revealers with a beautiful shoe and bodywork.

As the night went on, music lovers trickled in but failed to fill up the venue. They were however well captured with an amazing line-up of artists.

Some of the musicians who did great include Jah Prayzah, Seh Calaz, Leonard Zhakata, Killer T, Jah Signal and Suluman Chimbetu.

For Jah Prayzah, his well thought of selection that included "Goto", "Mdara Vachauya" and "Chengetedza" won hearts of many.

Though the sound was terrible his vocal and performance prowess won the night to the extent that fans kept on pulling on him as he tried to great them. Seh Calaz's started on a low but heated it off with the crowd as he sang his new hit single "Taligaliser Mbanje".

Then there was Leonard Zhakata. His yesteryear hits, among them Mugove were well sang along to. It was, however his dancers that stole his set. Resplendent in suits and white gloves, Michael Jackson style, their choreography that fused breakdance with other local styles left the crowd in awe. To close off the show was Killah T who came with a celebrity entourage that included Warriors star players namely George Chigova, Tino Kadewere and Khama Billiat.

While he was busy churning out hits from his new album and yesteryear hits, the Warriors were also great at entertaining fans in the VIP section posing for selfies, singing along to Killah T as well as displaying amazing footwork in dance. Kadewere ruled the roost as he amazed fans with well-choreographed 'clarks' dances.

Dodoma — Mbeya Urban MP Joseph Mbilinyi, popularly known as MC Sugu is planning to sue the National Arts Council popularly known by its Kiswahili acronym as Basata over the body's recent ban of his rap song.

Debating the government's Sh32.5 trillion budget proposal for the financial year 2018/19, Mr Sugu said he has directed his six lawyers to file a court case against Basata.

Basata, a government institution that regulates music, movies and other creative works, announced a ban on Sugu's new song dubbed #219 on grounds that it contained inciting message.

"Basata has officially banned Joseph Mbilinyi's song #219 because of its violent and incitement nature. The institution also blocks the rapper from performing, recording or distributing his music," Basata said in its recent press release reads.

It says the song does not only contain incitement messages but also did not follow the due process of release.

In Parliament, Sugu said it was unfortunate that Basata has decided to ban a 'leaked song' while debating the budget.

"The song has leaked. How could they issue a statement to ban a leaked song? They have never been to a recording studio. They don't even know the costs of recording a song. Do they want all of us to sing about love?" enquired Sugu, noting that it has reached a point whereby every institution in the country works like the Police Force.

But the Deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Ms Juliana Shonza stood up on a point of order and informed the House that she had personally listened to the song and got convinced that it (the song) was indeed inciting.

According to Ms Shonza, Sugu also erred by releasing a song without following the right procedures.

But in response, Sugu said: "I am neither Roma nor Diamond (in apparent reference to the banned songs of the two other singers). I have instructed my six lawyers to take measures," he said.

By Idoko Salihu

Nigerian afro-fusion artiste, Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy has signed a music publishing deal with Universal Music, USA.

The announcement of this new stride was made in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES.

The deal comes months after he released his last studio album "Outside" which has been getting rave reviews ever since its release in January under Atlantic Records.

According to the statement, the deal will give him the privilege to manage his songs and ensure he receives all the royalties from the back end as he is entitled to.

"This deal will also seek and issue licenses for Burna's work. This is, of course, in addition to administrative duties, tracking, exploitation of copyrights, and collection of monies generated from the exploitation of those copyrights," the statement read.

The new deal also comes after Burna Boy enjoyed benefits off the confusion stirred by the release of America hip-hop star, Kanye West's eight studio album "Ye".

Burna Boy's "Ye" which became an instant hit is currently a fan-favourite off his "Outside" album.

The conflicting title however became a bonus for Burna Boy as his single kept showing up on major streaming platforms, especially on iTunes when fans searched for Kanye's album.

Burna Boy is currently on his 'Life on the Outside' tour in the U.S.

By Godwin Muzari

Alick Macheso's previous two albums before his recent release -- "Dzinosvitsa Kure" - got his fans worried.

Signs of diminishing competitiveness over-weighed the musician's effort to justify his title as the sungura king.

Although Macheso tried hard to defend his imagined creativity on albums "Kwatakabva Mitunhu" and "Tsoka Dzerwendo", results on the ground clearly showed him that he had lost something along his acclaimed music-making journey.

Meagre consolation that fans got from deliberate overdose of songs like "Mude Mude", "Cynthia" "Macharangwanda" and "Kurarama Inyasha" during live shows fell a few inches from utter disappointment. Pathetic vocals distorted all efforts that Macheso made with his guitar wizardry.

He hammered other not-so-palatable songs from his poor albums down the throats of his fans at live shows until he realised that this brave act was gradually, but definitely bringing him down. The gold on his sungura crown was fading away.

Some attributed Macheso's impending demise to a competition gap that was left by Tongai Moyo's death while others cited a whirlwind personal life involving court battles with estranged wife Tafadzwa Mapako as taking their toll on the sungura king.

Theories were thrown around, but the fact remained that Macheso was no longer the same musically.

But it is uncharacteristic of kings to go down just like that. They fight to defend their thrones. And Macheso did the right thing at the right time. He took note of signs of disapproval from his fans -- some subtle, some loud -- and spectacularly crafted his comeback in a package that he has titled "Dzinosvitsa Kure".

Macheso remembered the serious ammunition he packaged in albums like "Simbaradzo" and "Zvakanaka Zvakadaro", which emphatically won him kingship of the sungura territory, and realised he needed similar effort to avoid slipping off the throne.

Of course, "Dzinosvita Kure" cannot match "Simbaradzo" or "Zvakanaka Zvakadaro". Those were lethal weapons that Macheso created with immense artistic rage that might not possess him again.

But "Dzinositsa Kure" will successfully defend the sungura king's territory. In fact, it has announced the return of the king and it will shake the music scene in a big way. In fact, its waves are already being felt.

Prophets of doom that had already written derogatory epitaphs in anticipation of erecting Macheso's musical tombstone anytime soon will have to wait longer. The musician has silenced critics.

He does not have to force people to listen to songs from "Dzinosvitsa Kure" at live shows like he had resorted to with his two previous albums. Fans are requesting for the new songs just two weeks after the release of the album.

"Dzinosvitsa Kure" has already congested music selections in various social spaces. It has already gone far beyond the previous two releases. In other words, Macheso is continuing from where he left with "Zvinoda Kutendwa".

On the new album, he maintains his signature strong bass guitar but he also employs a few tactics that were apparently meant to correct shortfalls noticed in previous releases.

Macheso resorted to his old way of doing all vocals on the tracks. On his previous album, he worked with Wilson Meka, whose high pitch failed to blend well with Macheso's style. Meka used to sing for Pengaudzoke, which is well-known for high vocals, but the style worked negatively for Macheso on his previous album "Tsoka Dzerwendo".

The new style worked well, although Macheso could have done better with less voices on some of the tracks. The beginning of the track "Chikuru Kurarama" sounds congested because of too many voices that sometimes miss cohesion.

However, Macheso's multiple studio voices are perfect on other songs, especially on tracks "Pfuma Yacho" and "Vane Zvavanoda" that have flawless vocals.

He also does a number of sing-along verses that make parts of his songs easy to grasp. "Chikuru Kurarama" has a chorus 'chero wandisiya ndirimupenyu' that many have already mastered.

"Pfuma Yacho" is done in repetitive lines that make the track the easiest to sing on the album. On "Madzitete", fans can easily catch lines when he sings "anokumbira mumuregerere/tinokumbira mutiregerere/vanokumbira muvaregerere", which also applies to the song "Vane Zvavanoda" that has a chorus which goes "ngwarira uchanditorerwa/uchenjere unganditorerwa/sare ndakadai, wanditorerwa".

"Kudzwai" also has recurrent lines when Macheso sings "kudzwai Mwari wangu/kudzwai Ishe".

Sing-along music is powerful and attracts fans' attention easily and that is a major strength on "Dzinosvitsa Kure".

Besides tracks "Pfuma Yacho" and "Vane Zvavanoda" that give considerable stretches to rhythm and sub-rhythm guitars, Macheso uses bass and lead guitars playing in complementary manner, which is his signature style. It seems the style works well when Macheso interchanges bass and lead guitars with Noel Nyazanda and it indeed works magic on "Dzinosvitsa Kure".

And to put the icing on the cake, Macheso did not leave out his rhumba style of starting songs. Tracks "Ndakakutadzirei" and "Kudzwai" are perfect examples.

He usually uses the style to capture a listener's attention at the very beginning of a song. Rhumba introductions were used on two songs but all tracks have unique start-off beats meant for attention attraction.

On longer tracks, Macheso gives his guitarists chances to individually show their expertise with the strings. It is known as "one-by-one" style at Orchestra Mberikwazvo and he has done so on most of his albums. The style remains popular, especially at live shows.

To apparently give credence to social messages that he churns out on most of the songs, Macheso employs less chanting lines. His two chanters get less time on the microphone, which leaves space for articulation of messages in sung verses.

And talking of messages, Macheso came with a loaded release with the track "Chikuru Kurarama" focusing on the importance of peacefully parting ways if a marriage fails to work. "Pfuma Yacho" is a strong advice against using evil means or rituals such as human sacrifices to acquire wealth. "Ndakakutadzirei" encourages people in various fields to prove their expertise through exceptional works and it also questions why some people hate others that actually assist them in life.

"Kudzwai" praises God for protection and guidance, "Madzitete" is a plea for forgiveness from children that have wronged their parents while "Vane Zvavanoda" is a bold statement for one to stand by their principles and choices in life despite disapproval that might come from others.

All in all, "Dzinosvitsa Kure" compresses various facets that make it a complete package and has announced Macheso's return in a commendable way.

In an age of the phenomenal growth of Afropop music dominated by Nigerian and East African artistes, Zimbabwe may soon be ending its search for a Davido or a Diamond Platinumz.

Twenty-three-year old Courage Dhuku, also known as Ceeblazer, is the rising star that could carry a nation's hope: the Ukraine-based musician has become a sensation on the Internet following the release of his track, "Zondo" which has amassed close to 100 000 views on his YouTube channel since June 8.

The video is super-hot with racy scenes as characters indulge in a raunchy motif which, of course, accords with the idea of "Zondo", a well-fabled Zimbabwean meal of beef trotters.

Ceeblazer's directors are Kingslee ( a.k.a Amajinaka Chukuma) and Dharmy David from Nigeria.

"Zondo" is leading a number of the singer's hits that have generated interest on YouTube such as "Lele". "African girl" and "Murora".

Ceeblazer is not exactly new on the scene, having previously recorded songs with Tocky Vibes and Stunner but the vibe has surely changed.

"I recorded my first song in 2013 on October 28. I did a song with Stunner called Jibilika and with Tocky Vibes called Muzezuru," he said.

"It was good much thanks to my brother Stunner he was so humble when we did our song it was so nice he is down to earth a good artist to work with not like others who will not even reply to your messages. Tocky vibes also he is so humble we did our song for free he didn't charge anything he is also a cool person to work with.

"My first hit song was Murora which hit 200 000 views in two months before we removed it from YouTube because I opened my channel so I can place my music there. I kept on working I released another song called 'African Girl' and 'Lele'. Both songs are doing well, but so far 'Zondo' is amazing. It hits 80k views in 6 days after it is released so I think we are improving slowly but surely."

Ceeblazer says he has not received much airplay in Zimbabwe but is soon to bridge that gap - and also run for the money spinning pay-TV on the continent.

The artiste, grew up in Zimbabwe in Harare. He is the first born in a family of two boys. He attended Marimba Park Primary School and proceeded to Rusununguko Secondary School in Bromley, Marondera, and to Oriel Oriel Boys High.

He says he started singing at the age of nine.

He currently lives in the town of Dnepropetrovsk, central Ukraine and a cultural hub, where he is studying and working.

Live DVD recordings of various gospel musicians have inspired Christians in many parts of the world and the trend continues to grow.

Many live recordings that feature groups of inspirational singers have made a mark in the praise and worship sector.

One group that has come up with inspirational live recordings is Spirit Praise that has done many recordings that are set to change the face of praise and worship in the gospel arena.

The outfit last year hosted the One Voice concert that featured a number of groups from various churches. The event was well attended and recorded live by a number of professional videographers. It is an annual event and its third edition is expected to take part later this year.

Organisers allowed groups to do their various recordings and Spirit Praise also did a recording of their performance at the event.

Their "Once Voice" DVD is now ready and it will be launched on July 7 at 99 Park Lane in Harare. The event will run from 5pm to 8pm.

The DVD also comes with an audio version and features songs like "Anodaira Munamato", "Zodzo Renyu", "Makandiregerera" and "Mandiratidza Rudo Rwenyu".

It will be a double launch as it will also see the unveiling of "Worship Moments 2" DVD that was shot by Spirit Praise at their traditional venue at 99 Park Lane early this year.

"Worship Moments" is another annual recording from Spirit Praise. This year's edition was done in February and it has songs that include "Ndizadzei", "Mandivhenekera", "Trust in God "," Anodaira Munamato" and "Tawana Zororo".

Spirit Praise leader Learnmore Tavengwa said their plans for the July 7 double launch have been going on well and they expect many top musicians to be part of the event.

"We are happy to launch our two DVDs. It will give people that did not manage to attend the recordings a taste of what was happening at the events. We are engaging many top musicians to be part of the event," said Tavengwa.

"We hold the two events every year and our mission is to spread the word of God through music. We are only doing what we can afford with our tight budget. If we get sponsorship, we will be able to come up with bigger projects that speak to people's souls in a bigger way. We have seen other countries doing it in mega ways and we know Zimbabwe has a bigger potential."

He said they have also started preparing for this year's one voice concert and they are planning to host about 50 gospel groups on a date to be announced in due course.

By Adejumo Kabir

The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, has dismissed a lecturer of the institution, Richard Akindele, who demanded sex from a female student to help her improve her grades.

The dismissal was disclosed during a press conference by the Vice Chancellor, Eyitope Ogunbodede, on Wednesday.

Mr. Ogunbodede said the conclusion was reached after the investigative panel found Mr. Akindele guilty of inappropriate relationship with one of his students, Monica Osagie, a claim to which he admitted.

The vice chancellor said the dismissal of Mr. Akindele will serve as deterrent to others as "the university has taken further steps to ensure total elimination of sexual harassment in the OAU community"

PREMIUM TIMES reported the audio conversation between Mr. Akindele, a professor in the accounting department, and Ms Osagie.

The university had initially suspended Mr Akindele indefinitely, following an interim report of its investigation.

Read the full statement by the vice chancellor confirming the dismissal below.

COUNCIL DECISION ON THE AUDIO CONVERSATION BETWEEN PROFESSOR RICHARD AKINDELE AND MS MONICA OSAGIE

Around the 7th of April, 2018 or thereabout, there was an audio conversation between a man and a lady which was sensationally trending on social media because of its explicit sexual tone. After thorough investigation, it was discovered that the said audio conversation was between a lecturer and a student of our University (OAU) who were later identified to be Professor Richard Akindele and Ms Monica Osagie.

To save the image of the University and to unravel the circumstances that surrounded the whole saga, the University Management set up a committee and mandated it to submit its report within a week. Furthermore, the Management issued a query to Professor Richard Akindele to explain his role after which he was suspended pending the final determination of the case in line with the University regulations.

Although the committee invited the two persons involved, only Professor Akindele could be initially reached and invited. This necessitated the submission of an interim report. However, when the committee eventually succeeded in inviting Ms Monica Osagie, and finally concluded its sittings, it then submitted its final report to the Management.

To disabuse the minds of the general public on the issue of an alleged cover-up, the Vice-Chancellor, on two occasions, issued press releases that were personally signed by him. The press releases were maximally published by virtually all the media houses and aired by Radio and Television Stations across the globe.

Last Thursday, 14th June, 2018, the University Senate considered the Committee's Findings that:

(1) Professor Akindele had an inappropriate relationship with his student Miss Osagie. This was established through their conversation in the audio recording; his reply to the query; the oral evidence; and the printed 'WhatsApp conversations' tendered before the Committee.

(2) He had acted in a manner that is seen to have compromised his position as a teacher and examiner, in that, his conversations with Miss Osagie were about examination scores and inducement of favour for the alteration of examination scores.

(3) He offered to change Miss Osagie's purported "33%" result to a pass mark in consideration for sexual favours, this was established in the audio recording which he admitted.

(4) His claim that Miss Osagie knew that she had passed with a score of '45' but was seeking to score an 'A' and that this led to him being sexually harassed by Miss Osagie cannot be supported by any evidence.

(5) Professor Akindele's actions in requesting for sexual favours from Miss Osagie to change her examination scores was scandalous behaviour that has brought ridicule to the name of the University and has tarnished the reputation of the University, as it portrays the University as an institution where its teachers and examiners trade marks for sexual favours.

(6) From the evidence, Miss Osagie had no idea that she scored '45', a pass mark as later claimed by Professor Akindele, although she later found out she did not fail the course.

(7) Professor Akindele's claim that he reported Miss Osagie's 'harassment' to his colleagues cannot be supported by any evidence as all his colleagues denied it and one mentioned that she only talked about the matter with him after the audio recording was released over the internet.

(8) Professor Akindele operated in a position of power and authority over Miss Osagie and as such sexually harassed her.

(9) Professor Akindele was liable for all the allegations of misconduct levelled against him.

Accordingly, the Senate recommended that Professor Richard Akindele, having been found liable on all the allegations against him, should be dismissed from the services of the University.

The Council, at its meeting of today, Wednesday, 20th of June, 2018, having considered the recommendation of Senate, as well as the report of the Joint Committee of Council and Senate, decided that Professor Richard I. Akindele should be dismissed from the services of the University for gross misconduct.

The University has also taken further steps to ensure the total elimination of Sexual Harassment (SH) in the OAU Community. The University has a legal duty to prevent sexual and gender-based harassment within the institution and ensure that both men and women are protected from this menace; and thereby provide conducive environment for teaching and learning. To achieve this, the university:

(a) is creating more awareness and disseminating information on what constitutes Sexual Harassment (SH) within the university, and noting the veracity of SH concepts which include - sexual solicitation and advances, sex exploitation, prostitution, seduction, pimping, sexual assault, unwanted touching, vulgar sexual jokes, rape among others. These concepts are well specified in the University Sexual Harassment Policy approved by the University Council in 2013;

(b) has put in place a strategic implementation framework for the SH Policy which will ensure effective/rapid redress mechanisms to incidents of SH. The SH Policy clearly states mechanisms for reporting and for dealing with SH cases through the committee system. This would be made more functional;

(c) will continuously educate staff and students about their right to seek redress in cases of SH;

(d) has uploaded, on its website, the Sexual Harassment Policy, under the administrative blog, while copies are being given to students at matriculations, and when staff are newly recruited;

(e) intends to add 'Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment' as part of its core values, and openly display this on bill boards.

A whistle-blower policy is also being developed by the University.

OAU is fully committed to the eradication of sexual and other types of harassment from our tertiary institutions and will do all that is possible to nip this menace in the bud. OAU has zero tolerance for Sexual Harassment and as a renowned University will do everything humanly possible to maintain the rules and regulations of the University.

Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede

Vice-Chancellor

June 20, 2018

Photo: Daily Nation

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

By Sethi Ncube

Johannesburg — Kenyan exams have in the past been marred with rampant cheating. Teachers, learners and security guards have ended in court for their participation in these notorious acts.

In May, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed announced that school found to have engaged in examination cheating will be deregistered and the culprits punished.

In an attempt to dis-empower these culprits, the cabinet secretary has ordered the ban of public events in schools, including visiting days, a move that has angered Kenyans. She says the move is meant to ensure that there is uninterrupted focus on students.

Only candidates will remain in school as the other learners close for the November/December holiday and she she will personally lead the teams monitoring the opening of examination containers across the country.

She has also urged school principals to guard against practices that might lead to exam irregularities, leading to the cancellation of results or deregistration of schools.

Here's what outraged Twitter users had to say:

Did Amina study 8-4-4 ? To know how hectic it is, and how freshening it is to be visited by family and friends to give you hope and morale to push on. - yung kemp (@Kempchacha)

Seriously? Dictatorship everywhere. Visiting is one way of checking on the kids and giving them moral support. That's the main purpose of visiting. What's wrong with kenya? Instead of dealing with the problem of rape, arson and other vices in schools now schools are prisons. - Calystus Murunga‏ (@MurungaCalystus)

Kenyan Education system separates parent from children, and the result is obviously corruption! - Mr. Harrison Karuga‏ (@harrisonthuo)

seriously retrogressive move. Visiting days should be increased not scrapped. Parents need to be more involved and available for their kids if we are to deal with the crises among our youth. - Pauline Mugure‏ (@pjmugure)

Bad move. Very bad move. We used to look forward to visiting day - it was great stress relief in a hectic education system. Kids are in their formative stage n they still need parents. Now the kids will be more stressed. - Mwaura Gichuru‏ (@mwauragichuru)

Unacceptable! Boarding school is often traumatic even with visiting days. So to add onto exam trauma, she wants to ban visiting days? Does she hate her own children that much so we should punish ours? Who annoyed you Amina that you would wish to isolate our children so. - VioAnne‏ @vioanne

By Okeri Ngutjinazo and Angela Kabozu

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa yesterday said there is nothing wrong with the education system in the country, but some people within it.

Hanse-Himarwa, who met Khomas school principals during a visit to the Eros Primary School in Windhoek, did not mince her words when she called on principals to play their part in schools as she would not be held accountable solely.

She told the principals that success rises and falls on leadership, and that she will not allow them to continue at the schools if they were continually scoring below the red line.

"We cannot have under your guidance as school principals teachers who are perennially failing and producing ungraded results year in and year out, and at the beginning of the year, that teacher comes back as if everything is normal, just to do the same damage, and you are supervising them," she said.

The minister stated that there was no excuse for the Khomas region to be at the low ranking it is at the moment, adding that 50% is nothing to be proud of, and the average must increase from 50% to 70%.

"Khomas is the capital region, the face of this country, meaning schools in the region are first and foremost representing the government's face. Therefore, my expectation from the Khomas region and the school principals is to be trendsetters," she said.

She added: "In my terminology, 50% is nothing to be proud of because 50% means out of 100, only half of that number goes through. We cannot be happy because half of that number is left behind."

The minister said the average of the Khomas region is expected to be higher because of the conducive environment, the learning aids which are available, and the leadership.

"There is no way Khomas should be surpassed by regions with fewer privileges and less conducive environments for learning and teaching," she stressed.

She had visited the Nehale Senior Secondary School in the Oshikoto region last week that has structures made of sticks, cow dung and shacks.

"I am told a school in Khomas that has proper structures and potable water, with perhaps most of the qualified teachers, access to the internet, exposed to all sorts of benefits, has a 17% pass rate at junior secondary school (JSC) level," she said, comparing that to Nehale which is producing a 100% pass rate at JSC level.

Hanse-Himarwa added that the pass rate at rural schools indicates that it is not about the books or the gadgets, but the leadership at those schools.

Meanwhile, Khomas education deputy director Paulus Lewin presented statistics at the meeting, compiled on 16 JSC schools and 19 Namibia senior secondary schools in the Khomas region to evaluate their academic performance for the year 2016 and 2017.

Lewin said last year, 20 schools dropped in their ranking by 60,6% regionally, while 24 dropped in their national rankings by 77,4%.

"This means there are 497 learners registered to repeat Grade 10, with only 248 learners promoted to the next grade," he said.

The Grade 10 statistics, he said, show that 11 schools out of 33 scored 50% and above; 22 schools scored below 50%; 20 schools dropped their rankings; while 10 schools improved their rankings.

"Grade 12 statistics show that last year, 18 schools dropped in their national rankings by 55%, with regional schools showing a drop of 43%," he stated.

Lewin added that Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate for Ordinary (NSSCO) level statistics show that 14 schools dropped in their national rankings, while 12 schools dropped in their regional rankings.

The official also outlined the regional challenges, saying there is a need for constructing more schools due to the high influx of learners to urban areas, as well as a pressing need for the rehabilitation of hostels.

"Additional classrooms have to be constructed at existing schools to mitigate the establishment of pre-primary classes and eliminate platoon systems, while the high absenteeism rate of teachers needs to be addressed," said Lewin.

Furthermore, a lack of a permanent national examination venue, shortages of qualified Afrikaans and German teachers, limited parental involvement, high staff turnover, lack of strong leadership at schools were a few of the challenges faced by the ministry.

Khomas education director Gerard Vries, education inspectors and a representative from the Namibia National Teachers' Union (Nantu) also attended the meeting.

By Ouma Wanzala

All Universities and tertiary institutions in the country is now be required to establish offices of career services in a new policy shift set to be unveiled Thursday in Nairobi by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

The office of career services will seek to empower students to make right career choices in 73 universities and 200 tertiary institutions across the country.

The programme rollout will start on July 1 and full establishment and operationalization of OCS in universities will take no longer than two months.

"This process will continue until all the institutions have fully established and operationalized the offices by December 31 this year.

Reports at the Ministry of Education indicate that Kenyatta University has embraced the importance of equipping their students with the required entrepreneurial skills through the Kenyatta University Manu Chandaria Incubation Centre located at the institution's main campus.

Similarly, Strathmore University and United States International University (USIU) have applied some aspect of office of career services.

The proposal to have OCS in all universities and tertiary institutions is mirrored to other prominent OCS such as Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, University of Pennsylvania and so on that have attained prominence worldwide and will look to provide individual advising and campus wide networking events to expose the students to great opportunities.

The office of career services will offer academic advise which will include; assisting students in developing educational plans consistent with their life goals, providing students with accurate information about academic progression and degree requirement, thus allowing students to properly plan their progress, assisting students in understanding academic policies and procedures and helping students access campus resources that will enhance their ability to be academically successful among others.

By Winnie Atieno and Mohamed Ahmed

School principals who leak national exams will be severely punished, the government has warned.

The Kenya National Examinations Council Wednesday said it was aware of the plans by some school heads and cautioned that they will face the wrath if found.

"Do not listen to Satan. There are some people who are collecting money hoping to get the exams. It will not happen. We are aware of those plans," said KNEC chairman George Magoha.

Prof Magoha said stringent security measures have been put in place to deal with the perpetrators and urged the teachers not to be found on the wrong side of the law.

Addressing the more than 8, 000 principals during their 43th annual meeting at Wild Waters Centre in Mombasa, Prof Magoha said it was Cabinet Secretary Interior Fred Matiang'i, who is in charge of security, "and you know what that means."

"If you think (Dr) Matiang'i left, then get to know he is in charge of security and so we shall have more security and if you make a choice that you do not want to be honoured, then that is a personal choice ND we shall not sympathise with you," said Prof Magoha.

Dr Matiang'i is known for the reforms in the education sector which he headed before he was given the Security docket.

On Wednesday, Prof Magoha assured the principals that the examination was set within the syllabus and asked them not to allow their students to get into a panic mode.

He, however, advised them not to rush into completing the syllabus as he urged them to nurture the students "and ensure they use their brains."

The heads had asked the examinations council to explain why there was mass failure in science subjects in last year's KCSE. The principals said parents, teachers, students and other education players need answers over the mass failure.

Hundreds of thousands of last year's Form Four leavers were locked out of universities and other tertiary institutions due to mass failures, especially in science subjects.

Only 70,073 out of the 611,952 candidates -- just 11.5 per cent -- attained the minimum university entry qualification of C+ mean grade.

In 2016, some 88,929 qualified. There were 142 (0.02 per cent) candidates who obtained mean grade of A in the 2017 exam compared to 141 (0.02 per cent) 2016.

"We want the government to explain why there was massive failure in KCSE (Kenya Certification of Secondary Examination) especially in Biology and Chemistry. This will enable us prepare this year's candidates and, if we as teachers are responsible, we will pull up our socks," the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) chairman Indimuli Kahi said.

The principals also want the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to employ more science and art & craft teachers citing shortage.

By Dayo Adesulu

AS universities, polytechnics and colleges of education await the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB cut-off marks for year 2018 admission, students' fate still hangs in the balance as the search for admission has just begun. Though federal universities have a minimum standard cut-off mark of 200, many of the students who want to be admitted into these universities are still waiting for JAMB's cut-off mark to commence admission.

On the other hand, the few who want to go to private universities have since started their admission processes with the commencement of interviews for interested applicants without waiting for the JAMB cut-off mark. One major reason for the delay in releasing the various cut-off marks, according to JAMB, is the re-conducted UTME for some candidates.

Release of cut-off marks

The Director of Information, JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, who spoke with Vanguard said all is now set for the release of cut-off marks on June 26 during a stakeholders' meeting. Expected at the stakeholders' meeting where decision for the cut-off marks will be taken are vice-chancellors, rectors and provosts of institutions of higher learning to mention a few.

After the release of cut-off marks, candidates are still going to confront the hurdle of departmental cut-off points. Last year, some candidates who scored 230 to 247 still were denied admission due to departmental cut-off marks which they could not meet.

Cut-off mark: Cut-off mark is that mark which candidates are expected not to score below if they want to be admitted into any tertiary institution in Nigeria in a given year. In cut-off marks, a candidate is expected to score above or get the exact mark. If a candidate meets JAMB's cut-off mark, it is never a guaranttee that he or she will gain admission into the institution of his/her choice. In recent years, cut-off marks were between 120 and 200 for universities and 100 and 160 for polytechnics and colleges of education.

Besides, candidates who meet the cut-off mark are expected to face the faculty and departmental cut-off points before they could be considered for admission. Our findings show that departments determine the cut-off every year based on the number of candidates who applied for such courses. For example, cut-off marks for medicine, law, nursing, engineering, pharmacy and mass communication vary and are generally higher than cut-off marks for other couses.

Thus, a student that performed very well in UTME but seeks a particular course in a particular university, often missed such a chance over the years. Even JAMB score of 200 doesn't guarantee you admission into the university, it only qualifies you for admission. However, you must meet the departmental cut-off mark. For instance, at the University of Calabar, UNICAL, the departmental cut-off mark for Medicine and Surgery is 291, Theatre and Media Arts is 270, Nursing and Nursing Sciences is 256, while Zoology and Statistics is 180. Those marks vary from year to year based on the number of candidates jostling for the few vacancies.

At Bayero University, Kano, all courses in the Faculty of Dentistry is 220 and Law 200. For the University of Ibadan, cut-off mark for law is 280.

However, it is important for candidates to know how institutions arrived at those cut-off marks. For UNIBEN, it uses the 50:50 method to calculate cut-off marks - 50 per cent UTME and 50 per cent Post-UTME. To calculate its aggregate score, you divide your JAMB score by 8, divide your Post-UTME score by 2, add your answer in JAMB score and your answer in post-UTME together. It will give you your aggregate score.

At Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, the departmental cut-off mark is an average point derived from JAMB, O'Level result and post-UTME screening point. It is across board for all courses/departments in the school.

Aggregate cut-off mark,

Once you meet the Departmental cut-off mark for your course, you will be given admission. Moreover, to calculate OAU's aggregate cut-off mark, OAU uses the 50:30:20 method to calculate cut-off mark i.e 50 per cent UTME, 40 per cent post-UTME and 10 per cent. If a candidate has A1 - 2 points, B2 - 1.8 points, B3 - 1.6 points, C4 - 1.4 ponts, C5 - 1.2 points and C6 - 1point.

As against the normal five credits requirement in other institutions, at OAU, candidates must have a minimum of six credits at O'level in not more than two sittings, score a minimum of 200 in UTME and meet the Departmental cut-off mark of his/her chosen course.

The process is also the same at the University of Ibadan. In order to gain admission to study any course in UI, candidates must have a minimum of six credits at O'level in not more than two sittings, score a minimum of 200 in UTME, participate in the post-UTME screening exercise conducted by the school and meet the departmental cut-off mark.

To calculate UI aggregate cut-off mark, it uses the 50:50 method - 50 per cent UTME and 50 per cent post-UTME. To calculate UI's aggregate score, divide your JAMB score by 8, divide your post-UTME score by 2, add both and it will give you your aggregate score.

A photo "bursting with flavour" that got 282 likes online earned Alexander Jovanović first prize in the Seychelles Tourism Board's (STB) Facebook photography competition.

Jovanović won the prize with his photograph which showcased a spicy, slow-cooked octopus coconut curry. His caption describes the dish as "bursting with flavour as it is spilling out of the Nautilus' shell, perched on black wild rice and mellow avocado salad over a bed of jasmine rice."

Jovanović, who said he is absolutely thrilled about winning, explained that it is a hobby of his to upload photos dishes he prepares to his Instagram account.

"After my mother mentioned the contest to me and reckoned I do decently, I agreed to give it a go. I had a few ideas and sent the final photo of the octopus coconut curry to my mum, who didn't have much criticism for it, I knew at that point I would stand a chance at winning," said Jovanović.

Commenting on the number of likes he got, Jovanović, who is currently studying in Switzerland, said that he had help from family members from Turkey, US, Sweden and Seychelles. They encouraged people to check the board's page.

"I'm sure the STB's page on Facebook got great international exposure. I'm bumping into friends asking me about Seychelles after watching all the videos STB has up and who are very keen on visiting," said Jovanović.

According to the board, the Facebook photography competition album reached 15,556 people in total.

Jovanović will get to enjoy a two-night stay for two persons on half board basis in a Junior Suite sponsored by H Resort Beau Vallon.

The photo competition, titled 'Lakwizin Kreol Seselwa', Creole for the Seychellois Creole Cuisine, was open for locals, aged 18 and above. The top three participants with the highest number of likes came out as the winners.

Launched on April 16, the deadline of the competition was extended from May 7 to May 28 to get more people to participate.

"We had 80 plus people who showed interest, around half of which submitted their registration forms. We received 48 photos in total and 29 were chosen by our internal panel to be placed in an album on our corporate Facebook page for our followers to vote for their favourite," said Jill Freminot, the board's digital marketing executive.

Fan's had 48 hours to vote for their favourite photo.

Amy Sefton got the second highest number of likes. Her photo that received 270 likes also depicted an octopus dish. Sefton also won the third prize with her second submission which raked in 208 likes.

"It is pretty cool to have won two prizes, it is very exciting. They said that you could enter twice, so I gave it a go and never expected to win with two. I was really lucky and this was a great opportunity to showcase the local food," said Sefton.

The hobbyist photographer won two night's stay for two on bed and breakfast basis in a Superior Room at Le Meridien Fisherman's Cove and a one-night stay for two persons on bed and breakfast basis at Carana Beach Hotel.

The photography competition is an annual contest. This year, the board introduced a fourth winner - the Judge's Choice Award, referred to as the most outstanding photograph.

"We wanted to introduce the Judge's Choice Award as we wanted to give a fair chance and objective evaluation of all photos that met our entry criteria. We assessed the entries through technical aspects of photography such as exposure, focus, the rule of thirds, framing among others," said Freminot.

The panel chose Marvis Confait's photograph of a tuna steak with tomato and onion dressing with smoked fish, papaya chutney and Octopus coconut curry served with rice. Confait won dinner for two at the Marlin Bleu Restaurant at Eden Bleu Hotel.

The aim of the competition was building the database of images of the Seychelles Tourism Board, to be used in marketing campaigns around the world.

All photos submitted are now the property of the board and will be featured in the board's image library and website as well as used by its offices around the world. Photographers will be credited accordingly.

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie

Abuja — The 61st meeting of United Nations World Tourism Organisation - Commission for Africa (UNWTO-CAF), has concluded in Abuja, with the organsers and other players in Nigeria's tourism sector listing benefits and lessons drawn from the event.

The three-day meeting, which held between June 4 and 6, no doubt, afforded Nigeria opportunity, not only to tell its story beyond extreme violence and terrorism, but also to showcase its vast cultural potentials.

It was an opportunity for the country to market its rich cultural heritage to the world.

Over the years, stakeholders in the culture-tourism sector have pointed out that Nigeria's vast and rich cultural heritage should be strategically repositioned to partner tourism as its driver to lift the Nigerian economy.

They note that tourism cannot effectively flourish without the cultural components.

They also say that the desire to position culture and tourism as the lever of Nigeria's economic growth and development, however, rests with the Ministry of Information and Culture, as it must plan to mainstream both sectors into a monolithic entity to galvanise national economic development.

Although, delegates were not privileged to visit some of the numerous sites that defined Nigeria's cultural landscape, there were, however, cultural products, exhibitions, dances and cuisines on display that could attract visitors to the country.

According to the President, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), Alhaji Rabo Salem Kareem, the forum was a good opportunity to showcase Nigeria as a leader in African culture.

To him, Nigeria's rich cultural heritage remains its greatest asset and attraction. "It was an opportunity to showcase Nigeria as a leader in African culture."

He added: "The meeting was an opportunity, not only for image laundering for the country, but also to showcase our rich and diverse culture to the world.

"Our rich cultural heritage is our main asset and attraction, and the performances during the event portrayed Nigeria as a country with robust culture.

"Also, the earlier impression that the entire country was ravaged by insurgency had been addressed.

"People now know that Nigeria is safe for business and leisure. The meeting was a good public relations strategy to see how the country can reposition the sector for greater benefits.

With 26 ministers of Culture and Tourism and 180 foreign delegates from across the world in attendance, the forum, according to the Minister for Information and Culture, organisers of the event, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was a veritable platform to reposition Nigeria as a destination of choice.

Other dignitaries in attendance include, the Secretary General UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Aman Abou-Zeid, organised private sector in culture and tourism, culture and tourism institutions as well as policy makers.

Nigeria secured the right to host the global tourism body at the CAF meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2017, and since then, the Ministry of Information and Culture had worked towards a successful outing.

But beyond a successful hosting, the minister was elated that the resources and efforts spent on the event was not a waste. According to him, there was no better platform to sell Nigeria's huge tourism potentials to the world than the forum.

Nigeria was also able to prove to the world that it is still safe for business and leisure in spite of the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen in some parts of the country.

In one of the meetings with the media, the minister disclosed that he and his team have benefited immensely by listening to experts on tourism development.

According to him, it was encouraging to hear that Nigeria was on the right part towards tourism development.

For the private sector players, one of the benefits of the meeting was image laundering for the country.

Earlier at the opening ceremony, which was attended by top government functionaries, Nigerian government highlighted some of the efforts already put in place to ensure a functional tourism sector.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, President Muhammadu Buhari told his visitors that his government has invested over $9 billion in power, roads and railway, which were necessary infrastructure for tourism development.

According to him, his administration has also provided attractive investment incentives for investors in the sector, such as minimum tariff on imported tourism equipment, amusement park equipment and materials for hotel construction and furnishing.

Others are dedicated transportation for tour operators and equipment for restaurants not manufactured in Nigeria, work permit for foreign workers with specialised skills within the industry as well as land allocation at concessionary rates by state governments to investors.

Mr. President added that his administration, having identified tourism as one of the pillars of its diversification policy, had equally invested in human resources and necessary infrastructure to position Nigeria as a choice destination for tourists.

His words: "In our efforts at diversifying the economy through agriculture, solid minerals development and tourism, we are investing heavily in infrastructure."

He further commended the leadership of UNWTO, the Commission for Africa (CAF) as well as tourism ministers from all over Africa, for considering Nigeria worthy of hosting this event.

For the Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, the meeting, among other benefits, provided the country an excellent opportunity to discuss ways of promoting intra-Africa travels and tourism.

The UNTWO scribe, Zurab Pololikashvili was generally impressed with the organisation.

Describing the meeting as one of the most successful CAF meetings he attended since he took over from his predecessor, he, however, noted that a strong political will was required to bring promises of tourism to reality.

While commending Nigerian government for its hospitality, which he said, began on the eve of the opening ceremony, Pololikashvili noted that the meeting was the best avenue to showcase Nigeria's culture and tourism to the entire continent.

He however expressed the crucial role of the media in the tourism development of any nation.

He also pledged to deliver on the newly adopted 10-Point Agenda for the development of tourism in Africa.

The agenda is a coordinated approach aimed at highlighting the continent's potentials for tourism. These include connectivity, promotion of image and brand Africa, poverty alleviation, security, climate change, education, financing and skills development

"My mandate is four years and I will try within the period to achieve these. We have priorities and we have four to six months to make concrete plans. We need opportunities to create new jobs."

For Abou-Zeid, statistic was the way to go if the interest of government and policy makers was to be drawn to the sector.

According to her, tourism industry stood at $160billion, accounting for 60 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa.

She said: "Tourism alone receives contributions from manufacturing and banking sectors and employs over 20 million people.

"Our priority on the continent is to optimise the role of tourism in Africa based on the aspiration of the agenda 2063.

"It is fully recognised that tourism is an engine for inclusive growth and sustainable economic development within the continent. We are all aware of the value of the tourism industry in Africa. The value of the industry now stands at $160billion accounting for 60 per cent of the GDP in our continent."

Adding: Tourism alone receives the contribution from manufacturing and banking sectors. This industry accounts for more than six per cent of the total investments valued at $29billion and employs over 20 million people accounting for over six per cent of the total workforce in the continent.

"Tourism in the continent supports more than 21 million jobs or one in every 14 jobs. This is how important tourism is," Abou-Zeid stated.

Although five per cent growth was projected for the current year, she was optimistic that the industry will grow beyond the forecast figure.

She therefore admonished continental government to address the growing security concern and other militating factors against tourism growth.

"Addressing safety and security concerns and swift response to prices by our African government and institution are paramount to the growth of tourism.

"Promoting strategies and improving African image in the global media platforms are also critical in ensuring tourism recovery

"During the next decade, we will continue to grow and in growing, we know that when tourism thrives, women thrive.

"In Africa, more than 30 per cent of tourism businesses are run by women. And 36 per cent of its tourism ministers are women which is the highest in the world."

She went further to suggest firm links between tourism and other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture, infrastructure, ecotourism and the medicals as a way to foster economic diversification.

Above all, she called for peace in the continent, stressing that every peace move would be supporting African Union's initiative to silence the guns by 2020.

The meeting culminated in the visit to Eko Atlantic City in Lagos State. There was no doubt about the fact that it was an impressive outing both for Nigerian government and the visitors, who are likely to relish the memory for a long while.

It was also believed that having listened to experts dolled out statistics on the benefits of the sector, Nigerian government will subsequently treat culture and tourism issues, particularity, yearly budget and commitment, with the seriousness they require.

The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the development of global tourism.

It comprises 158 members; six associate members and over 500 affiliate members that represent the private sector operators in culture, tourism and educational institutions.

By The Citizen Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dodoma — The government has secured an investor for the Mikumi Lodge in the famous Mikumi National Park, raising hope of an increase in the number of accommodation facilities for tourists in the area.

"The government has secured the investor who will revive Mikumi Lodge. The renovation work is currently underway... .we hope the task will be completed by November 2019," the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Josephat Hasunga told the Parliament on Tuesday.

He was responding to a question from Dr Jasmine Bunga (Special Seats) who said the Mikumi National Park was losing a lot of revenues from tourism activities due to the absence of enough accommodation facilities in the area.

In his response, Mr Hasunga said currently, tourists visiting Mikumi National Park were being accommodated in three tented camps, a lodge and ten hotels located at Mikumi Town.

He said his ministry, through Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) has set aside seven locations that are fit for investment purposes within Mikumi National Park where investors are invited to build world class accommodation facilities that will attract more and more tourists to the area.

He said under a special project that is known as Resilient Natural Resource for Tourism and Growth (Regrow), the country will see a lot of improvements of its tourism sector in the southern regions.

Regrow was launched in February this year.

By Ndanki Kahiurika

The Namibia Tourism Board currently has two heads of finance on its payroll.

The tourism entity ended up with two heads of finance after former employee Ndapewa Kankondi sued the company for unfair dismissal, and won her case.

Kankondi worked at the NTB from April 2002, and was the entity's finance manager until she was dismissed on 31 March 2015 due to alleged insubordination and abuse of subsistence and travel allowances.

However, through her lawyer, Mbushandje Ntinda, Kankondi challenged her dismissal, and labour arbitrator Philip Mwandingi ruled in May that she should be reinstated, and paid compensation of N$1,9 million. She was to start work on 1 June 2018.

The NTB appealed against the arbitration award late in May through their lawyer Richard Mueller, asking for the reinstatement to be stalled.

This, however, failed when acting judge Collins Parker ruled in favour of Kankondi. Despite this, the NTB is still looking for other ways in which they can get the judge's decision reversed.

However, exactly 11 days after Parker's ruling, NTB chief executive officer Digu //Naobeb issued a staff communique dated 11 June, announcing the appointment of new head of finance and ICT projects, Freddie Scholtz.

"I am pleased to share with you the appointment of Mr Freddie Scholtz to serve as the head of finance and ICT projects for two years on a fixed-term employment contract as of 11 June 2018. Please join me in welcoming Mr Scholtz, and give him the required full support and cooperation," said //Naobeb.

NTB board chairperson Paul Brinkmann said the institution had followed a fair process in terminating Kankondi's services.

"It was, therefore, incumbent on the institution to ensure that it had the necessary personnel to achieve its goals, and after Ms Kankondi's services were terminated, it would have been negligent for the institution not to have someone in charge of financial reporting.

This is just responsible management," he stated. Brinkmann added that they are waiting for legal advice on the chances of success of their appeal, based both on the procedure and the merits, and whether an appeal should in fact be filed.

"Once there is progress, the CEO and management will advise the board accordingly, and where necessary request either approval or recommendations," he said.

Kankondi had allegedly not been warmly welcomed at her office on her return, and was at one point sent home for three days.

Her lawyer, Ntinda, told The Namibian yesterday that he is aware that a new head of finance has been appointed in the position her client was to be serving in.

"I do not know what is going on there. There was no communication, and I think they just want to frustrate her, " he said, adding that he will be consulting his client tomorrow.

By Kalume Kazungu

The Lamu County government has announced plans to build a cultural centre at a cost of Sh6 million this year.

County Executive for Tourism, Trade and Industrialisation Dismas Mwasambu confirmed that the centre, which will be built at Mokowe, will be used to promote the cultures of the various communities living in Lamu.

Addressing journalists in Lamu on Wednesday, Mr Mwasambu said the centre will also be used as an attraction site for tourists visiting the region.

He said the idea to construct the cultural centre is part of the county government's plan to revive the tourism industry which has suffered over the past five years following the Mpeketoni terror attack in June 2014.

UNIFYING FACTOR

Mr Mwasambu said the centre will also act as a unifying factor for the various communities living in Lamu.

He said his office is working closely with the Lamu Museums and the Lamu Tourism Association to will design and develop the centre.

"We have set aside Sh6 million for the establishment of the cultural centre at Mokowe. We are in discussions with the Lamu Museums and LTA on how to develop the centre for the benefit of the Lamu people. The centre will bring national cohesion among tribes and also act as a tourist attraction site," said Mr Mwasambu.

COMMUNICATION CENTRE

He said plans are also underway to develop a special communication centre that seeks to help tourists navigate their way around the region.

According to Mwasambu, the centre is being set up in Manda Island.

It will help to document details of all tourists visiting Lamu and keep the tourist sector in check.

"The communication centre will also help tourists quickly acquaint themselves with the region for ease of movement whenever they visit. The centre will also offer details and directions to various tourist attraction sites in the county in order to make the stay of any visitor more memorable and easier," he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday signed the N9.12 trillion 2018 Appropriation Bill into law, and lamented that it would be difficult to implement because the budget figures have been tampered with by the National Assembly.

The President accused the National Assembly of cutting N347 billion from 4,700 critical projects and injecting 403 unnecessary projects at the cost of N578 billion, stressing that the proposals introduced by the lawmakers were neither properly conceptualized, designed nor costed.

President Buhari noted that the projects were supposed to be carried out by states and local government areas.

The President, who did not hide his reservation on how the budget was handled by the National Assembly, said he was compelled to sign the budget in the interest of Nigerians and in order not to shut down the recovery of the economy which has been affected by the delay in passing the budget.

However, the leadership of the National Assembly claimed that the power of appropriation belongs to it and that what its members did with the budget was to ensure that all the six geo-political zones of the country were evenly treated.

However, the President indicated his intention to send to the National Assembly a supplementary budget to cover the projects cut off which, according to him, are very important to the government.

He lamented that while the National Assembly cut some of the critical projects and smuggled in some personal projects, the lawmakers also went ahead to increase its budget with N14.5 billion from the initial N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any discussion with the Executive.

We'll work for Jan-Dec budget cycle -- Buhari

The President said: "I would like to thank the leadership of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as all the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, for passing the 2018 Appropriation Bill, after seven months.

"When I submitted the 2018 Budget proposals to the National Assembly on November 7, 2017, I had hoped that the usual legislative review process would be quick, so as to move Nigeria towards a predictable January-December financial year. The importance of this predictability cannot be over-emphasized.

"While the Federal Government's budget represents less than 10% of aggregate yearly expenditures in the economy, it has a very significant accelerator effect on the financial plans of other tiers of government, and even more importantly, the private sector, which mostly operates on a January-December financial year.

"Notwithstanding the delay this year, I am determined to continue to work with the National Assembly towards improving the budgeting process and restoring our country to the January-December fiscal cycle.

"I note, with pleasure, that the National Assembly is working on the enactment of an Organic Budget Law, so as to improve the efficiency of the nation's budgetary process.

"As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2018 Appropriation Bill, we intend to use the 2018 Budget to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, 2017-2020.

Worry over budget cuts

"It is in this regard that I am concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the budget proposals that I presented. The logic behind the Constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that, it is the Executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.

"Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.

"Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.

"Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

"As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the states and local governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened."

According to the President, some of the projects which budgetary allocations were cut include some nationally/regionally strategic infrastructure projects such as counterpart funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project, cut by an aggregate of N11.5 billion.

He was also not happy with the slashing of N7.5 billion from the budget of some ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the FCT, Abuja, especially major arterial roads and the mass transit rail project.

He said the budgetary allocation for the provision of rehabilitation and additional security measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja, was cut from N4 billion to N100 million, noting that this will make it impossible for the Federal Government to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on the project.

He further stated that the provisions for various strategic interventions in the health sector such as the upgrade of some tertiary health institutions, transport and storage of vaccines through the cold chain supply system, provision of anti-retroviral drugs for persons on treatment, establishment of chemotherapy centres and procurement of dialysis consumables were cut by an aggregate amount of N7.45 billion.

Also tampered by the National Assembly was the provision for security infrastructure in the 104 Unity Schools across the country where N3 billion was removed.

President Buhari said it was unfortunate that such was done at a time when securing students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern of government.

Other areas he frowned on the deductions of budgetary allocation include the provision for the Federal Government's National Housing Programme where N8.7 billion was removed.

He said that at a time when government was working with Labour to address compensation-related issues, a total of N5 billion was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.

Besides, he said N14.5 billion was cut from the budget for the provisions for Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and Special Economic Zones/Industrial Parks, which he said were key industrialization initiatives of the administration.

According to him, "The provision for Construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport was cut from N2 billion to N500 million which will further delay the completion of this critical project.

"The Take-off Grant for the Maritime University in Delta State, a key strategic initiative of the Federal Government, was cut from N5 billion to N3.4 billion.

"About 70 new road projects have been inserted into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. In doing so, the National Assembly applied some of the additional funds expected from the upward review of the oil price benchmark to the Ministry's vote.

"Regrettably, however, in order to make provision for some of the new roads, the amounts allocated to some strategic major roads have been cut by the National Assembly.

"Another area of concern is the increase by the National Assembly of the provisions for Statutory Transfers by an aggregate of N73.96 billion. Most of these increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time we are trying to keep down the cost of governance.

NASS jerks own budget with N14.5bn

"An example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself which has increased by N14.5 billion, from N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any discussion with the Executive.

"Notwithstanding the above stated observations, I have decided to sign the 2018 Budget in order not to further slow down the pace of recovery of our economy, which has doubtlessly been affected by the delay in passing the budget.

Supplementary budget coming

"However, it is my intention to seek to remedy some of the most critical of these issues through a supplementary and/or amendment budget which I hope the National Assembly will be able to expeditiously consider.

"I am pleased with the success recorded in the implementation of the 2017 budget. A total sum of N1.5 trillion has been released for the implementation of capital projects during the 2017 fiscal year. In response to this and other policy measures implemented, we have observed significant improvement in the performance of the Nigerian economy.

"To achieve the laudable objectives of the 2018 Budget, we will work very hard to generate the revenues required to finance our projects and programmes. The positive global oil market outlook, as well as continuing improvement in non-oil revenues, make us optimistic about our ability to finance the budget.

"However, being a deficit budget, the Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly shortly. I crave the indulgence of the National Assembly for a speedy consideration and approval of the Plan."

He said the signed 2018 Budget provides for aggregate expenditures of N9.12 trillion, which was 22.6 per cent higher than the 2017 Appropriation and that further details of the approved budget will be provided by the Minister of Budget and National Planning.

We balanced the budget among six geo-political zones -N'Allah

But the representative of the Senate President and Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, Bala Ibn Na'Allah said the adjustment made in the budget was in the interest of the people that elected them and to represent equal geopolitical spread.

He said: "The job of parliamentarian is a very difficult one. The way the budget came, if we had allowed it to go that way, we would have been in trouble with those who elected us. You have to balance between the six geo political zones.

"It is the balancing efforts by the National Assembly that led to those observations and happily enough, he himself (the President) has said he is coming with a supplementary budget which will be dealt with as quickly as possible. I assure you about that one."

On the issue of delay in passing of the budget, he held the executive arm of government responsible for it.

"About the issue of delay, the President is right, but at the same time, if you remember, you were here, the President had to order some MDAs to appear before the Assembly for the purpose of defending their budgets.

"It's a very delicate issue, if somebody said he wants N500 million for the maintenance of bridges nationwide, then you expect the National Assembly to say okay, that budget is approved because it came from the executive, then we have not done our work, we will be interested in knowing which of the roads are you going to maintain so that again, we don't give another allocation in the next budget. Those observations are correct but in the budgeting process those things are normal," N'Allah said.

Speaking in the same vein, representative of speaker of the House of Representatives and Chief Majority Whip, Ado Doguwa, said: "I think some of these major concerns Mr President has raised are very critical and I am afraid if I should be in a position to respond on behalf of the House.

"But for me as an individual and a member of the House of Representatives, I want to believe that the President is at liberty to raise some of these observations. But the most important thing you have to know is that the budget has been signed and is now a law of the federation and we expect the executive to now implement the law to the letter.

"Should the President however, bring about an amendment or a supplementary budget for the National Assembly to consider, we will also at the same time be at liberty to look at the President's concerns and those things he wants us to now review and I want to believe the National Assembly is always in a position to work hand in hand with Mr President.

"Certainly you wouldn't expect us to just rubber-stamp and just bring it back. We have to do the nitty-gritty of budget consideration. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well and we have done what we think is the right thing to do to deliver on the expectations and the mandate bestowed on us by the people of our constituencies. Those observations are correct but in the budgeting process those things are normal.

We appreciate Buhari's concerns, but... .-- REPS

Supporting the speaker's position, the House of Representatives in a statement signed by the spokesperson, Abdulrazaq Namdas, last night, said: "The House of Representatives is appreciative of President Muhammadu Buhari in signing the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law and wish to make the following observations:

"That the budget is usually a proposal by the Executive to the National Assembly, which the latter is given the constitutional power of appropriation to alter, make additions, costs or reduce as it may deem necessary.

"The Legislature is not expected to be a rubber-stamp by simply approving the Executive proposals and returning the budget to Mr. President. Therefore, the additions Mr. President complained of in his speech are justifiable.

"We are on the same page with Mr. President in his desire to return our budget cycle to January-December. By the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, the budget estimates should be with the National Assembly around September of the year.

"In the case of the 2018 budget, the estimates came behind schedule in November 2017, even though this attempt was seen as one of the earliest in recent years. Going forward, we urge the Executive to speed up the reporting time to the National Assembly by complying fully with the FRA.

"Besides, there were delays that should be blamed on the heads of MDAs. Mr. President will recall that he had to direct ministers and heads of agencies to go to the National Assembly to defend their proposals.

"This came after the National Assembly had persistently raised the alarm over the non-cooperative attitudes of these government officials. On this grounds, the delay in passing the budget cannot be blamed on the legislature.

"New projects in budget. On this aspect, we have to remind Mr. President that we are representatives of our people and wish to state that even the common man deserves a mention in the budget by including projects that will directly affect his life positively. Some of the projects designed by the executive, as high-sounding as their names suggest, do not meet the needs of the common man.

"National Assembly budget. Before 2015, the budget of the National Assembly was N150billion for several years. It was cut down to N120bn in 2015 and further down to N115bn in 2016. In 2017, the budget was N125bn and N139.5bn in 2018. This means that the budget of the National Assembly is still far below the N150bn in the years before 2015.

"While we commend Mr. President for a good working relationship, we also wish to state that we have a job to do, which requires adequate funding as well. The additional costs and projects to the budget were done in good faith for the sole purpose of improving the lives of Nigerians.

"Finally, we welcome the proposal by Mr. President to forward a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to address other areas of pressing demands and commend the President and the entire executive arm for a cordial working relationship."

What Presidency is vexed about in budget

Vanguard gathered last night that some of the projects the President complained about as being responsibility of state and local governments include supply of industrial sewing machines, building of fish feed mills in some locations, supply of tricycles and motorcycles for youths and women in some communities for empowerment.

Others are supply of Volkswagen Golf cars for youth empowerment, purchase of grinding machines for women and youths and provision of boreholes in some rural communities, which have little or nothing to do with federal budget.

Other items introduced into the budget by the lawmakers, Vanguard gathered, are training and empowerment of non-violent ex-agitators, which is currently being handled by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, purchase and distribution of drilling hand pumps in some local communities, provision of medical services outreach for aged, displaced persons and supply of generators, sewing machines and clippers for youth empowerment.

Others are purchase and supply of utility vehicles for Ideato Youths, provision of complete set of grinding machines, construction and installation of solar street lights in some rural communities, erosion control works in some rural communities, training of youths and women in fishery, piggery and feeds farming in some rural communities, construction of cassava, rice, soya bean processing mills in some rural communities, youth and women empowerment in agriculture in some rural communities.

Also included in the budget by the lawmakers are provision of access roads in some rural communities, building of culverts and drainages across some rural roads, upgrading of pathways and driveways in some unnamed housing estates, provision of entrepreneurship training for some youths in some unnamed rural areas, training of artisans as youth empowerment, supply of transformers for some rural communities among others.

interview By Laura Angela Bagnetto

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, author of "House of Stone", a Zimbabwean epic novel Kwela Books

In Novuyo Rosa Tshuma's debut novel, House of Stone, readers are regaled with a story of the Mlambo family, as told by Zamani, their lodger and a master manipulator. In his quest to re-write his own personal history, he delves into the lives of 'surrogate parents' Abednego and Mama Agnes, and unravels their family secrets that are seemingly tightly wound amidst the backdrop of the post-liberation massacre in Ndebeleland, the Gukurahundi. Zimbabwean author Tshuma speaks to RFI's Africa: Stories in the 55, about the impact writing this book has had on her, and how the characters reflect the spirit of Zimbabwe.

Tshuma says that the novel came from a desire to examine first-hand accounts of the violence, the disappearances and the deaths in Ndebeleland in western and southwestern Zimbabwe during the early 1980s.

"We speak about the Liberation War all the time. But when it comes to the genocide, it is always a matter of shutting it down," she says, adding that by not addressing the psychological, social and communal issues, by not acknowledging people have died, healing cannot begin.

House of Stone unwinds tightly held secrets, touching on the role that Black Jesus, a fictionalized version of Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe's current agricultural minister, played during the Gukurahundi. Ultimately, can history be rewritten? Can personal history be rewritten? Tshuma examines this and more, as she presents Zimbabwe's past that some find hard to remember.

In a bid to promote academic standards in rural communities in the country, Vivo Energy Ghana, sole distributor and marketer of Shell branded products and lubricants, has resourced the New Takoradi Community Library with about 1000 books.

The books which included a collection of storybooks and literature materials was to boost academic standards within the fishing community and its environs under the company's "Energy for Education Project."

The Corporate Communications Manager of the Company, Mrs. Shirley Tony Kum reading a speech on behalf of the Managing Director expressed worry over the non-availability of children's books in the sector given the important role education played in the development of the country.

"In our part of the world, children's books are not always available and this can sometimes rob children of an enriching education during their childhood especially when most libraries are not filled with good story books which will stimulate and develop their imagination," she stated.

Mrs. Kum charged the community to ensure the books were well-maintained for the benefit of future generations urging school children to "continue to read and study for higher academic success."

The Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Director of Education, Mrs. Elizabeth Akuako described education as "the light that illuminates the world and without it, people would be living in darkness."

She expressed gratitude to Vivo Energy Ghana for resourcing the library which had been left unstocked after its construction.

The Director pleaded with patrons of the facility to take good care of the books and read wide to broaden their knowledge.

The Chief of New Takoradi, Nana Abaka I, entreated parents to desist from the practice of burdening their children with domestic activities at the expense of their education.

He urged them to devote time to allow their children patronize the library to enhance their education.

By Tanaka Chidora

I grew up in the village with my parents and my siblings (Sue, Josy, Anne and, later towards the 2000s, Tawa). My parents, God bless them, trusted my work ethic so much that they practically left the choice of what to read, and when to read, to me.

I don't remember them tyrannically dictating the homework first and TV later rule to me that I see many young boys and girls enduring today. Of course, you might want to say TVs were not a common phenomenon in the village in those days. So find anything to use instead of TV. Mahwani Touch if you want.

Our parents practised a laissez-faire approach to education: I had to decide what I loved, and they had to provide the means (sometimes laboriously). Lots of times, I had to join them, either as father's dhakaboy (a colloquial term for someone who mixes mortar for the builder), or as mother's runner at the township market. During the cropping season, after helping in the fields, I had to look after our small herd of cattle. With such a busy schedule, novels still managed to find me.

By the time I completed my seventh grade at Mutya Primary School, I had already breezed my way through every popular Shona novel one could think of. My reading of these novels was necessitated by two things. First, Josy loved to unceremoniously insert long paragraphs of any Shona novel she would be reading at any given time into an everyday conversation. Imagine, you are having a conversation about invading Mbuya VaRusekeni's mango orchard, and Josy rattles up something from "Kutonhodzwa KwaChauruka" for effect.

Only a perfect WhatsApp emoji can capture the confusion on our faces. So I took to reading every Shona novel that came my way. Some came as complete packages; others came with a couple of missing limbs, but the good thing about Shona novels of that time was that like Nigerian movies, getting into the story 25 pages later was no serious setback. The second reason was my late cousin, Innocent (may his soul rest in peace).

This naughty fellow had a bookphobia of unimaginable proportions. So he would bring his Shona set books home and during bedtime, instruct me to read for him, a chapter per night. Of course, a couple of paragraphs later, he would be snoring loudly so that anyone who dared to listen from the outside would think that I was performing some incantations to the demonic approval of some dark force.

After sensing an invasion of her turf, Josy later migrated to English novels. However, I suspect that her affair with English novels was not a deep one because instead of citing whole paragraphs like what she used to do with the Shona novels, this time she confined herself to sudden citations of novel titles and their authors. For instance, during a game of bakery (I think that's the spelling; no one bothered to spell the names of games because games were meant to be played), she, from nowhere, announced, "Silent Journey from the East". So I migrated as well, but unlike Josy, I actually wanted to read the contents of these novels.

Form 1 of course started with the usual: "Mpho's Search" or "Oliver Twist". Then came Holly Meyers from the United States. She practically upgraded our Rukovo Secondary School library and introduced a reading culture by making sure that every Form 1 pupil had a reading card.

In the library, I stumbled upon the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series and loved them. I think I read 66 Hardy Boys novels and around 54 Nancy Drews. I usually worked at a rate of two novels per day. Even my English compositions became action-packed, reflecting the influence of America on a young village boy of my calibre.

Then my uncle, Uncle Tich, came to the village from boarding school. Uncle Tich represented what the village was not. He listened to foreign musicians, and usually whistled "From the Distance" when absent-minded. There was something foreign and fresh about him that made me want to be his friend.

He also brought Dambudzo Marechera (in books and in appearance), Mario Puzo, Robert Ludlum, Wilbur Smith, Jack Higgins, Frederick Forsythe, Eric van Lustbader, Sidney Sheldon, Ken Folliet, Louis L'Amour, James Hadley Chase and many other popular writers.

But the one who really invaded Uncle Tich's life was Marechera. Besides the unlimited collection of expletives that Uncle Tich used when angry or happy, he also began to exhibit behavioural traits that Marechera was famed for. For me, that was what set Uncle Tich apart. It drew me close to him and I became his disciple, reading his books and imitating his English.

By the time I reached Form 4, I had read "The House of Hunger", "Scrapiron Blues" and "Cemetery of Mind" and many other trend-setting Zimbabwean works. I had also read "The Great Gatsby" and many other literary works including "War and Peace".

I was the first, and I am sure the last, to borrow it from the school library. I still remember how I walked up and down the corridors with the book pressed to my chest. "War and Peace" is a voluminous affair and a Form 2 pupil must really be Marecherean to walk around with it.

Uncle Tich had a typewriter. He wrote his stories using that typewriter. I borrowed it from him to write my first story, "The Mountain". I do not remember how I lost it, but I am sure it was when I came to Harare. Uncle Tich has lost his stories too. He has also lost the Marecherean disposition that made him a rebel of sorts. Now he is all reserved and "normal" but the linguistic dexterity is still there.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent him a poem titled "Time": "She led me to the house at the end of the street, and left her caresses on my face." He added two lines about "dark voyeurs" peeping at us from the thick but perforated blanket of darkness, and I knew I still had my favourite uncle around.

Now I teach literature at the university. I have all these books in my head, but every time I rattle off some titles like Josy, I am met by blank faces. I don't know if the generation of learners we have now is different from ours, but the truth is that they no longer read these books like we used to.

By Daud Olatunji

Abeokuta — THE Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo has lamented the decline in the reading culture among the youths in the country.

Oba Gbadebo stated this while hosting a young author, Ikimot Azeez, in his palace after the launch of her two books.

The monarch, who attributed the decline in reading culture of the country as one major factor affecting the standard of education, urged youths to take reading culture seriously.

The author spoke shortly after launching her two books in Abeokuta.

Azeez, a lecturer at Tai Solarin University of Education, TASUED, said there is decay in book reading, adding that Students are becoming lazy in reading and assimilating.

She said "Honestly, the decline in the reading culture of the country is affecting the standard of education and it is not good at all for us. Most students don't read again."

By David Onsiong

The Prix de Poésie Edouard Maunick is back for its 2018-2019 and second edition. This year's theme is 'Cyclone'.

At a press conference on Thursday 7 June, Rama Poonoosamy, director of Immedia which is organising this poetry competition, revealed that "it's during a lunch with Edouard Maunick in France that we chose this theme. The word 'cyclone' is vast and can be linked to meteorology, as well as social and political situations". Marie Maunick, sister of Edouard Maunick, remarked that her brother "has always been a 'cyclonic' poet; he's never been afraid of voicing his opinions".

The competition is open to Mauritians of all ages living in Mauritius or abroad. Participants are welcome to enter as many poems - in English, French or Mauritian Creole - as they wish, provided they are all original. Poems should be signed using a pseudonym; the author's actual name, contact details and pseudonym ought to be included in a separate envelope accompanying each entry. Entries should reach Immedia at Poonoosamy Building, St. Georges Street, Port Louis in sealed envelopes with the mention "Prix de Poésie Edouard Maunick" by 14 December 2018.

The jury will consist of Shenaz Patel and Kavinien Karupudayyan, with writer Ananda Devi acting as chair. The laureate will be announced at a ceremony in mid-2019. The best poet will be awarded a Rs60,000 cash prize.

For its 2016-2017 edition, the Prix de Poésie Edouard Maunick jointly rewarded Gillian Geneviève, for his Port Louis, ce qui demeure, and Helena Lutchman, for her Englishlanguage Louise Baby. Threehundred-and-twenty-nine poems were submitted for the first edition. Plans are in the pipeline to publish, after the third edition, a poem book featuring awarded poems and those having received a distinction of the jury.

By Henry Munene

US-based Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o's latest book is about to roll off the press, East African Educational Publishers, his Nairobi publisher, has said.

The book, Kenda Muiyuru: Rugano rwa Gikuyu na Mumbi, will be published in the original Gikuyu, in keeping with Ngugi's decision to write all his fiction in his mother tongue.

Since he wrote Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986) and Moving the Centre (1993), Ngugi has said that writing in foreign languages is a sign of colonial servitude.

In an exclusive online interview with this writer last Friday, Ngugi said his new book is a rallying call for Africans to celebrate their cultural heritage.

"I'm excited about the possible release of my Gikuyu language epic, Kenda Muiyuru. I would like to encourage Kenyan writers to create epics based on the stories of their communal origins, like Homer did for the Greeks and Virgil for the Romans," Ngugi said from California.

According to East African Educational Publishers CEO Kiarie Kamau, Ngugi's new book will not be immediately translated into English as was the case with the author's latest published novel, Murogi wa Kagoogo, which was written in Gikuyu and the English edition, Wizard of the Crow, released almost immediately after.

"Initially, it will be published by EAEP only, with the option to sell rights to other publishers that we collaborate with in the US, UK, Australia and other parts of the world," said Mr Kamau.

Pressed to give the exact publication date, he said: "Certainly in the next 90 days.

"I do not want to reveal too much, but all I can say is that it's perhaps one of the most experimental creative works that Ngugi has written," Mr Kamau added.

Kenda Muiyuru (a full nine) is often mentioned in reference to the daughters of Gikuyu and Mumbi, the mythical first family that is believed to have given rise to the Gikuyu community.

Ngugi was for the third time tipped by bookmakers to win this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, but the prize was suspended after sex scandal allegations rocked the Swedish academy.

By Gbenga Salau

Wife of Lagos State governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, and deputy governor of the state, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, yesterday pleaded with women to pay attention to their health and speak out against social vices, like domestic violence, child abuse and rape.

They spoke in Lagos at an event organised by the First Lady to address issues about women's health and recurring social vices in the society.

Mrs. Ambode, who observed that good health was a prerequisite for everything in life, including children, family, and business, stressed that without good health, nothing meaningful could be achieved.

Condemning the prevalence of social nuisance in the society, she implored women to boldly voice out their discontent against domestic violence, child abuse, rape and teenage pregnancy.

Describing any form of violence against women as barbaric and unacceptable, she urged women to seek to know their rights under the law, shun silence, and be vocal on their own cause.

Also speaking, the deputy governor stated that the forum provided a platform where women could engage in sustainable discourse to increase their knowledge and enhance their awareness on health and well-being.

Adebule said it was unfortunate that 23 years after countries signed pledges in the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, women still face many health-cum-social problems, saying that there was need for recommitment to address them.

She, however, appealed to all women to join hands with the government in winning the battle against dogmas inimical to healthy lifestyle and social malaise of domestic violence, child abuse, rape and teenage pregnancy.

A young woman convicted of decapitating and dismembering an elderly woman, who had tried to help treat her injured foot, showed signs of psychopathy, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Sheree Prince, who was 18 when she burgled the home of Sandra Malcolm, 74, appeared unemotional as clinical psychologist Willie Hanekom testified during sentencing proceedings.

During her assessment sessions, Prince, now 21, reported that she had thoughts of killing someone since a young age, Hanekom testified.

"The risk for violent reoffending should be regarded as high in this case. The accused needs to be incarcerated... . [and] intensive psychotherapy is required."

Hanekom explained that Prince's case was "extremely rare" and no comparable cases in terms of the dismemberment could be found.

"She wanted to get rid of the body but there were 24 deep stab wounds reported, indicating some rage and 'overkill' by dismembering - there are indications that the victim was alive when she decapitated her.

"Apart from the fact that it is rare for a female and especially an 18-year-old to dismember, it is also rare to dismember a stranger."

Prince, who spent most of Hanekom's testimony looking at the floor in the dock, showed no remorse for what she had done, the psychologist said.

The accused had indicated she wanted the murdered woman's house, Hanekom testified.

"She said [Malcolm] had had her life. She was old."

Prince pleaded guilty to murdering Malcolm in her Capri Mews, Lakeside home on April 18, 2015.

In her plea explanation, it emerged that she had travelled to the city from Citrusdal, where she had lived with her mother. They ostensibly had a strained relationship.

She was dropped off in Mitchells Plain and spent the night at a stranger's house. The next day, he took her back to the traffic lights in Rocklands, where he had picked her up.

Prince claimed to have walked to a nearby house and, when no one opened after she knocked, she climbed through a window and stole valuables, such as wallets, cellphones and laptops.

She used the stolen money to pay for transport to Muizenberg, where she met a man who helped her find a place to stay in a bush with other people.

On the day of the murder, she said she had seen a house where the side window was open. She scaled the gate and entered the house, where she saw Malcolm lying in bed.

She switched on the light and Malcolm woke up, threatening to phone the police when she saw the intruder.

Prince told the pensioner that she had been looking for help, showing her foot, which she had burnt with hot food when she kicked a pot over the night before.

"We went into the kitchen where she gave me Savlon mixed with water to wash my foot. She then made me toast and tea," Prince admitted.

"The woman said that she was going to phone for an ambulance. I said no and grabbed a knife. I told her that I would stab her if she phoned the police. She tried to take the knife from me."

She admitted to stabbing Malcolm once in the chest, after which the elderly woman fell to the ground.

"I wanted to leave but saw her trying to get up. I then killed her by decapitating her with the big knife. I tried to cut her body in order to take it apart."

She used Malcolm's phone to message her father. It read: "Ek's in groot kak, help." (I am in big trouble, help)

"I then cut off both of her arms and tried to cut off her legs but failed to remove it completely. I then used an axe to chop it off."

She dumped Malcolm's remains in an outside bin. Her arms and legs were put in a plastic container.

Prince fled, but left her handbag which contained goods stolen in Mitchells Plain.

She said she returned to the bush where she had been living and returned to Citrusdal a few days later with the help of relatives.

The stolen items were found at her father's house upon her arrest.

Prince had told Hanekom that she had decided to kill Malcolm because she thought the woman had poisoned her when she had offered her something to eat. She claimed to have feared that the pensioner would phone the police once Prince had fallen asleep.

Malcolm's daughter, Alison Williams, said she was not surprised that her mother had offered assistance to Prince before she was murdered.

"She never hesitated to help," she testified during proceedings.

Her mother was more than a "little old pensioner, a case number"; she was vibrant and full of life, Williams told Judge Bruce Langa.

Her son had found his grandmother's "butchered body", Williams said from the stand, and his "scars will never heal".

She appealed for the highest possible prison sentence for Prince, insisting that, should her mother's murderer ever be up for parole, a family member would be there to "ensure she stays behind bars, where she belongs".

"Our lives will never be the same."

Sentencing proceedings continue on Wednesday.

Source: News24

By Ayodeji Ake

As an advocate of African women, Queen Misker Kassahun Teka from Ethiopia has revealed plans of kick-starting campaign on mental issues, educating women across at least five African countries (including Nigeria), on causes and prevention, as her prime project.

Queen Teka who emerged the winner of African Beauty Queen 2018, in an interaction with journalists recently in Lagos, said mental illness is one of the most common illness mostly caused by stressed and depression, adding that such health issue should be addressed by supply of adequate information on mental illness.

"One thing about mental illness is that you can't really know you have it until someone sees you and notices. I also plan to have panel discussions and public lectures so that everyone can attend and know about it. I also plan to do a media campaign. October is actually mental illness month; I am hoping by the time I finish my project before October I can show my projects using the media.

"I will like to have rehabilitation centers in my country where people can come and get free treatment and recover from mental illnesses. I also want to become a successful business woman because I want to show women that you can be both beautiful and an entrepreneur, you can be a leader and just have that personality that women can look at me and say I want to be like her" she said.

Teka, a psychiatry student in one of Ethiopian universities, speaking on her interest on mental illness noted that her dream while growing up was to sanitise the public on mental illness.

She said: "The reason I choose mental health is because I have always been fascinated about human mind. Since I was a child I have been always reading about how minds work so growing up I discovered we lack a lot on that area especially in my country I see people with depression, people are committing suicide, people not being treated like humans so I think what I saw made me to work on mental illness".

Revealing plans on African countries crusade on mental illness, she said she "plans to print a pocket size magazine of the common mental illness in my country like major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, autism, mental illnesses and others.

"I will like to take these common diseases in a very simple way and just distribute to everyone especially to universities and high schools so that at least these people can go and share with their parents.

"People don't even consider depression as an illness, so I want people to know the signs and symptoms of at least the common diseases. I am trying to do a documentary showing how people leave this mental illness and how psychiatrists handle it and how we can spot mental illness".

By Emmanuel Ntirenganya

Girls and women who have indulged in various petty crimes such as drug abuse will, for the first time, have a centre where they will be rehabilitated before they can be reunited with their families and reintegrated in their communities.

The construction of the centre, which will cost about Rwf2.9 billion, started early this month in Bugesera District, Eastern Province, will be completed by December this year, according to Aimé Bosenibamwe, the Director General of the National Rehabilitation Service.

The idea to set up the facility, according to Bosenibamwe, was motivated by the fact that there has not been any such centre dedicated to women, yet the number of women indulging in drugs such as heroin, cannabis and various other substances has over the years been on the rise.

According to Bosenibamwe, it is being developed through the expansion of the already existing Gitagata Rehabilitation Centre in Bugesera District, which currently accommodates juvenile male delinquents below the age of 18.

The women wing will accommodate females between 18 and 35 and will, upon completion, have capacity to accommodate about 500 people, in line with the ongoing plan to get all children off the streets, rehabilitate and later reunify them with their families.

Meanwhile, Bosenibamwe urged parents to have children they are able to provide for, saying that many children end up on the street because their families have failed to adequately cater for them.

"There are children who are born from say commercial sex workers and delinquent mothers. Such children do not have survival means and in such case, the child should not be victim [of that situation]. If need be, we will also take that mother [to the centre] for rehabilitation in the framework of developing a strong and stable family," he said.

The government objective, he said, is not to create rehabilitation centre for children, but, to reintegrate, reunify street children in the existing families. He however observed that reintegration of such is almost impossible without rehabilitation; hence the rationale of the centre.

"A child who has spent three years on the street sniffing glue is obviously psychologically affected. Reintegrating her into a family without proper counseling would never work; which is why many end up coming back to the streets," he said.

Rehab and skills development

The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Espérance Nyirasafari told The New Times that the centre is timely as it will also equip the girls and women with skills and consider startup capital for them to start income generating projects after rehabilitation.

"It is not just male who indulge in delinquency; we have females as well. Having no centre for them was a problem. So the Gitagata centre will help us reintegrate them in a life with vision," she said.

She said that female children on the streets are more at risk than their male counterparts in that they are defiled and some end up with teenage pregnancies.

Each month, government spends about Rwf70 million on rehabilitation services including basic needs to Iwawa Rehabilitation and Training Centre in the Western Province of Rwanda.

Bosenibamwe explained that the money the government invests in rehabilitation of drug users is not a loss, but rather in line with its role to develop the country's human capital as its number one natural resource.

The phrases "Action" or "Cut" and "That's A Wrap" are truly synonymous with the entertainment industry, specifically filmmaking and motion picture development.

But these scenes do not occur, without the backing and funding from studios, production houses or deep pocket independent producers and directors.

A new generation of powers behind the industry is emerging - Black Women, and this month, 15 of such influencers are profiled in a new feature in LA Magazine, and they are directors, movie funding gatekeepers, producers, program executives and writers from big-name players such as Paramount Pictures, BET Networks, Extra!, AEG, City National Bank and Revolt.

And then a certain 15-year-old documentary filmmaker called Zuriel Oduwole, youthfully perched at the top left of the group portrait, made the cut.

She made her first film at the age of 9 about the Ghana Revolution, and her fourth film at the age of 12, showed in 2 movie theatre chains overseas and screened in Ghana, the UK, Nigeria, South Africa and Tokyo - Japan.

It made her the youngest producer in the world to show their self-produced and self-edited film in a commercial movie theatre chain. Indeed, a new dawn is breaking in Hollywood.

By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu

Benin City — A man identified as Tochukwu Okwueze has lost his entire family after they reportedly inhaled fume from generating set in Edo State.

Okwueze's wife and five children were found dead by neighbours yesterday. But the man is presently in hospital battling for his life. The incident happened at Akpata Street in Egor local government area of the state.

The family was said to have put on the generating set in their kitchen on Monday night and left it running throughout the night. It was gathered that neighbours raised the alarm when the bodies of the family were seen lying lifeless in the apartment after the door was forced opened.

The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, confirmed the incident. He, however, advised residents to be careful of where they put their generating sets in their houses.

"It is pathetic. Their father is recuperating but I advise residents to be careful about where they place their generators because the fume is dangerous," he told The Guardian yesterday evening.

Father of the deceased children, Okwueze, was reportedly rushed to a hospital in the Eweka area of Benin for medical attention, after he was found in a state of coma.

A source at the Central Hospital said the bodies were brought to the hospital at about 10:00a.m. few minutes after ward round by the Medical Director, Dr. Philip Ugbodaga and his team.

One of the relatives of the deceased, simply identified as Vincent, explained: "My younger one called me from Lagos and asked me what was happening. I said that I did not know. So, he told me to go to the house, that something not pleasing to the ears had just happened.

"So, I call her (deceased woman) line. Somebody picked the call and said that they (victims) slept and did not wake up. The whole family was affected, but the police said the father survived. They said that though his case was serious, there was the need to rush him to University of Benin Teaching Hospital, and that they would call me later. It is a family of seven. The youngest is a set of twins."

It would be recalled that two people said to be fashion designers in Benin died after inhaling fume from a generating set in December last year.

The deceased lifeless bodies were said to have been discovered by operatives of Esigie Divisional Police station after the shop door was forced open.

The victims allegedly put on the generator inside their shop while working at night along Second East Circular Road.

It was said that one of the victims, simply identified as Obianuju, invited her friend to her shop to work with her deliver materials on time to her customers. Obianuju allegedly invited her friend for help after her apprentices had turned down her request to work through the night.

analysis By Navi Pillay and Angela Mudukuti

The introduction of the International Crimes Bill before the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, two weeks ago, signals steadfast resolve to eventually withdraw from the Rome Statute. Is South Africa dismantling its own international criminal justice framework for one man who they will, despite withdrawal, still be legally obligated to arrest and surrender for as long as he remains wanted by the International Criminal Court?

Impetus and momentum for withdrawal was generated by President Omar al-Bashir's 2015 visit and the subsequent fallout from South Africa's failure to arrest him. South Africa finds itself in this quandary because of Bashir.

Just over a year after President Bashir's Sudan 01 plane took off from the Waterkloof Air Force Base, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha announced South Africa's intention to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

The Notice of Withdrawal was sent to the UN secretary-general on 19 October 2016. Subsequent litigation resulted in the revocation of the Notice of Withdrawal due to the government's failure to firstly withdraw the Implementation of the Rome Statute Act (ICC Act) before submitting its notice of withdrawal....

Photo: This Day

Mo Ibrahim Foundation logo (file photo).

press release

London — The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is proud to announce the 2018 intake of selected Ibrahim Leadership Fellows, who will make up the programme’s sixth cohort. The incoming Fellows are Valeria Bempomaah Mensah (Ghana) who will join the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Zukiswa Mqolomba (South Africa) who will join the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Ines Ayari (Tunisia) who will join the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships Programme is a selective programme designed to identify and prepare the next generation of outstanding African leaders by providing them mentoring opportunities in key multilateral institutions. The candidates, chosen from a pool of over 2000 applicants, will benefit from the direct mentorship of the current heads of the institutions.

Commenting on the new Ibrahim Leadership Fellows, Mo Ibrahim said:

“The next generation of African leaders are in the making. In the coming year, through learning and experiencing, while based in the executive offices of these multinational organisations, the Fellows will enhance their leadership capabilities. I would like to congratulate our three new Ibrahim Leadership Fellows. They join a cohort of visionary and strategic Fellows who share our commitment to strengthening governance and leadership in order to improve the lives of African citizens.”

The 2018 Ibrahim Fellows:

Valeria Bempomaah Mensah has joined UNECA. She is an international development professional with extensive experience in macroeconomic and policy analysis, capacity development and programme management. She has successfully managed the EU’s budget support programme to the Government of Ghana. Additionally, she has worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as an Economist in its Regional Technical Assistance Center, which provides macroeconomic capacity building to Anglophone West Africa and Cabo Verde.

Zukiswa Mqolomba will join AfDB. She is a senior researcher, senior policy analyst and scholar activist with extensive experience in research, policy development and policy analysis on economic growth, poverty alleviation and job creation. She has worked with the Department of Social Development in South Africa. Additionally, she has previously worked as an Extended Term Consultant (ETC) for the World Bank in Washington D.C.

Ines Ayari has joined ITC. She is a policy advisor with a focus on gender and development with extensive partnership development experience; she has established strong linkages with, and liaised between, governments, international organisations, research institutions, local businesses and civil society, by organising networks in the Middle East, Africa, South America, South Asia and Europe. She has worked with organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Economic Forum (WEF) and various NGOs.

The application process for the 2019 Ibrahim Fellowships Programme will open on 13 August 2018.

For more information on the Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships, or to learn more about what the previous Fellows have progressed to become, since their completion of the programme, visit our website: mo.ibrahim.foundation/fellowships/

opinion By Christina Okello

Policy makers are calling for a new approach to the migrant and refugee crisis, after 68.5 million people were displaced last year according to a new report by the UN refugee agency. The new displaced came mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

The report, that coincides with World Refugee Day, illustrates the challenges facing migration.

Ongoing crises in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo contributed in raising the overall figure of those forcibly displaced in 2017 to 68.5 million.

Eighty per cent of refugees are in developing countries, according to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

"The new displaced came mainly from the DRC," UNHCR spokesperson Celine Schmitt told RFI, saying that many Congolese refugees either fled to neighbouring countries or are displaced at home. "They're nearly 5 million in the DRC," she said.

Refugees who fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for 25.4 million of the 68.5 million, 2.9 million more than in 2016.

"There are definitely very big challenges with migration, and we don't want to underestimate them," Claudia Roethlisberger, an Economics Officer with UNCTAD, the main U.N. body dealing with trade, told RFI.

"But we want to show that there is a different perspective on migration, by highlighting the economic contribution migrants can make inside Africa," she said.

Roethlisberger uses the example of Côte d'Ivoire and Rwanda, where migrants contributed 19 and 13 percent respectively to their countries' GDP.

Changing the narrative

A very different image to the one of African youth drowning in the Mediterranean, lured by the hope of jobs abroad, seemingly suggesting there are no opportunities in Africa.

Wrong, argues Malebogo Bowe, a liaison officer for UNESCO to the African Union.

"We haven't really explored what opportunities there are for us," she told RFI."

"In fact, there's this illusion that if you move to Europe, there are greener pastures there. While in fact the first day when you arrive in France, you don't speak French, just greeting people, or asking for one euro in French, is a challenge," she said.

Intra-African migration might reduce the number of dangerous journeys to Europe, but will African countries fair better than their European counterparts in sharing the burden of migrant arrivals?

Right now, "international responsibility-sharing for displaced people has utterly collapsed," reckons Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland. In a statement on Tuesday, he said lack of responsibility sharing had led to the rescue vessel Aquarius being stranded in the Mediterranean with 629 refugees and migrants on board after being denied entry to Italian ports.

On the African continent, Engeland added that countries like Uganda had been left alone to provide emergency support to the large number of refugees from South Sudan and DR Congo.

Burden-sharing and visa-free travel

"It's now time and it's urgent to have a global solution based on responsibility-sharing," insists UNHCR spokesperson Celine Schmitt.

She calls for assistance for other host countries such as Niger, where UNCHR commissioner, Filippo Grandi, was due to head Tuesday after visiting a refugee camp in Libya.

"Niger has been very generous first of all in hosting refugees from neighbouring countries, but also in working with us to open a humanitarian transit centre," she told RFI.

"This is extremely important, and Niger now needs as well some help from other countries, who resettle the refugees who are evacuated from Libya," she said.

Long, a favoured transit route for migrants wanting to cross into Europe, Libya has faced accusations of human rights abuses including auctioning migrants off as slaves.

Despite the challenges of migration, Malebogo Bowe, a liaison officer for UNESCO to the African Union, says "it can't be prevented."

"In the ECOWAS region they've opened their borders, where someone from Ghana is free to go to Nigeria to look for opportunities," she says.

"Imagine a situation where Africans don't need a visa within Africa and to trade within ourselves," she says referring to a new treaty signed by 27 countries allowing for visa free travel.

"It's one of the breakthroughs that if it happens for Africa, the migration we talk of in the Mediterranean, would probably reduce," she said.

By Joshua Dada

The authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife has dismissed Professor Richard I. Akindele of the Department of Accounting, Faculty of Administration from the service of the institution for indulging in gross misconduct bothering on sexual harassment of female students.

Akindele, a senior lecturer was dismissed after he was found liable to all the allegations of sexually harassing his student among others, Miss Monica Osagie.

Addressing journalists at the institution yesterday, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede disclosed that the University arrived at the dismissal option following the recommendation of the Joint Committee of Council and Senate constituted to probe the allegation.

The Vice Chancellor disclosed that the erring professor had an inappropriate relationship with Osagie as established through their conversations in the audio recording.

According to him, he had acted in a manner that is seen to have compromised his position as a teacher and examiner, in that, his conversations with Miss Osagie were about examination scores and inducement of favour for the alteration of examination scores.

"He offered to change Miss Osagie's purported 33 per cent result to a pass mark in consideration for sexual favours, this was established in the audio recording which he admitted.

"His claim that Miss Osagie knew that she had passed with a score of 45 per cent but was seeking to score an A and that this led to him being sexually harassed by Miss Osagie cannot be supported by any evidence. "Professor Akindele's action in requesting sexual favour from Osagie to change her examination score was scandalous behavior that has brought ridicule to the name of the University and have tarnished the reputation of the University, as it portrays the university as an institution where its teachers and examiners trade marks for sex".

Professor Ogunbodede disclosed that the University is creating awareness and disseminating information on what constitute sexual harassment within the University and noting the veracity of sexual harassment concept which include sexual solicitation, sex exploitation among others.

According to the Vice Chancellor, OAU is fully committed to the eradication of sexual and any other harassment from tertiary institutions and will do all that is possible to nip the menace in the bud.

By Nasra Bishumba

December 20 is the target to have at least 30 African countries to have ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), members of the Senate heard on Tuesday.

Updating the Senators on where Rwanda stands since it ratified the agreement in April, the Minister of Trade and Industry; Vincent Munyeshyaka said that though only 22 countries are required to sign before the agreement comes into force, the target is to have 30.

Rwanda is the current chair of the African Union.

"The threshold is normally 22 countries but we are targeting 30 by December. We know it's ambitious but are hoping that by end of the July African Heads of State summit, we will have seen some improvements," he said.

So far, just four countries - Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and Niger, submitted their instruments of ratification to Treaty to the African Union Secretariat in Addis, Ethiopia.

If the 22-country threshold is met, it means the agreement, which intends to make Africa the largest trading bloc in the world, can get into force.

Munyeshyaka said that to achieve this, he was lobbying other Ministers of trade but there was also support from the African Union Commission and the AfCFTA both which had their lobbying campaigns.

He pointed out that all the concerned institutions were working tirelessly to create a continent that would be viewed as a global competitor on the world market.

"To do that, we have to prioritize some things such as the service sector, beating non-tariff barriers and open borders," he said.

Several offices like foreign affairs, presidency and others were working tirelessly to see that annexes of the agreement and protocols were ready by July.

"We are working day and night on the annexes, regarding trade and goods, rules and protocols for conflict resolution and others and we are hoping that by July when the Heads of States meet in Mauritius, they can sign them off," he said.

Fewer countries signed

Munyeshyaka explained to the Senators that bureaucracy and lack of proper collaboration continued to slow most governments' determination to ratify the agreements.

"Just like us, they have processes that these agreements have to go through for scrutiny and approval. While some governments are keen to expedite the process, there is an issue of collaboration between their institutions and the process has been slowed down by that," he said.

The Minister in the Office of the President, Judith Uwizeye, said that as of today, the country was working on harmonizing its laws with the agreements.

"We already started the process of harmonizing our laws with the articles in these agreements. Some that we have found contradictory are being tweaked so that we avoid any issues in future," she said.

She particularly talked about the free movement instrument which she said had 37 articles in total.

"This particular instrument stipulates a non-segregative clause, the requirements for one to live in another country and what it takes to own assets in that country, among others," she said.

analysis By Julius Bizimungu

London and Paris, both European cities, were the go-to destinations to resolve commercial disputes - outside conventional courts - amongst African firms or shareholders.

The other option was Dubai, which too was a costly option out of Africa.

That is set to change, experts say, thanks to the creation of the African Arbitration Association (AfAA).

The continental arbitration organ will be launched next week in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

Countries from Africa have just voted to have the AfAA headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda.

The association's foremost duty is to focus on promoting arbitration in Africa.

The new continental organ has already received backing from leading pan-African institutions like the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The secretary general of the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC), Fidèle Masengo told The New Times that the main launch for the new association will in fact take place at the headquarters of AfDB.

Masengo highlighted that the organ will advocate for arbitration in Africa, create awareness campaigns to advance the use of arbitration as well as promote capacity building among in-country arbitration mechanisms across Africa.

"As you know in many contracts, especially those financed by the World Bank or the African Development Bank, there are clauses that say in the event of disputes, arbitration will be done either in London, Paris and other Western countries," he said.

However, context is key in resolving such cases yet the arbitrators in those cities may not be familiar with local settings or even the business laws, making the conflict resolution process more slow and costly.

Masengo told The New Times adding that the newly created mechanism will negotiate with these institutions to have the conflicts efficiently resolved in Africa.

Papias Kazawadi, a Kigali-based arbitrator, said that beyond the ease of accessibility to capacity building, they expect the establishment of the continental arbitration organ to raise the level of trust among people who seek arbitration services.

He also argued that it will potentially increase the economic benefits of arbitration to the continent.

"When commercial disputes arise, many businesses prefer arbitration. But this [arbitration] has been happening outside Africa. But with this organ, we believe the process will be shorter, consequently supporting businesses. There is an economic benefit," Kazawadi said.

"There are cases where one party risks closure of business. And when it takes long to settle the dispute, the risk of the business dying becomes even higher," he added.

For Emmanuel Butare, the managing partner at MRB Attorneys, the establishment of the Association could reverse the long-term understanding that arbitration is only successful in the Western world.

"Having such a continental organ will enable people to have their disputes resolved at home rather than referring them to London or Paris, where it was unnecessarily lengthy and expensive," he noted.

Faustin Mbundu, the chairman of the board of directors of the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) announced that Rwanda was selected to host the headquarters after winning the trust of arbitrators across the continent.

"Kigali has been confirmed by 62% of the voters as the Headquarters of the newly established African Arbitration Association (AfAA)," he wrote on Twitter on Monday.

The selection process involved online voting by members of in-country arbitration mechanisms in Africa.

The continental association has already established the board of directors composed of 14 members including two Rwandans and other members from Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, and Nigeria, among others.

The Africa Arbitration Association was created by all arbitral institutions in Africa. There are currently 71 of such institutions in Africa, all of which are part of the association.

The Kigali International Arbitration Centre was established in 2012 and has been able to settle about 88 commercial and business disputes worth US$50 million (approximately Rwf42.9 billion).

Photo: GCIS

Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi.

Universal health care may become a reality as Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi gears up to present two bills to the public on Thursday.

The Medical Schemes Amendment Bill and the National Health Insurance Bill have the purpose of ushering in a set of health-financing reforms that aim to provide free healthcare to all South Africans.

However, the bills will require amendments to 12 pieces of legislation, News24's sister publication Health24 reported.

Motsoaledi told Members of Parliament on Tuesday that they would need to change "most of the laws that you have painstakingly cobbled together since the advent of democracy... We have already identified 12 Acts that will have to be amended by this House to accommodate NHI".

"[This] will necessitate a massive re-organisation of the whole healthcare system, both public and private, and completely change the relationship between our spheres of government, but also change the relationship between the rich and the poor," Motsoaledi said.

He emphasised that the rich will subsidise the poor, the young will subsidise the old and the healthy will subsidise the sick.

"You might have to dismantle some of the relationships between spheres of government and also rattle the corporate world in health," Motsoaledi said.

He advised Members of Parliament to monitor four factors that have destabilised the health care system. These include human resources, financial management, procurement and supply chain management and maintenance of infrastructure and equipment.

A universal health care system has been on the cards well before Motsoaledi's tenure as health minister, which began in 2009.

Source: News24

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been trending on social media following his gracing of an event to launch a garbage bin in Manicaland.

The Zanu PF cabinet minister is seen on the images circulating cutting the ribbon tied around a skip in Rusape.

On social media, Zimbabweans have been either mocking under the #Chinamasachallenge hashtag or condemning him for wasting government time attending "silly" functions. Some users have described him as the clown of the year.

In one picture, Chinamasa is being invited to cut the ribbon (tissue) tied around a toilet seat. Others mimic him cutting the ribbon around a dollhouse, soap tablets, slip ons, pot, a loaf of bread, laptop, a plate of sadza and meat. Worse of all is one which has a ribbon around condoms with hand holding pair of scissors ready to cut it.

Another collage has the popular Jamaican singer Beenie man and Chinamasa captioned Bhini man.

Our New Zimbabwe said on Twitter, "Min Chinamasa demonstrated that mega deals & mega inflows of FDI have started bearing fruit by officially opening a crucial infrastructure project in Rusape! The project will create hundreds of jobs becoz people will setup small businesses in the vicinity! #ChinamasaChallenge."

Another twitter user Roy said, "Zimbabwe's finance minister everybody. Kutonyora mu diary. "Dustbin opening ceremony in Rusape: 19-06-2018. 0900hrs" #ChinamasaChallenge."

However other publications have pictures of the treasury boss opening a sports complex in Rusape area, Vengere Multi-Purpose Sports Court, the same day.

In a troubled economy riddled by poor service delivery, corruption and bad governance, Zimbabwean politicians have taken to taking pride in mediocre developments particularly towards elections as they seek to maximize every opportunity to sell their promises to the public.

Photo: Jacapo

A street in Asmara, Eritrea (file photo).

By Etenesh Abera

Eritrea's president announced "today that Eritrea shall dispatch delegation to Addis Abeba to a constructive engagement with Ethiopia," Estifanos Habtemariam, Eritrea's Ambassador to Japan, said on twitter. President Isaias Afewerki made the remarks during the Martyrs Day celebrations today.

"We will send a delegation to Addis Abeba to gauge current developments directly and in depth and to chart out a plan for continuous future action," President Isaias said, adding, "The events and developments that have unfolded in our region in general and in Ethiopia in particular in the recent period warrant appropriate attention."

President ISAIAS announced tdy that #Eritrea shall dispatch delegation to Addis Abeba to a constructive engagement with #Ethiopia #BBC #CNN

- Ambassador Estifanos (@AmbassadorEstif) June 20, 2018

The announcement brings to an end Eritrea's silence since June 05 when the 36 Executive Committee members of the ruling EPRDF said in a statement that Ethiopia will fully accept the December 12, 2000 Algiers Agreement, a peace agreement between the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia, which established the Ethiopia Eritrea boundary commission (EEBC). By accepting the Algiers Agreement, Ethiopia also said it was ready to comply with the "final and binding" decision by the EEBC, which, among others, awarded the town of Badme, the flashpoint of the two years costly border war, to Eritrea.

However, Eritrea remained silent, with only a vague response on twitter from Yemane G. Meskel, Eritrea's information minister, which indicated that Eritrea has already accepted EEBC's decision 16 years ago.

Responding to MP Meseret Jemaneh, who opposed the decision to accept the #AlgiersAgreement & the #EEBC's decision, the PM affirmed the decision by the #EPRDF exc. He also lamented what he said were "illogical reasoning"; asked if Ethiopians were consulted when Assab was given pic.twitter.com/ykUBKUGQAO

- Addis Standard (@addisstandard) June 18, 2018

The announcement came two days after PM Abiy Ahmed defended the government's decision on Eritrea in a live televised session at the national parliament. Ambassador Estifanos did not mention the exact date when the delegates are expected to arrive in Ethiopia. AS

Photo: GCIS

Former president Jacob Zuma (file photo).

The state will carry on covering former president Jacob Zuma's legal fees until a court decides otherwise, the Presidency confirmed on Wednesday.

"You guys have not been listening to us," said Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko, in response to reports that Zuma's legal fees are still being covered by the state.

"We have always said there is an undertaking, we continue to honour that undertaking."

Diko said the Presidency had filed a notice to abide by whatever the Gauteng North High Court decides in the DA's application filed in late March to have the court set aside a 2006 Presidency agreement to cover the legal fees Zuma ran up for his criminal prosecution.

In March, it was revealed that R15.3m had already been paid in the time he had been challenging the "spy tapes" matter - recordings of an apparent plot against him - as he faces charges related to allegedly accepting a bribe from French arms company Thales in the awarding of an arms deal.

This was after President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the agreement, signed by Zuma under former president Thabo Mbeki, formed the basis for the decision to continue paying for Zuma's legal fees in the spy tapes case.

Diko said that the Presidency filed a notice to say that it would abide by the decision of the court and would not challenge the outcome.

"So if the court says we shouldn't pay, then we wouldn't pay," she told News24.

"We are really worried that this is being reported [as though] this is some new revelation."

In the meantime, the Presidency has provided the additional information required ahead of the case in terms of what they were paying for, the agreement to pay and other supplementary information.

"So, there is no decision yet, taken either by the court or the Presidency, that has led to [a conclusion] that says that those fees must not [be] paid," said Diko.

"That has always been the position of the Presidency.

"We filed a notice to abide by the decision of the court, in the meantime we continue to honour the undertaking that exists.

"We were very clear in our statement that we continue to honour this undertaking as it stands unless and until a court decides otherwise."

She said she would find out how much had been spent to date.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams announced in March that the NPA would go ahead with the prosecution of Zuma on 16 charges, including corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

Former NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges in 2009, based on recordings, the "spy tapes", which were presented to him by Zuma's legal team.

The tapes were made up of recordings of telephone conversations between then-Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, which Zuma's legal team claimed showed political interference in the decision to charge him.

The charges were subsequently withdrawn, just before Zuma was sworn in for his first term as president.

Source: News24

Some South African National Defence Force (SANDF) officials fall foul of the law by losing or stealing official firearms and ammunition, and at least one of these weapons has ended up being used during a cash-in-transit heist, Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula revealed this week.

She was responding to a parliamentary question by FF Plus leader and MP Pieter Groenewald.

Groenewald wanted more clarity on details she previously gave him last year on how many SANDF weapons and ammunition were lost and/or stolen between April 2015 and September 2017.

In the initial reply last year, it emerged that several pistols and revolvers were lost or stolen in the above period, along with over 14 000 stolen ammunition rounds, two exercise hand grenades and 253 pencil flares.

In her reply on Tuesday, Mapisa-Nqakula also revealed that an R4 rifle was recovered during a cash-in-transit heist, while a pistol and two R4 rifles were later recovered at a suspect's house.

She did not provide more details on when and where the recoveries had happened.

It was also revealed that five theft cases involving SANDF firearms and ammunition were pending before courts for a decision and trial.

Two cases have been finalised; one person was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months in jail or a R30 000 fine, while an SANDF member was discharged from the defence force.

Groenewald asked what measures the defence department were taking to prevent these crimes from happening.

The response was: "During the security cluster meeting, a decision was made that Counter Intelligence must conduct regular inspection on firearms and a guard duty system must be in place."

Source: News24

By Joseph Hanlon

The special session of parliament scheduled for today and Friday, 21-22 June, has been postponed, parliament's Permanent Commission announced late Wednesday afternoon. No new date has been set. The session was scheduled to consider the draft election and local government law changes submitted to parliament by the Council of Ministers. These relate to the constitutional amendments which end separate election of mayors and say that the person who heads the list of the party that gains the most votes for assembly becomes the mayor.

On Tuesday, Edson Macuacua, chair of the Constitutional Affairs Commission (1st Commission), told the press that his commission, dominated by Frelimo, had decided to make changes in the draft agreed by the Council of Ministers.

This newsletter Tuesday (19 June) pointed to several unexpected items in the law draft. One was that three members of of a party's assembly electoral list, including the head of the list (who might become mayor), did not have to come from the municipality, and thus could be parachuted in from outside by the party.

The second was that in the event of death, resignation, or dismissal of the mayor, the new mayor would be the person whom the party decided was "best positioned" to become mayor. Both changes increase the power of senior and national party officials.

Macuacacua said the both had been reversed, and that all candidates for assembly needed to be resident in the municipality, and that replacement of the mayor would strictly follow the order of the original candidates list. But then it was rumoured Wednesday that Macuacua's commission had been overridden on residency, and that the possibility of three people parachuted in would be retained.

Rumours continue over more substantive disagreements within Frelimo on the draft law. And after Frelimo agrees internally, it has to gain agreement with MDM and Renamo in the Permanent Commission. The ability to parachute in outsiders could be seen as useful for both Renamo and MDM; in some areas (such as Gaza) neither have strong local candidates to be head of list.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Permanent Commission admitted it did not have time to agree revised draft laws by Thursday, so the session would be delayed.

Photo: This Day

Budget

By Nasir Ayitogo

Members of the House of Representatives have defended the decision of the National Assembly to raise its budget from the initial N125 billion to N139.5 billion in 2018.

In their explanation, the lawmakers merely claimed the budget figure was small compared to past years.

They failed to provide specific needs that necessitated the multibillion naira raise.

This is coming less than 24 hours after National Assembly leadership spoke on the concerns raised by President Muhammadu Buhari on the manipulation of the 2018 budget estimates sent to the lawmakers.

Mr Buhari on Wednesday signed the N9.1 trillion 2018 appropriation bill into law in his office at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

In a statement by the house spokesperson, Abdulrazak Namdas, the lawmakers said the budget of the National Assembly "is still far below the N150 billion in the years before 2015".

"Before 2015, the budget of the National Assembly was N150 billion for several years. It was cut down to N120 billion in 2015 and further down to N115 billion in 2016.

"In 2017, the budget was N125 billion and N139.5 billion in 2018. This means that the budget of the National Assembly is still far below the N150 billion in the years before 2015."

Members of the National Assembly are known for paying themselves billions of naira in illegal allowances they refer to as running cost.

However, the allowances have not been clearly captured in specific budget subheads, meaning they are vaguely inserted into other spending items.

The lawmakers said in their statement that they were "on the same page" with Mr. Buhari in his desire to return the budget cycle to January-December.

"By the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, the budget estimates should be with the National Assembly around September of the year."

He said the 2018 budget estimates came behind schedule in November 2017 but was however seen as one of the earliest in recent years.

On the power of appropriation of the National Assembly to alter, make additions, costs or reduce as it may deem necessary, he said the legislature is not expected to be a rubber-stamp by simply approving the Executive proposals and returning the budget to the president.

He said the additions the president complained of in his speech are justifiable.

He also spoke on new projects in budget which the president lamented about.

The president had revealed how the lawmakers "made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira".

In his explanation, Mr Namdas said they were representatives of the people, hence, "must include projects that will directly affect the common man positively".

"Some of the projects designed by the executive, as high-sounding as their names suggest, do not meet the needs of the common man."

The House expressed their appreciation to President Buhari for signing the 2018 Appropriation bill into law.

Photo: Premium Times

President Muhammadu Buhari presenting budget.

By Sani Tukur

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2018 appropriation bill containing the year's federal spending details as approved by the National Assembly.

Mr Buhari signed the budget at about 12 noon on Wednesday inside his office at the presidential villa Abuja.

The total budget is N9.1 trillion, up from the N8.6 trillion estimates he submitted to the Assembly on November 7, 2017.

The two chambers of the National Assembly passed the budget on May 16, six months after it was presented by the president.

The Assembly raised the total figure by N500 million.

They also increased the oil benchmark proposed by the executive from $45 to $51 per barrel.

The Assembly, however, retained oil production volume proposed at 2.3 million barrels per day and an exchange rate at N305 to $1.

The budget as passed by the two chambers also has N530.4 billion as statutory transfer; N2.2 trillion for debt service; N1,95 trillion as fiscal deficit.

The passed budget was transmitted to the presidency for assent on May 25 through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Ita Enang.

Mr Enang on Wednesday took copies of the budget to the office of the president.

The budget signing ceremony was attended by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Na'Allah.

By Golden Sibanda

The cost of mobile and internet-based financial services is set for a significant drop after Government directed that the charge for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), the technology platform used to facilitate on-line transacting, was whittled by as much as 60 percent.

Consequently, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe has engaged all banks and other financial institutions to take note of the development and pass on the reduction to customers.

The majority of financial and other transactions in Zimbabwe, 96 percent at the last official count, are conducted predominantly through mobile phones, and to some extent via the internet, hence current efforts by President Mnangagwa's administration to cut the cost of such transactions.

With Zimbabwe, which uses a basket of foreign currencies dominated by the US dollar, battling serious cash shortages, the majority of people have little choice but to use mobile phones to conduct virtually all their daily transactions and such transactions (especially payments), ride on the USSD platform.

Government also directed significant cuts on other telecoms services, including out of bundle data (down 60 percent) and national interconnection rate (cut by 50 percent), as part of efforts to make information communication technology (ICT) services, now critical for modern day businesses, cheaper than they have been.

Other charges such as short message service, fixed voice charges and Internet/data charges for Internet access service providers will either be reviewed in future or left market forces to decide.

This directive for reduction of USSD and other communication charges comes after the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) concluded a cost modelling exercise for telecommunication network services in Zimbabwe covering mobile, fixed and Internet Access networks.

The costing exercise was done by Germany technology firm Detecon International and was premised on the Long Run Incremental Costing (LRIC) models that were built in 2014 by Detecon.

Potraz re-engaged Detecon in 2017 to update the LRIC cost models on account of emerging market trends in terms of changing consumer behaviour, which is moving from being voice-centric to being data-centric and technological evolution

The charge for USSD, currently considered the best available technology to deliver mobile and Internet financial services, was cut from 12,5 cents to 5 cents per session. The Reserve Bank is expected to give a directive to all financial institutions to adjust the USSD charge on customers in line with the directive issued by Government.

Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira, while announcing the directive for the reduction of the telecoms services, said the huge demand for ICT services required that they be affordable and of the highest quality possible.

"The USSD charges threshold shall be reduced from the current 12,5 cents per session to 5 cents per session.

"This is meant to address the high transaction cost of e-payments and increase financial inclusion.

"To ensure that this reduction benefits the transacting public, the authority has engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe who will engage financial service providers so that the reduction is passed on to the transacting public," the minister said.

Minister Mandiwanzira said the supply push side of the equation dealt with the universalisation of ICT services and the provision of high quality services.

"There is, also the demand-pull aspects of the equation.

"The demand-pull side covers issues to do with service affordability and the provision of high quality relevant services that make life easier for the people.

"Hence, the need to strike a fine balance between operator's viability and service affordability and quality," he said.

According to blog site CGAP First, when one dials a number that starts with * and ends with #, they essentially are using USSD, which is the best available communications technology to deliver mobile financial services to low-income customers.

"With the notable exception of M-Pesa in Kenya, the majority of large scale mobile financial services deployments in the developing world use USSD as their primary mechanism for communication between customers and their mobile payments platform.

"These include bKash in Bangladesh; Wing in Cambodia; Easy Paisa in Pakistan; Tigo and M-Pesa in Tanzania and EcoCash in Zimbabwe, to name a few," said CGAP.

The Minister said out of bundle mobile data charges threshold shall be reduced from the current average rate of 12,5 cents per Megabyte to 5 cents per Megabyte exclusive of all taxes.

This applies to internet/data that is used outside the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter bundles among others.

The national interconnection rate shall be reduced from the current 4 cents per minute to 2 cents per minute exclusive of all taxes. This applies across all interconnecting operators.

Oil giants Eni and Shell went on trial in Milan Wednesday on charges of corruption in Nigeria, with judges accepting to consider a request by Lagos for them to face civil liability charges.

A ruling in favour of Nigeria, the plaintiff, would be an important development in the trial -- which has been delayed twice -- as it would make Shell and Eni liable to pay damages to Nigeria if they are convicted.

Shell and Eni can still ask the court to reject the request. If it does, only the individuals on trial would be liable to pay damages in the event of conviction.

"Nigeria demanded accountability for Eni and Shell. There are billions of dollars at stake in this case. The companies and the wider industry should realise that there are huge consequences for dodgy deals," Barnaby Pace of Global Witness told AFP.

Eni and Shell are accused of handing out bribes during the 2011 purchase of OPL245, an offshore oil block estimated to hold nine billion barrels of crude, for $1.3 billion.

Eni chief executive Claudio Descalzi, his predecessor Paolo Scaroni and several managers from Eni and Shell are among those to go on trial, as is Nigeria's former oil minister Dan Etete.

The agreement allegedly saw Nigeria's former president Goodluck Jonathan and his oil minister Etete pocket bribes, according to corruption watchdog Global Witness.

Global Witness said the deal resulted in $1.1 billion being paid into an account in London opened by Nigerian government officials that went directly to Etete. The Nigerian government received only $210 million.

Both companies deny paying bribes.

As well as the Nigerian government and Global Witness, several other associations, such as the Nigerian group HEDA, have also requested to be recognised as plaintiffs in the trial, a request opposed by Shell and Eni's lawyers.

The court will rule at the next hearing, on July 20, on the constitution of civil parties.

By Jean d'Amour Mbonyinshuti

Both teachers and parents have welcomed the ban of cell phone use by students in primary and secondary schools that was announced recently by the Ministry of Education.

Martin Masabo, the head teacher of Lycée de Kigali, said students should not be allowed to use mobile phones in anyway and the decision to ban them in schools was a necessary one.

"It is a very good decision because it causes distraction not only for students but also for adult. Doctors and nurses are not allowed to use mobile telephones during working hours, why should kids in schools?" he wandered.

"I know this is a technology era but if everyone cannot afford mobile phones then they need to use laptops as they are connected to the internet and the government is promoting smart classrooms. Teachers should be monitoring; first of all they have to sensitise and tell them that while telephones are good if they want to concentrate on their studies they have to do away with them," said the seasoned educationist.

According to Pierre Damien Nshuye, the head teacher at GS Kitabura in Musanze District, the move will not only boost quality education but also decrease interactions with the outside world where some of girls are exploited and them in the process.

"In my opinion, the move is positive as we have been experiencing cases of indiscipline associated with the use of cell phones," he said

The issue of use of mobile phones in schools has been hot and rather controversial.

In 2010, the then State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, came up with a strict 'no-phone-at-school' policy. He was photographed using a hoe to smash phones that had been seized from students at GS Zaza in Ngoma, which attracted public uproar.

His successor, Olivier Rwamukwaya, was more flexible saying that students could use mobile phones but in a controlled environment as it could help them in their studies.

Parents speak out

Jean Bosco Sibomana a father of three whose two children are in secondary said that parents worry about the use of cell phones and it was hard to control whether children leave them home or go to school with them.

"It is a difficult issue and we always disagree with children whenever we ask them to leave their cell phones home. It is therefore a good move for me to ban cell phones in schools," he noted.

Students face dismissal

According to Isaac Munyakazi, the State Minister for education the decision was taken to ensure that children concentrate on studies without distractions.

He said that punitive measures would be taken that include confiscation of the phone and a warning which will be followed by dismissal in case the culprit is caught again.

"Schools also need to put control measures in place and in case it fails to implement them, they will be accountable," he added.

He said students should not worry because if they want to communicate with their relatives, there is a visiting day every month while those in need to call are facilitated with the school management.

Government has slashed mobile data tariffs from 12.5 cents to 5 cents per MB, the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) said on Wednesday.

Potraz said the USSD costs for epayments will also be lowered from 12.5c to 5c per session as currency woes persist.

"The Out of bundle mobile data charges threshold shall be reduced from the current average rate of 12.5 cents per Megabyte to 5 cents per Megabyte exclusive of all taxes. This applies to internet/data that is used outside the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter bundles among others," a statement from Potraz said on Wednesday.

Potraz said takes the change will take place with effect from July 1 this year and was result of the need to take "into account the prevailing economic environment as well as the competing needs of ensuring operator viability and service affordability" for consumers.

"These need to be balanced to ensure the delivery of high quality innovative services and applications which are critical in enhancing consumer welfare, business continuity and the country's overall business competitiveness," said Potraz.

This comes at a time when the internet is expected to play a key role as Zimbabwe gears towards elections due on July 30 with many politicians seen relying more on online campaigning.

A number are also using social media bots for campaigning and engagement with followers.

Zimbabwe has an internet penetration rate of about 50% with most people accessing the internet through mobile gadgets. Mobile data accounts for about 90% of internet access while Facebook and WhatsApp are the most popular internet applications accessed.

According to experts, data usage surged ahead more than ever before during the coup which ousted former president Mugabe last year in November.

By This Is Africa

Senegal claimed the first African win at the 2018 FIFA World Cup guided by their manager, Aliou Cissé, who is the only black coach at this year's World Cup. Here are 10 interesting things you need to know about The Lions of Teranga (Les Lions de la Teranga) coach.

Senegal recorded the first African win at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, beating the highly fancied Polish side 2-1 at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow. The remarkable win has evoked great memories of their 2002 World Cup campaign in which they defeated holders France in their opening game. Their current manager, Aliou Cissé, who is the only black coach at this year's World Cup captained the team 16 years ago.

In an pre-tournament interview with FIFA, Cissé said: "It's a source of pride to be able to play a part in this World Cup. In 2002 I was captain and now I'm the coach - I love the idea of being able to pass on my experience and knowledge to these players, so that they understand that every fibre of the Senegal jersey represents a person in that country and in Africa. That, as far as I'm concerned, is an extraordinary privilege."

"We would also love to reach the quarter-finals... We've got a young squad with a lot of talent, but they lack experience at the highest level. We'll have to go there without an insecurity complex, play our natural game and stick to our African identity, which defines our football," Cissé was quoted saying.

Senegal remarkable win against Poland has cast the spotlight on their coach, Cissé, the only black coach at this year's World Cup, and one of the youngest coaches at the tournament. Here are 10 interesting things you need to know about The Lions of Teranga (Les Lions de la Teranga) coach.

Aliou Cissé:

1. The 42 year-old was born in Ziguinchor, Senegal.

2. He has previously played for English Premier League club Birmingham City and later Portsmouth.

3. Cissé also played in Ligue 1 with Montpellier, PSG and Lille.

4. Cissé played as a defensive midfielder and on occasion, played at centre back.

Read: Senegal is counting on its World Cup football stars to lift its political gloom

5. Cissé, captained Senegal on their remarkable journey through the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. The Lions of Teranga reached the quarter-finals.

6. He was also part of the Senegal team who were the runners-up in the 2002 African Cup of Nations. Cissé played for Senegal from 1999 to 2005, winning 35 caps for the Lions of Teranga.

7. Three years after retiring as a player Cissé was employed for a year as Senegal Under-23s' assistant manager, from 2012 to 2013, becoming head coach from 2013 to 2015.

8. He took over as The Lions of Teranga (Les Lions de la Teranga) head coach in 2015.

9. Cissé became the first person to have been the Captain and Coach of the Lions of Teranga (Senegal).

10. The former Senegalese international is the only black manager at Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.

By Tadious Manyepo

Harare City midfielder Moses Muchenje was injured in a hit-and-run accident in the city on Monday evening that left him with a badly bruised ankle.

The former CAPS United skipper was hit by a kombi which sped off from the scene at around 6pm along Simon Mazorodze Road near Mbare. He had to spend the night at Belvedere Medical Centre where he had a scan before he was discharged yesterday morning.

Although the medical report shows the player did not sustain major internal injuries, Muchenje could take more than three weeks to fully recover.

In a statement yesterday, the club's chairman Alois Masepe wished the midfielder a speedy recovery.

"As Harare City Football Club, we are saddened by the injury sustained by one of our players, Moses Muchenje, after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident on Monday evening," said Masepe.

"He was treated and discharged at Belvedere Medical Centre and we are glad he did not suffer life nor career threatening injuries.

"We wish him a speedy recovery and it is the club's fervent hope that he recovers well in time for the resumption of the league marathon."

Muchenje's injury is the latest setback for Mark Harrison's side after the midfielder's partner and club captain, Tendai Samanja, suffered a recurrent ankle knock in the team's 3-0 victory over Yadah Stars at Rufaro on Sunday.

Harrison, who has taken advantage of the mid-season break to visit his ailing mother in London, has enough replacements in his armoury who include the likes of Learnmore Muyambo and Hastings Chapusha.

Meanwhile, Masepe says his executive is surprised by how the Harare City technical team have managed to turn the team's fortunes around.

"We expected the team to struggle, but we have done well in terms of performance against other teams in the league.

"We are actually surprised as an executive because we were looking for life in Division One. But, thanks to the guys, thanks to the technical team. I think the technical set-up was our biggest let-down over the years. We had a good vision, but good vision requires the right material.

"And I think we had some deficiencies at technical level. Now I think we have a technical team that fits with our vision and you can see that with the results on the ground.

"Our performance in the first half speaks for itself."

By Francis Mureithi

Ulinzi Stars sailed into the round of 16 of SportPesa Shield Cup without kicking a ball after their opponents Kakamega Homeboyz failed to show up at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru on Wednesday.

The Paul Nkata-coached Kakamega Homeboyz failed to attend the mandatory pre-match meeting fuelling speculations that they will skip the match.

The Kakamega-based club also did not attend the pre-match checking as required by the federation rules and regulations.

The match officials led by match commissar Hesborn Mbogo, centre referee Wislon Otieno, first assistant referee Stephen Yembe, Gladys Kamuren and fourth official Alex Ondima waited for one hour and 15 minutes before calling off the match.

"According to the federation, the match was on and I want to confirm that by the time of calling off the match, I had not received any other communication to do so," said Mbogo.

Mbogo said he will write his report and forward it to FKF to decide on the next course of action.

Ulinzi head coach Dunstan Nyaudo said he was disappointed with the turn of events.

"We were ready for the match and I am surprised our opponents opted to skip the tie without communicating," said coach Nyaudo.

Nyaudo said their opponents had earlier pleaded for postponement of the match to Thursday but Ulinzi declined to accept their request.

"We are playing Gor Mahia on Saturday at Afraha and it would not be possible to play on Thursday and then face Gor on Saturday as we also need to have time to rest and plan for the game," said Nyaudo.

By Ayumba Ayodi

Kenya Simbas head coach Ian Snook named five uncapped players in his squad as they received Sh53 million sponsorship ahead of their opening Rugby Africa Gold Cup match against Morocco in Casablanca on Saturday.

Kenya Under-20 international Edmund Anya will start at the wing with Kabras Sugar's Colman Were starting at hooker. The Homeboyz trio of Mohammed Omollo, Zedden Marrow and Max Kang'eri all start from the bench.

Overall, there are four changes to the side that started last month's 34-16 Elgon Cup away win over Uganda, with Were slotting in ahead of Peter Karia who is relegated to the bench.

Philip Ikambili, who plays as a hooker starts as openside flanker taking the place of Elkeans Musonye, who will miss out on the Morocco tour. Biko Adema starts at fullback, while Edmund Anya takes up the wing and Darwin Mukidza starting at fly-half.

"I slotted Mukidza at fly- half with Adema moving to fullback since I noticed that Mukidza is a good all rounder and understands what is around him and can change the game easily, " said Snook.

"I have also moved Ikambili to openside flanker from hooking since he is nimble and strong."

Jacob Ojee, Martin Owilah, Vincent Mose and Isaac Adimo are unavailable due to academic and work commitments, while Oscar Simiyu misses out through injury, his place on the bench taken up by Moses Amusala.

Erick Kerre is also recalled to the squad after missing the Uganda fixture.

This year's Rugby Africa Gold Cup doubles up as the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

There was a sigh of relief for Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), who are going through financial difficulties, when Kenya Breweries Marketing Manager Christine Mwaura delivered a sponsorship cheque of Sh53 million.

The two-year deal with Kenya Simbas will end in December 2019.

"We are glad to be associated with Kenya Simbas, having also been part of their journey to the 2015 World Cup," said Mwaura, whose company sponsored the team to 2015 Vodacom Cup.

Kenya Simbas failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup on inferior aggregate, losing out to Namibia whom they had beaten.

Already, champions Namibia started their campaign strongly, thrashing Uganda 55-6 with Morocco and Zimbabwe battling to a 23-23 draw in their opening matches last weekend.

Kenya Simbas squad for Morocco match

Simbas: 15. Biko Adema (Nondies), 14. Edmund Anya (Strathmore Leos), 13. Peter Kilonzo (KCB), 12. Leo Seje (Impala Saracens), 11. Tony Onyango (Homeboyz), 10. Darwin Mukidza (KCB), 9. Samson Onsomu (Impala Saracens), 1. Patrick Ouko (Homeboyz), 2. Colman Were (Kabras Sugar), 3. Joseph Odero (Kabras Sugar), 4. Andrew Chogo (Kabras Sugar), 5.Oliver Mang'eni (KCB), 6. George Nyambua (Kabras Sugar), 7. Philip Ikambili (Homeboyz), 8.Davis Chenge (KCB, captain)

REPLACEMENTS: 16. Peter Karia (KCB), 17. Moses Amusala (KCB), 18. Curtis Lilako (KCB), 19. Malcolm Onsando (Kenya Harlequin), 20. Erick Kerre (Impala Saracens), 21. Mohammed Omollo (Homeboyz), 22.Zeden Marrow (Homeboyz), 23. Max Kang'eri (Homeboyz)

MANAGEMENT: Ian Snook (Head Coach), Murray Roulston, Charles Ngovi, Dominique Habimana (Assistant coaches), Richard Ochieng' (Conditioning coach), Chris Makacha (Physio)

By Ayumba Ayodi

A right leg hamstring injury has forced Commonwealth 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal to withdraw from Athletics Kenya National Championships starting Thursday at Kasarani.

The Championships will be used to select the national team for Africa Senior Athletics Championships due August 1-5 in Assaba, Nigeria.

Kinyamal said he sustained the injury during the Rome leg of the Diamond League.

Kinyamal followed up his victory at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with a personal best and meet record time of 1:43.91 on his Diamond League debut in Shanghai on May 12 before winning in Rome in 1:44.65 on May 31.

"I sustained the injury in Rome and my doctor told me not to compete for three weeks. I just resumed training Thursday last week," said Kinyamal, who had to also withdraw from Stockholm Diamond League on June 10. "I can only hope for a wild card from Athletics Kenya. I will have regained form by the time the Africa Championships is starting," said Kinyamal.

It is not only Kinyamal who has withdrawn from the Nationals. United States-based 800m stars Emmanuel Korir and Michael Saruni will also not feature at the trials. Korir won in Doha in 1:45.21.

However, Saruni holds the fastest time this season of 1:43.25 set on April 28 at Tucson Meet in Arizona, USA.

By Vincent Opiyo and Francis Mureithi

Ten-time domestic cup winners Gor Mahia eased into the round of 16 after brushing aside sixth tier side Kenpoly 5-0 at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday.

Ivorian striker Ephrem Guikan grabbed a hat-trick while Lawrence Juma converted one from the spot with Kenpoly's David Handa scoring in his own net to complete the rout in the SportPesa Shield Cup encounter.

In Nakuru, Ulinzi Stars also sailed into the last 16 albeit without kicking a ball after their opponents Kakamega Homeboyz failed to show up at Afraha Stadium.

The Paul Nkata-coached Kakamega Homeboyz failed to attend the mandatory pre-match meeting fuelling speculations that they would skip the match.

The Kakamega-based club also did not attend the pre-match checking as required by the federation's competition rules and regulations.

The match officials led by match commissar Hesborn Mbogo, centre referee Wilson Otieno, first assistant referee Stephen Yembe, Gladys Kamuren and fourth official Alex Ondima waited for one hour and 15 minutes before calling off the match.

Back in Machakos, Kerr lined up a second string side with Shaban Odhoji standing in between the sticks while Charles Momanyi and Joakim Oluoch manned the defence.Bernard Ondiek and Lawrence Juma were pulling strings in midfield with Guikan and Eliud Lukewam upfront given the task of getting the goals in the absence of goal poachers Jacques Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere.

"The team spirit is amazing, the players have shown that plus the belief against many obstacles and that has enabled them grow and mature to be better," Gor coach Dylan Kerr said as his side remained unbeaten locally in all competitions this year.

K'Ogalo, who eliminated SS Assad in the first round, are in contention for the cup they last clinched in 2012, beating Sofapaka 3-0 on post-match penalties after a 0-0 draw in the final.

Scores of opposition MPs on Friday supported Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP Shaun Ntlhaile's motion and called out government to heed calls to introduce a decent living wage, as it is for the good of all workers in Botswana.

Selibe Phikwe East MP, Dithapelo Keorapetse said the problems Botswana is experiencing in its industrial relations include but not limited to the problem of wealth and income inequalities, the working poor and slave wages. "The lowest paid civil servant in our country earns about P1600 and the highest paid gets around P75 000 without including allowances and there is a huge wage disparity between the two, that is why we end up with the working poor," he said.

According to Keorapetse there reason why there is the working poor in Botswana is primarily due to unemployment because there is excess supply of skilled labour and this has driven the living wage lower. "Living wage is different from minimum wage in the sense that minimum wage cannot address basic needs and decent standards of living while decent living wage the idea is to make sure that workers have decent standard of living. Modest but decent life where they are able to afford food, shelter, transport, utilities health care and even child care," he said.

According to Keorapetse research has shown that living wage tends to reduce poverty and that workers tend have to have high affective commitments; i.e. emotional attachments to organisations hence serving organisations better and being productive when they have decent living wage.

He also argued that the living wage issue cannot be debated in isolation, saying that it goes together with other issues such as labour and labour laws. "You said recently when came back from the International Labour Organisation that the new administration seeks to reform labour laws. We want restoration of the public bargaining council, and the review of the trade dispute act to remove the clause on essential services, we cannot have all this civil servants classified under essential services cadre," he said.

He urged government to expedite its efforts in trying to create favorable labour conditions because it's not looking good for workers, also urging the state to establish an independent body with quasi-judicial functions to entertain labour disputes. "Let us try that in our country because the labour department has failed workers for many years," he said.

The youthful legislator was also of the opinion that the country should establish a fair entitlement guarantee scheme, which will enable those who find themselves jobless as a result of liquidations and bankruptcies being paid something. "Right now we some BCL group employees who are now indebted, some are threatened with civil imprisonment and some found themselves poor overnight with nothing to give to their families and if we had fair entitlement guarantee scheme we would have made sure that this people were paid from this fund," he said, adding that government should recognise that trade unions are very important in industrial relations rather than treating them as enemies in labour.

MP for Bonnington South Ndaba Gaolathe also shared Keorapetse's sentiments that workers tend to be motivated and productive if they are paid well. Taping into Alfred Marshal's efficiency wage theory, that increasing wages can lead to increased labour productivity; Gaolatlhe argued that it is not necessary true that for the economy to grow people have to be paid less but rather that it is possible for an economy to grow whilst workers are also paid a decent living wage. "Developed countries such as Sweden and Switzerland have long embraced the concept of efficiency wage rate because they knew how critical it was for sustainable development of their countries," said MP for Bonnington South Ndaba Gaolatlhe.

He posited that there is no country to date whose economy to date is progressing well that has not embraced the fact that workers are critical stakeholders in the economy and deserve to be paid a decent wage.

MP for Nata/Gweta Paulson Majaga also didn't spare government criticism saying as things are currently; Batswana are not living a decent life courtesy of the low wages they earn. He highlighted the fact that this anomaly was prevalent in both the private and public sector. According to Majaga it is disheartening to note that many workers' dignity was eroded away by the paltry remuneration they were getting from their formal employment. Majaga argued that government would not lose anything by increasing workers living wage. "If you pay people more you lose nothing but instead gain more," he said.

The outspoken legislator pledged his support for Ntlhaile's motion saying it advocated for the plight of all Batswana. Although the debate on the motion was completed, the house failed to vote on whether to pass it or not as they failed to form a quorum

press release

Budget 2018-2019 consolidates the welfare system and strengthen support to vulnerable segment of the society. Focus is laid on inclusiveness whereby every citizen has equal rights with regards their adherence into the mainstream society.

Measures have been crafted to include every segment of the social ladder as part of the economic and social development of the economy to ensure that nobody is left apart and are deprived of their social privileges. This endeavor is being translated into concrete action following the introduction of the Negative Income Tax and the Minimum Wage in the last budget which has created new dynamics and increased the purchasing power of those at the lower end of the economic ladder.

As a continuity to the social measures already in place, Budget 2018-2019 has taken a step further by introducing new sets of actions geared towards alleviating the livelihood of the vulnerable including children in distress, elderly and disabled. They are:

Rs 30 million for assistance in terms of wheelchairs, hearing aids, spectacles, and dentures

increase in the income threshold from Rs 10 000 to Rs 15 000 for persons benefitting from legal aid

rise in the monthly carer's allowance to bed-ridden persons under the Basic Invalid Pension from Rs 2 500 to Rs 3 000

full duty exemption on the purchase of a motor car of engine capacity of up to

1 600 cc to increase mobility of disabled persons

investment in public buildings infrastructure to make it easier for disabled persons to have access to public buildings

Rs 60 million for a new shelter at Pointe Aux Sables to support the rehabilitation and reintegration process of children in distress

two elderly day care centres at Bambous and Chemin Grenier

upgrading of existing shelters at: Oasis at Grand River North West, La Colombe at Pointe Aux Sables and Oiseau du Paradis at Cap Malheureux

specialised training for 50 carers initially with the collaboration of the MITD

increase by 40 percent in the monthly grant from Rs 6 071 to Rs 8 500 to employees of residential care homes and institutions caring mostly for elders with disabilities

provision for four psychiatric nurses to assist children with behavioural problems

construction of nine new children playgrounds and the upgrading of 19 existing playgrounds across the island

extension of the existing facility of Incontinence Allowance to Elderly Persons in the age group of 70 and 74 years

By Aalphadaffae Senkpeni

Monrovia — Maintaining performance on the Millennium Challenge Compact scorecard and a good implementation performance will be critical for Liberia to be considered for another grant, says Jonathan Nash, Chief Operating Officer of MCC.

Mr. Nash is currently in Liberia engaging the government about the successful implementation of the compact and says to be certified for another compact the country must pass the indicators to a certain extent.

Ruling justly, controlling corruption, rule of law, investing in people, increasing immunization rate, investing in health care and education, and promoting a business-friendly environment are some of the indicators on the scorecard that qualify a beneficiary.

Countries that do relatively well compare to their peers become eligible for the grant.

"To obtain a second compact, the board looks at the extent at which a country was able to deliver and have a high-quality implementation of the first compact. The board generally looks for improved performance on the scorecard over time as well," he said in Monrovia during a press briefing.

"I'm here to engage with President Weah and his administration to review the progress that has been made to date and to take a look ahead at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the completion of the particular compact."

In 2016, Liberian received a grant of US$257 million from the United States through the MCC to enhance its electricity and road projects.

These two sectors were earmarked as binding constraints - major factors hampering the growth of the country's economy - after a rigorous and comprehensive survey.

Before the survey, Liberia had already achieved an acceptable scorecard after passing 10 out of the 20 indicators to qualify for the grant.

Mr. Nash says the Liberian government must also remain committed to the implementation of the current compact.

He acknowledged that Liberia has in recent years passed some key indicators including controlling corruption, but suggested that the government must continue to peruse anti-graft, democratic and economic freedoms in order to do better on the scorecard.

The collating and maintaining the data of these indicators are done by a third party institution, and the MCC wants to introduce said institution to the Liberian government in order to help maintain sound policy performance.

Monie Captan, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Account- Liberia - the agency setup in country to manage the implementation of the grant, recently revealed that there are opportunities to pass more indicators.

Captan said the government should develop an action plan to ensure all of the ministries and agencies that are connected to these performances develop a clear policy action plan to boost performance.

"Sometimes we failed indicators because the reporting ministry did not provide the information that was needed to judge our performance," he said.

The US$257 million compact is largely supporting Liberia's electricity project, ensuring power accessibility and affordability and helping to buttress the country's road network.

The five-year compact is already into its half way stage and intends to impact an estimated half a million Liberians before ending in 2021.

The MCC top executive, who is visiting from Washington D.C, says the compact is a priority project for his country.

"We deeply value our partnership with Liberia, that's one of the reasons I'm out here," he added, stressing the impact of the "great things already achieve under the existing compact".

"We want to make sure that the government is able to implement the reminder of this compact with success so that the benefits are afforded to the Liberian people."

He praised the "tremendous accomplishment" of the compact on the Mount Coffee hydro project and said the MCC attention is now focusing on the establishment of the electricity regulatory body for the country, the training of technicians by the Liberia Electricity Corporation and transmission and distribution of power as well as implementation of the road component of the compact.

By Maureen Kakah

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has dismissed two cases challenging hiring of Cuban doctors by the national government.

Justice Onesmus Makau ruled that the Kenyan doctors who had moved to court failed to provide enough evidence to prove that the hiring of foreign doctors violated principles of national governance.

The judge said the petitioners failed to show that unemployed Kenyan doctors possess the same skills as the contracted Cuban medics.

But the judge faulted the government for not involving the public in the hiring of the foreign medics and for failing to advertise the jobs.

In response to the court decision, Kenya Medical Association said the discussion is set to continue in other forums, insisting the hiring was done contrary to international standards.

The Cuban doctors arrived in the country two weeks ago.

Cuban doctors and their roots in Che Guevara and Castro's dreams

WARIGI: Crank up the war against corruption; make it deep, painful and irreversible

Cuban doctors jet in

Court to decide fate of Cuban doctors

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki signed the contract to bring the 100 medical specialists to Kenya in April during her trip to Havana, Cuba's capital city.

During a visit to the Caribbean nation in March this year, President Kenyatta agreed to accelerate the deal that had been promised in 2017 to bring in the Cuban specialists.

President Kenyatta said the doctors would help plug existing gaps in county hospitals but the move has been widely criticised by health sector stakeholders.

By Manase Otsialo

Mandera County government has sent five human blood samples to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) for testing of a range of diseases.

The director of county public health services Abukar Abdi Sheikh cited Rift Valley Fever (RVF), dengue fever and yellow fever among others as the diseases to be tested from the samples send to the agency.

HIGH ALERT

"We are on alert due to high risk of suffering from a range of haemorrhage diseases which are already being reported in the neighbouring county," said Mr Sheikh.

According to Mr Sheikh, the blood samples sent to Kemri last week were taken from patients who complaint of joint pains, had fever and showed signs of bleeding.

Results from the research agency based in Nairobi are expected back on Friday.

Rift Valley fever kills two more in Wajir

Rift Valley fever kills two people in Wajir

Meat banned in Wajir over Rift Valley fever

Residents warned against use of animal products

Mr Sheikh said public education has since been rolled out to inform locals on signs and dangers of the deadly RVF ravaging Wajir County.

Some parts of Mandera West, Kotulo and Elwak are at risk of contracting RVF from Wajir due to livestock migration in search of pasture and water.

The public health officer said the porous border with Somalia and Ethiopia is putting Mandera at more risk than the neighbouring counties.

At least six people have died from RVF in Wajir since May when the disease was first reported.

RVF is a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis, which periodically causes disease outbreaks in humans and livestock and is known to have been endemic in sub-Saharan Africa since 1912.

Patients usually experience fever, generalised weakness, back pain, and dizziness at the onset of the illness and weight loss.

In animals, sheep and cattle may have nasal discharge, excess salivation, and loss of appetite, weakness, or diarrhoea.

A recent monitoring programme on the reef of the Aldabra atoll has shown an increase in coral cover but a decline in fish numbers, an official of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) said.

The coral cover, which is the percentage of reef that is covered by hard stony corals, showed a 51 percent increase in the fifth monitoring.

A total of 7,546 fish were recorded on 59 sections, said the SIF's science and project coordinator, Jennifer Appoo, which "represents an overall decrease of fish abundance of 38 percent compared to the previous season."

This was the second monitoring season carried out on Aldabra after the atoll experienced a devastating global coral bleaching between December 2015 and April 2016.

During the bleaching event, 51 percent of hard coral was lost from Aldabra's reefs and replaced by rubble and turf algae.

Aldabra -- a UNESCO World Heritage site -- is a remote and fragile atoll over 1,000 km southwest of the main island of Mahe. The atoll is considered one of the most biologically diverse and undisturbed raised coral atolls in the world, hence its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

In a survey conducted by the Seychelles Islands Foundation at the end of 2016 showed that despite higher ocean temperatures killing off almost 50 percent of all hard corals and a more severe loss of soft corals, the corals in the region were already beginning to recover.

Aldabra's reef resilience was put down to two factors: firstly, sea temperatures in the area have not reached dangerous levels this year, allowing the corals a welcome reprieve from temperature stress. Secondly, Aldabra boasts an abundance of herbivorous fish such as parrot and surgeon fish - unlike the inner islands.

Appoo said the atoll offers a unique opportunity to study marine ecosystem composition, processes and changes over time in the absence of substantial human pressure.

"Insights into how reefs such as Aldabra's respond to increased pressure will help to decide whether coral restoration should be considered at Aldabra or for other heavily impacted reefs," she said.

The science and project coordinator at SIF said that the marine data from Aldabra serves as a baseline which is extremely important considering the increasing threats to coral reefs nationally, regionally and globally.

On the question of the fish decline, Appoo said that herbivorous fish such as surgeonfish and parrotfish were the group that declined the most.

As to what could be done to replenish the fish stock, Appoo said that on Aldabra the team "do not interfere with natural processes and try as much as possible to limit human impact and interference on the atoll."

According to SIF in an interview last year, these are the two herbivores often found on the dinner plates of locals and visitors. SIF had said that it might be wise for the government to look at protecting these particular species from artisanal fisheries as they have the potential to keep the algae growth in check, thereby promoting coral recovery."

By Tewodros Kassa

Reverse engineering is taking apart an object to see how it works in order to duplicate or enhance the object. And it has played a significant role in the improvement of various engineering technological innovations.

Thus, utilization of new technologies expedites socio-economic transformations of countries. Countries like South Korea, China, Brazil, India and Iran are the dominant countries known for developing and utilizing Reverse Engineering towards the success of their economy.

This technology plays a crucial role in promoting technology exchange from countries that prosper with latest engineering, computer and other innovations. It adds value to international innovations and motivates local innovations. Thus, having the technology is fundamental in developing countries to meet its growing technological demand.

Experts in the area emphasized that undertaking reverse engineering would maximize the new generation to install well researched innovations in a way of recognizing the rights of the innovator. Experts also indicate that developing new technologies through reverse engineering helps to save foreign exchange earnings.

In Ethiopia, the sector is still at its bottom line compared to other countries due to the lack of inputs. But, new science and technology universities and other universities are doing their level best regarding with introducing this new subject area to the country.

Ministry of Science and Technology is the highest institution in Ethiopia to execute, promote and diversify technology related activities.

Ministry State Minister Shumetie Gizaw (Ph.D) told The Ethiopian Herald that the ministry is striving to strengthen practical teaching programme in the area. Reverse Engineering is important option to prosper with socio-economic aspects through the application of latest technological advancements, he added.

Having, reverse engineering highly supports the country's economy in various ways.

Recently, the Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTI) in collaboration with Bahir Dar University Institute of Technology organized a workshop themed: "Transforming the national development through exchanging, developing and reinventing reverse engineering".

Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTI) Deputy Director General Sandokan Debebe underlined that the improvement of technologies like in reverse engineering contributes more to facilitate and ease societal life.

As to him, some success stories have seen in the country regarding producing imported products locally through Reverse Engineering.

According to him, stove and dish oven, water heater and other day to day household instruments are the foremost results of Reverse Engineering in the country. The institute is working in collaboration with stakeholders prioritizing big engineering technologies development at home,

"Thus, the establishment of technology and Reverse Engineering Center is fundamental to compete with the developed countries along with new technological innovations."

Thus, students in the country are highly supported to prioritize the significant roles of the sector to the national economic transformation towards industrialization. Further to this, providing the necessary reverse engineering technology inputs to the students and institutions to work on the area should be prioritized in order to be successful in the sector.

For his part, Defense University Engineering College, Ass Prof. Ajit Palsin said that lack of technological inputs to practice reverse engineering, language barrier and the sector execution capacity hinders the country not to acquire the expected from the sector. But, the establishment of new Reverse Engineering Technology Center is important to facilitate the country's endeavors to promote its economy through technology exchange, he added.

This engineering sector seeks well trained, experienced and educated professionals. But, in Ethiopia it is facing some bottlenecks like brain drain of trained reverse engineering professionals. Thus, creating inter-universities and industries linkage, promoting youth innovators and supporting the sector financially is important to cope up with reverse engineering.

Generally, having well immersed Reverse Technology highly supports the economy of a given country, experts agree.

To sum up, the Ministry of Science and Technology is undertaking various actions in the efforts in motivating, practicing and developing Reverse Engineering in the country. Thus, the country's young and old science and technology universities are expected to contribute more in this regard.

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analysis By Ifeanyi Nsofor

NTDs affect about 1.5 billion people. Digital technology could turbo-boost progress in combating them.

Fabiano grew up close to a fast-flowing river that irrigates the land in Uganda's Nebbi District. Over the years as he farmed, he was repeatedly bitten by black flies that breed along the river banks. The bites caused constant itching. His skin thickened and discoloured until it resembled a leopard's. But far worse, Fabiano lost his sight. Because of this, his first son dropped out of school to become his father's guide.

Fabiano suffers from river blindness, or onchocerciasis, one of twenty Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) that affect about 1.5 billion of the world's poorest. That's more than one-sixth of the global population. Caused by a variety of bacterial, parasitic, viral and fungal infections, these diseases can lead to blindness, disfigurement, malnutrition, growth failure and cognitive impairment.

NTDs are hugely serious, but many are preventable, treatable and can even be eliminated. Last month, for instance, Nigerian health officials and the Carter Centre announced that river blindness was no longer a threat in two states and that two million people could now stop taking ivermectin, the drug given annually to treat the disease. This success was hard won: it followed almost 30 years of laborious mapping of high risk areas and decades of using community volunteers for mass drug distribution. Beyond these two states, however, about 115 million Africans, including 50 million Nigerians, remain at risk from the disease.

Turbo boosting progress

Many of those vulnerable to NTDs live in poor, hard to reach areas. This exacerbates the agonisingly slow pace of progress in the control and elimination of these diseases. But it is now time to pick up the pace. And today, we have access to digital tools that can turbo boost progress. Through applying digital technologies like mobile phones, drones, and satellite data, we can overcome obstacles such as distance, shortage of health workers, lack of health infrastructure, and poor road systems.

In Africa, data show that more people have access to mobile phone service than piped water. These devices could be used to educate the public and community health workers about disease risks, prevention and treatment. This could be done through SMS or Interactive Voice Response systems for less literate populations. Big data, drones and satellite technology could also be deployed to educate the public; train community health workers; deliver medicines; develop health strategies; and map diseases.

In fact, there are already several examples of technology being used to improve health outcomes in resource-poor settings.

In Uganda, for example, health workers use the mobile system mTRAC to ensure crucial medicines remain stocked across the country. mTRAC enables health workers to send reports by SMS, including real-time data to map inventories. When stocks are known, rural people can avoid travelling long distances to health facilities only to find that drugs are unavailable.

In Brazil, Facebook partnered with UNICEF at the height of the Zika outbreak. The social media site shared anonymous user data on posts about the virus, which showed that 58% were by men. Equipped with this information, UNICEF designed a programme specifically targeted at engaging men as allies in the fight. This underscored the potential value of Big Data combined with human-centred design.

The Global Trachoma Mapping Project, a UK-funded initiative implemented in 29 countries, also reveals promise. The programme uses android technology to collect data from 2.6 million people. This information is then used to pinpoint regions with a high risk of trachoma, allowing partners to target the delivery of the SAFE strategy (Surgery, Antibiotics, Face washing and Environmental improvements) for trachoma control.

In Rwanda, drones are now being used to transport blood to frontline health facilities. This technology be further utilised. Prevention of NTDs often involves community-wide drug distribution, for instance, but the safe movement of the medicines from cold storage to the ground level often presents major difficulties. Drones equipped with pouches could transport these drugs, avoiding the bottlenecks of bad roads, potential theft and long distances.

Coordinating and financing the fight against NTDs

The deployment of digital technologies will require funding of course. But in the long-run, these investments will save costs as they will accelerate the elimination of NTDs. In some cases, existing funds can be re-allocated. For example, drone technology could be funded from the same purse currently used for the road transport of drugs. In other cases, governments, private companies and donors should allocate the necessary funds.

In coming up smart solutions, partnerships between the health and technology communities will also be essential. Homegrown collaboration such as the "Health Meets Tech" hackathon planned in Abuja, Nigeria, provide key opportunities to generate creative solutions in real time.

If this all comes together the day that the bite of a black fly is no more than a nuisance will arrive much sooner, and people like Fabiano will be able to avoid lifetimes of pain and disability.

Ifeanyi Nsofor is Director of Policy & Advocacy for Nigeria Health Watch, CEO of EpiAFRIC, and a 2018 Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow.

ADDIS ABABA - Innovation is a prerequisite for Africa's transformation and all stakeholders must engage to facilitate greater collaboration, the Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) said.

The overwhelming view of the Summit which was conducted from June 6 to 8 aimed at nurturing, empowering and propelling African innovators and their solutions forward.

A multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder approach must be taken to ensure policies, investments and enabling ecosystems are put in place to support African innovation without hesitation.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Vice President for Africa at the World Bank, shared her view: "If Africa accepted that people have to be at the center, then we would be confronted with the fact that Africa's people problem is a productivity problem. And this productivity problem is an innovation issue. We need an upheaval and people in government who can overturn the old way of doing things."

"It is not a question of knowing what is right but doing what is right. We need to be tough with our leaders. It is a pre-condition for change." United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) former Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes said.

"We have a wave of transformation in Africa. There is political will to translate Africa's dreams into practical tools. We need to harness our negative energy and change it into dynamism."

From 600 applications of the 44 countries, a selected group of 50 innovators had a unique opportunity to engage stakeholders in discussing potential solutions to some of the blockages that are preventing solutions from going to scale.

In his final call to action, Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, co-Director of AIS, called for a bolder imagination about the future by Africans and a sense of urgency around Africa's transformation.

He noted that innovation is a prerequisite for Africa's transformation and that all stakeholders must engage to facilitate greater collaboration.

Africa must ensure greater self-reliance by mobilizing domestic funding to promote innovation and support our innovators. "We must build robust ecosystems for innovation in our respective countries on the continent. Africans cannot simply be consumers, nor can they outsource its development. We all must engage with a new sense of urgency to facilitate change."

AIS is an Africa-wide and home grown initiative aimed at harnessing the innovation potential of the continent.

The African State

The African nation-state is in a period of profound transformation, according to African experts interviewed for episode… Read more »

One of Europe's largest VC funds Partech Venture has launched an Africa Fund. Russell Southwood spoke to General Partners Cyril Collon and Tidjane Deme about what excites them and what they're looking for.

Cyril Collon, and Tidjane Deme got into VC investment out a desire to do something more meaningful than the long corporate slog. As Deme put it:"I was wasting away at Google and we said to each other, let's step out of the corporate comfort zone and do something meaningful. The question was then whether to launch a start-up business ourselves or build a proper network to get top tier partners in venture capital to think about Africa differently. In the end, we said let's raise a fund to invest in African start-ups. We both saw a lot of potential on the continent for start-ups to tackle fundamental problems". Collon had already lived (as a child) and worked on the continent for a large part of his life and was thus very familiar with both the problems and potential to be found on the continent.

The Partech Africa Fund was launched with commitments of around US$70 million and is continuing to raise funds. The objective is to close with €100 million ($122 million) by the end of the summer. The investors are a mix of institutional investors, DFIs, corporates and family offices. One third of the funds comes from family offices, High Net Worth individuals and entrepreneurs.

The corporates include Orange, Edenred (employer benefits), Gisse & Co (urban services like advertising spaces, shared bicycles and smart city services) and JCDecaux. The Africa Fund forms part of Partech Ventures overall portfolio of over US$1 billion in the last 18 months.

The thing that Collon and Deme hope will mark them out as different from other Africa investors is their ability to match the corporate need for innovation with start-ups that can bring about the changes they need to make:"The corporates will have a team on their side to absorb the information and we will invest and get things to proof of concept and contract quickly. This will be one of the main angles we'll develop and will be key in our strategy to being successful on the continent".

So how does the African start-up landscape look to them? Deme notes:"Despite the bad things said about African tech hubs, nearly everywhere has one and they are attempting to create start-ups. At the next level what has changed is in terms of the maturity of start-ups. We're seeing more and more start-ups ready for series A".

"Most funds are focused on Lagos, Cape Town and Nairobi which is where three-quarters of the investment has been made but it is not three-quarters of what's actually happening. There are places like Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Tanzania and Egypt that are not receiving attention from investors".

Although it has a clear idea of where it would like to invest, attitudinally it's looking for things that will set their pulses racing. Collon observes:"We're generalist and opportunist. It's what excites use. There's a lot of activity in fintech and we're excited by what enables downstream activities: financial inclusion, data and off-grid, the outcomes of fintech".

Their investment strategy has three pillars: fintech, mobile internet consumer services (entertainment, e-health), B2B enterprise segments and a cross-cutting theme, the informal economy. Under fintech it's looking for new ways to provide financial services through mobile, off-grid and things like insurance:"You're building in a different context in Africa."

It sees lots happening in the B2B segment and it's where it has made its first investment:"There's lots happening and it represented 10% of investment last year but only 3% the year before." It sees SMEs and informal businesses as a huge potential market. It wants to help the informal economy by using tech to solve problems people in it face.

Its first investment is in Nigerian start-up Trade Depot in which it has invested US$3 million. Collon lays out the why:"There are three levels of problem for FMCG distribution in Africa. There are big brands and importers, formal entities operating across Africa. For example, Coca Cola has 150 distributors. 2,000 informal wholesalers and 600,000 informal retailers. It's not able to see completely the distribution network below the first layer".

"It can't push promotions because intermediaries will eat it up before it gets to the customer. Wholesalers do the rounds (to see if an outlet needs more) and come back with only a half empty truck. It makes for expensive logistics. Retailers often need to close their shop to go off and get new orders. There's a need for a single platform for retailers and wholesalers using USSD. You then get paid by the brands and distributors".

"That's the FMCG space in Africa but it's also a description of most of the retail space in Africa. Trade Depot have come up with a very lean model. It's getting great response from FMCG brands it's talked to. It's got a great partnership with Coca Cola. It's spent at least two years meeting all the major brands at executive level and can bring this app to a Unilever or a Proctor and Gamble".

"We love the informal market because the impact (of start-ups like Trade Depot) is huge. We see e-commerce as a major trend. We believe it will go from about US$2 billion now to US$375 billion by 2025. The challenge is to provide tools that will help bring about that change".

It is in the closing stages of making other investments:"They are about addressing the digitization of the informal sector from the transaction side".

So what kind of start-ups is it looking for?:"There are many who are big only in say, Nigeria. We're not really going to be helpful to them. They need to have cracked one market and scaling and growth are the next step". It invests in Series A and B rounds with between 1-5 million euros and has the capability to make follow-on investment of between 10-15 million euros.

Collon and Deme feel that some of the current valuations of African start-ups are on the high side, something that they find frustrating:"When engaging with start-ups, some entrepreneurs in some sectors have been exposed to foreign investors. That's easy money and not really thought out. So you have first rounds with very high valuations. That's not our space so we sometimes have difficult conversations where valuations have been too high. We don't want to be the guy pushing for down rounds or flat rounds so we've had a few frustrating conversations".

The Africa Fund will work out of three offices on the continent: Dakar, Lagos and Nairobi:"When were thinking about the Africa team, we knew we had to sit in Africa. There is no (single) good place that works. Sadly the best place to put a team would be London or Paris but we like to be on the ground to get the context, We spend a week a month in Paris and the rest of our time in Africa".

"If you look at the entrepreneur in Lagos, he's often a "repat" (someone back from the diaspora) who knows Nigeria and Europe or the USA well but doesn't have contacts outside of these areas. African people (in a particular country) know their country and sometimes Europe. We should be able to open doors for them. For this reason, our team is larger than is typical in Europe".

So which start-up segments do they see as "over-traded'?:"It's not exactly over-traded but the off-grid energy model will require a lot of capital and it's not entirely proven. It's still in an early stage where a Series A is US$40 million out of a VC. Companies in the sector have begun to separate finance of commodity debt and the services through equity. Debt has doubled and trebled. We have looked at tools for platforms across the sector".

"On fintech, where rounds are very large, they are overtraded on some aspects. If you break it down, there are tons of start-ups doing payments but Fintech is not just that. The rounds and valuations are way too high".

By Bitange Ndemo

This past week, I participated as a panellist at the Kenya Institute for Policy Research and Analysis' (KIPPRA) annual conference on Building Resilience to Mitigate the Impact of Droughts and Floods.

The gathering follows increasing concern over frequent incidences of extreme weather conditions in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

KIPPRA data shows a declining cycle for droughts in Kenya. Until 1983/84, when the region experienced the most devastating drought - with Ethiopia being hit the hardest - the problem was not frequent.

There was a lull of six years in the period leading up to another drought in 1991/92 after which the frequency of droughts increased, with more droughts being experienced in 1995/96, 1999/2000, 2004, 2005/2006, 2009, 2011 and the latest 2016/17.

In between the droughts, the region saw devastating floods as recorded in 1982, 1985, 1997/98, 2002, 2006 and 2017.

Almost every year, sub-Saharan Africa experiences either severe drought or floods. Planning should be the core pillar towards achieving zero casualties from these disasters.

KNOWLEDGE UNEXPLOITED

With high unemployment, there should be no reason drainage systems in cities should be clogged to the extent that people drown in flooded streets. Yet these cities are collecting taxes from residents.

The advent of big data analytics has necessitated the metrological departments across the region to provide precise predictions of impeding disasters. That knowledge has, however, not been translated to effective preparedness.

Even with announcements that severe weather is expected, ordinary folks seem to be caught unaware by many of the disasters that have hit the region. This is largely due to lack of public education.

Planning, in my view, must be long range. From various data sources, the region will experience drought in the next two years and as such planning for drought should have started by now through gathering hay and converting it into silage and burying it in drought-prone areas within the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL).

Unfortunately, this will not happen but when disaster strikes, entire systems switch to reactive mode.

In Kenya, the government spent in excess of $300 million in trying to respond to the drought disaster of 2016/17.

THE FUTURE THROUGH DATA

As they say in medicine, prevention is better than cure. Much is needed to stay away from reactive responses to disasters to anticipating disasters and providing cheaper but sustainable solutions.

It is possible, for example, to develop water pans and harvesting hay throughout the ASAL regions during the rainy season and using them to mitigate drought.

There will be a need to train livestock farmers from these regions to adopt feeding methods that are more productive than the current random search for pasture that not only wears down the livestock but is of no significant monetary value.

The value from livestock farming comes from the weight the animals gain and this will never come from cattle that are permanently running a marathon.

The cost of converting pastoralists from the current cultural practices of animal husbandry to commercial production is by far cheaper than leaving the pastoralists to encroach on private property and causing damage or death to innocent human beings as was the case in Kenya's Laikipia County last year.

One of the problems is failure to develop an effective disaster risk management framework that brings together all the agencies responsible for disaster management.

The emerging technologies that will define the fourth industrial revolution have begun to show what the future will look like.

IBM'S GLOBAL INITIATIVE

Just two weeks ago in Paris, at the Viva Technology Conference, IBM and partners launched the Call for Code Global Initiative, the largest and most ambitious effort to bring start-ups, academics and enterprise developers together to solve one of the most pressing societal issues of our time: preventing, responding to and recovering from natural disasters.

To raise awareness and interest in the Call for Code, IBM is coordinating interactive educational events, hackathons and community support for developers around the world in more than 50 cities across the world. Here is how to join the call for code:

Developers can register today at Callforcode.org.

Projects can be submitted by individuals - or teams of up to five people - between June 18, 2018 and August 31, 2018.

Thirty semi-finalists will be selected in September. A prominent jury, including some of the most iconic technologists in the world, will choose the winning solution from three finalists.

The winner will be announced in October 2018 during a live-streamed concert and award event coordinated by David Clark Cause.

Additional details, a full schedule of in-person and virtual events, and training and enablement for Call for Code are available here.

DEVELOPING CAPACITY

During a keynote address, IBM chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty called on the technology industry "to help build a better future, committing IBM technology and $30 million over five years in the annual Call for Code Global Initiative. Its goal is to unite the world's developers and tap into data and artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud and Internet of Things technologies to address social challenges."

These technologies will rule the future in virtually everything, including management of natural disasters that have become a common feature in our part of the world.

Blockchain, for example, can bring together disparate systems that are currently supposed to manage disaster but which remain a hindrance to effective management due to their silo mentality.

The problem Africa will face in the coming years is how to develop the capacity to meet the future needs that are largely technology-driven.

An IBM press release in Paris says that the company's $30 million investment over five years will fund access to developer tools, technologies, free code and training with experts.

The winning team will receive a financial prize. Perhaps more rewarding, however, is that they will have access to long-term support to help move their idea from prototype to real-world application.

This includes ongoing developer support through IBM's partnership with the Linux Foundation.

ENVIRONMENT AND SELF-INTEREST

While technology will help humans achieve the impossible, there are many other tasks that must be done to effectively respond to climate extremes.

The landslides and deep gulleys that are being witnessed cannot be addressed with technology.

These are caused by our sins, destroying forests and creating flash floods. We must restock our tree cover.

This, I know, is difficult owing to our cultural practices of land subdivisions that are pushing people to build on steep slopes and loosening the soils, leading to landslides.

There must be a collaborative effort to develop culture 2.0 that holds the environment above their own selfish interests and begin a massive exercise of urbanising much of the overcrowded rural population.

There are no economic gains from excessive land subdivision and destroying the environment.

Sense dictates that we manage land resources collectively by encouraging large-scale farming that comes with economies of scale and building a sustainable future.

In the meantime, I call upon African developers to take advantage of the IBM offer simply because Africa has the advantage of great social challenges that can be turned into enormous opportunity.

The writer is an associate professor at the University of Nairobi's School of Business. Twitter: @bantigito

By Addisalem Mulat

Today's guest is Wassihun Teffera. He is an inventor. He was born and raised in Goljota village, Arsi Negele, West Arsi, Oromia State. At this point in time, he is a second year Electro Mechanical Engineering student at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (AASTU) found around Akaky Kaliti, Kilinto area. He is a member and founder of the Koket Group. He pursued primary and secondary education at his place of birth and Arsi Negele in that order.

Likewise, he is winning the hearts and minds of most people through his ground-breaking innovative works. When the innovator's works come into effect, they will undoubtedly take the country to a new chapter of success in no time at all. Nobody had expected the innovator would reach where he is in the present day. Most people were in the habit of pouring cold water on his efforts. They were constantly giving him the cold shoulder including his parents.

Considering Wassihun's great achievements in his world-shattering innovative works, he had been showered with a range of gold medals for three consecutive years from the Ministry of Science and Technology. Hence, he grew to be the talk of most people and high government officials within the shortest time possible. Time and again, he comes up with a range of innovative works which make the lives of the general public simpler and smarter. Just to mention a few, control smart home devices, smart lamp switch, digital stove, multipurpose oven, modern plastic road, different software applications and what not.

The Ethiopian Herald had a short stay with Wassihun Teffera with a view to acquainting readers with his world-shattering innovative works. Excerpts:

How did you get yourself involved in invention works?

As a child, I was dreaming of becoming a different person. I was dreaming of becoming an inventor. Over and over again, the idea was coming in and out of my mind. At that specific point, whenever I informed my friends a kind of apparatus I would like to invent down the road, they did not easily understand me.

Therefore, all my efforts went for nothing. Some time ago, as there was no electricity in our area, most radios were battery operated. As a child, whenever we talked about radio, my friends informed me the fact that there were people in the radio speaker. I was always eager to see the people.

At some point, before a cock crows, my dad left the house. In a little while, I embarked on unscrewing the radio. The radio was infested with cockroaches. But I could not find a single person in the left, right and center of the radio except loud speaker, transistors, tuning capacitor, long wave-medium wave switch, audio transformers, volume control, battery compartment and what have you. Nobody was around.

In due course, I failed to assemble the radio. I did not know what I had to do. I felt as if the whole sky was falling apart on me. I felt like a fish out of water. At first, I thought I could do everything standing on my head.

However, no matter how hard I made an effort, my dream could not come true. We were living a hand to mouth life. At the end of the day, when I directly applied electricity to the radio devoid of the knowledge of power basic management, it all of a sudden stopped working. In fact, I did not have an inkling of idea about the dos and don'ts of the radio. Thus, all my efforts went astray.

Flipping back to the gist, when I was a ninth grader, I set in motion actively engaging myself in invention works. As I have tried to mention so far, there was no electricity in our vicinity. Just then, I was using my own light bulb. It was my invention. I had my own power source, power supply, among others. For me, it was not a big deal. As invention was my hobby, I did not place much emphasis on my work values.

Tell us about chapter and verse of your first invention works.

As I was excellent at invention works, I was harvesting the fruit of success from time to time. As chance would have it, I put on show my first work in Arsi Negele concerning the celebration of the Anniversary of May 28.

At that specific juncture, I came up with thirteen models or so. It was held at Technical and Vocational Education and Training center. There was Innovative Center Members in the workshop. When I asked the teacher responsible for the center to allow me to join the center, he was not in the position to lend me his ears. He simply turned a deaf ear. Though I boldly told him the fact that I could do anything he wanted, he gave me the cold shoulder. He considered me as a good-for-nothing person.

Someday, I designed a free power system in a piece of paper and showed the teacher. This time, the teacher mockingly and sarcastically said, "You are a wonderful student. Nobody can keep abreast of you."

He made me a laughing stock. Nobody was on my side. He really made me feel small in this regard. I was not desperate for invention works no matter what the cost may be. I was constantly badgering the teacher. I did not easily give up hope.

At a loss what to do, the teacher ordered me to make a mini saw. I almost immediately made the saw because making the saw for me was bordering on a walk in the park.

Though the teacher could not believe his eyes, he was not willing to forward his appreciation. As a devoted student, I kept on spending my time in the library. As luck would have it, through hard work and determination, I made a stove.

How did the idea of making stove spring to your mind?

At some point, when I came within reach of a stove, it was very warm. After a long fight with my thoughts, I reached into a conclusion to make stove bringing into play a cartoon box. The stove was able to make a cake in 23 minutes time.

Moreover, it was possible to boil water on the stove in a short time. I grew to be the talk of all and sundry. All our teachers were taken by surprise.

Sooner or later, I joined the innovative Center Members with the purpose of making my dream become a reality. Except accepting the reality on the ground willy-nilly, the teacher could not utter a word. Everyone had full confidence in me.

Slowly but surely, I set in motion winning the hearts and minds of most people. I am not a money-oriented person. Everybody was fully interested in my presentation. To be quite honest, there is nothing which makes me happier than coming up with inventive works. My second work was known as control smart home devices.

What is all about control smart home devices?

As I bend over backwards time and again, I came up with smart home devices. When I was a high school student, I came up with inventive works. In plain language, if somebody in one's absence comes home, the device can easily sends information about the person using one's cell phone in the blink of an eye.

The only thing that we do is, we plant a certain small device somewhere in one's residential house. The device has got its own box comprising a range of things.

Be that as it may, I discovered a wireless power transmission. That means, electrical energy can be conducted from a power source to an electrical load devoid of interconnecting wires. Without exaggeration, it plays a major role in the place where linking wires are problematic, perilous and the like.

Do people encourage you to succeed?

Every so often, most Ethiopian high government officials encourage me. Everybody is happy at the moment. They believe in my innovative ability. When I was a high school student, Shiferaw Shigute, the former Ministry of Education came to see my work. After he saw the whole thing he forwarded his respect and appreciation. As well, he told me the fact that I would be a great man within the shortest time possible if I keep on working at that pace.

When, why and how did you establish Koket group?

I am founder and managing member of Koket group. By the way, in Afaan Oromoo language, Ko means mine and Ket means yours. Koket is officially established in 2018. The intended target of the association is to manufacture a range of machines in the country.

Moreover, it produces and puts up for sale a range of software applications. At the moment, we can design different machines with no trouble. We can do anything which could be done abroad. We can also design soft wares with no trouble.

At this point in time, all my efforts are bearing fruit. In the same way, we manufacture oven with a fair and reasonable price. Everything is at our doorstep.

While we are on the subject, I would like to compete with Samsung and LG Companies. I am fully confident in myself. I can do anything under the sun with no trouble. I have passed through many ups and downs to reach where I am today.

In fact, we design the stove for low-income-communities. We would like to make the lives of the general public simpler and smarter. Similarly, we can manufacture smart lamp switch.

For instance, if we go somewhere leaving switch light bulbs, televisions, stoves and other related aspects off, we can turn them off wherever we are without a distance barrier.

In this invention, we can win the hearts and minds of anyone in a jiffy. As we are living in the modern world, we can control everything as we wish. Everything is at our doorstep.

What other benefits do we secure out of the inventions?

We secure a lot of advantages out of the inventions. To elaborate, the country does not have an adequate amount of electric power.

In reality, electricity has been used in various government organizations. More often than not, most of them are not seen turning light bulbs off. Wastages are being witnessed in this regard.

However, if we apply smart lamp switch technologies in every nook and cranny of the country, we can minimize wastage. The invention is reliable and durable. In this fashion, we can achieve the intended target at the drop of a hat.

What about the plastic road?

We make asphalt roads out of plastics. We do a great job out of used plastics. If we take as an example, plastics have been spoiling the environment we live in from time to time.

By its very nature, we do not import asphalted road from aboard. But bringing into play used plastics, we can build attention-grabbing asphalt roads. For asphalt roads construction, we grind used plastics. This time, they turn out to be very tiny. Then, we melt small ingredients as they can carry a heavy load when they all come together.

As a matter of fact, there are techniques in which we do asphalt road. Nothing can affect plastic roads seeing that they are better than the normal asphalted roads in many ways. For example, if the roads are chipped, we can replace them with original ones.

After we get everything ready, we simply put down the readymade asphalted road on the road intended for this purpose. To be honest, the plastic road can easily melt anybody's heart. It is very strong.

If the asphalted road is chipped after twenty or so years, one can simply replace them with new ones. To be honest, asphalted roads do not retain water. But cobblestone can retain water without difficulty.

Here, the good thing is, the new technology can have power over everything. That means, the water can easily flow to any direction apart from smoothening the progress of the water system. The whole lot concerning the plastic road is over.

What we do need is only a sponsor at this point. We are hunting for sponsors. If prosperous people work with us, they can easily harvest the fruit of success.

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