Namibia weather forecast
In the morning of May 4, 1978, the South African Defense Force ran an air strike on camp Cassinga near the village of Cassinga, followed by a deployment of paratroopers. The camp was inhabited by exiled SWAPO sympathizers and their families. 165 men, 294 women and 300 children died in this attack. Later the same day the nearby camp Vietnam in the village of Tchetequela was also attacked. As of 2016 the graves are unmarked but the Namibian government plans to erect a memorial site.
Cassinga Day is a national public holiday in Namibia remembering the Cassinga Massacre. Commemorated annually on 4 May, the date "remembers those approximately 600 killed in 1978 when the South African Defense Force attacked a SWAPO base at Cassinga in southern Angola. Commemorations are marked yearly by ceremonies at Heroes' Acre, outside of Windhoek. These ceremonies are attended by many important national political figures, including incumbent President Hage Geingob and former Presidents Hifikepunye Pohamba and Sam Nujoma as of 2016
10 June 2021
Namibia in grip of Covid wave
The parliamentary sitting for today (10 June 2021) was cancelled due to Covid-19 cases reported among parliamentary staff.
This is a reflection of the exponential spike in the number of new infections, hospitalisations, and deaths recorded across the country over the last few weeks.
Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula in Parliament on Wednesday (9 June 2021) said the numbers are “alarming”.
The ministry on Tuesday reported a 25% positivity ratio from tests over a 24-hour period.
The deadly South African variant of the virus was confirmed in a “significant” number of Covid-19 positive cases.
Shangula reported that from 7 June Namibia reported a cumulative number of 59'092 confirmed cases and 912 deaths, compared to 355 deaths reported by 7 February.
In the last two weeks Namibia reported 5'761 new confirmed cases and 147 deaths.
The increased numbers are placing a huge strain on public and private health facilities.
The occupancy rate in most Covid-19 isolation and intensive care units ranges between 67% and 100% on any given day.
The ministry started with its vaccination roll-out on 18 March with donations of 100'000 doses of China's Sinopharm, and 30'000 doses of Covishield from India.
Namibia also received two consignments totalling 67'200 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility.
Shangula said more doses of vaccines are expected from Sinopharm through the African Medical Supply (AMS) platform.
By 7 June 76'259 people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, and 11'608 were fully vaccinated.
Motion on youth empowerment in offing
Landless People's Movement (LPM) MP Utaara Mootu will table a motion in Parliament on an 'integrated youth development strategy'.
She said the aim of the motion is to harness political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal instruments for the eradication of poverty among the country's youth.
Mootu said while the youth form the bulk of the Namibian nation, government's response over the last 31 years since independence has been “inadequate or misplaced”.
“The youth of Namibia are intentionally exposed to poverty and unemployment, worse than ever before,” Mootu said.
Mootu also called for an investment conference to attract investments to the newly opened Neckertal Dam in the south of the country.
Practical solution to water debts required
United Democratic Front (UDF) MP Dudu Murorua wants Parliament to debate and consider practical means that will help local authorities become self-sustaining in servicing their water debts to the national water utility, NamWater.
Many municipalities are in arrears with their water payments, payments they are not able to make and which leave them indefinitely indebted to NamWater.
Kasingo explains PAP chaos
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Loide Kasingo on 8 June 2021 said the abrupt chaotic ending of the fourth ordinary session of the fifth Pan African Parliament (PAP) was due to a succession battle between African regional blocks making up the legislative body.
Kasingo has led the Namibian delegation of lawmakers to the session in May in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Reporting to the Namibian Parliament this week, she said despite the principle of geographical rotation agreed upon by the African Union, the northern and southern African regions have been deprived of the leadership since the inception of PAP in 2004.
“This was the bone of contention in the recent session of PAP,” Kasingo said.
For the past 17 years, the presidency of PAP was held by eastern, central, and western African regions.
Kasingo said the opposition to the demands of rotation by western and some other regions degenerated into chaos, which warranted the suspension of the electoral process and the session.
- Agreement fails to wow
The 1.1 billion Euros to be paid over 30 years for the 1904 to 1908 genocide of Ovaherero and Nama communities the German government has agreed to pay as reparations will not go towards the Namibian government, but will be paid into a special vehicle to be set out.
This was said by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the resumption of the third session of the seventh Parliament yesterday (8 June 2021) in reaction to public criticism that the money might be diverted by government to fill the cash-gaps in the national budget.
The Namibian and German governments have been involved in a five-year long negotiation process – between 2015 to 2021 – consisting of nine rounds of negotiations on the genocide matter, and struck an agreement on 15 May this year.
Under this agreement, the two governments will set up a body – an implementation vehicle – that will be responsible for the implementation of the reparations programme agreed upon.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the money will be deposited into a fund that is separate and outside of the Namibian government national budget, stressing that it will not be used for other government programmes and activities.
“The reconstruction and reconciliation programmes processes will be transparent, and the amounts allocated to the affected communities will be solely dedicated to the implementation of the agreement,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
She said the governance of the fund will be on a trilateral basis, composed of representatives of the Namibian and German governments, and the affected communities.
The legal framework for the implementation vehicle will be developed in a transparent manner with the full participation of the affected communities, she added.
The two governments agreed to set up a joint declaration, a framework that will guide the process of acknowledgement of genocide, rendering an apology, and the payments of reparations by the German government, as well as future relations between the two countries.
The declaration will be signed by the foreign ministers, and once signed, it will be brought to the Namibian National Assembly for consideration and ratification.
Components of the declaration
The three components of the declaration are:
- Acknowledgement of genocide: Germany has agreed that the genocide committed by German imperial troops against the Ovaherero and Nama between 1904 to 1908 constitutes and fits the definition of genocide as prescribed in the United Nations Convention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948. It further agreed that a large number of Damaras and San communities were also exterminated.
- Apology: The German government agreed to render an unconditional apology to the affected communities and the people of Namibia for the genocide. This apology will be delivered by Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Namibia's National Assembly on a date yet to be agreed upon.
- Payment of reparations: Germany agreed to pay reparations in the form of monetary compensation for reconciliation and reconstruction programmes to particularly the affected communities.
Under the reconstruction programme, projects will be implemented in the Erongo, Hardap, //Kharas, Kunene, Khomas, Omaheke, and Otjozondjupa regions in the land reform sector, particularly for land acquisition within the framework of Namibia's land reform programme. Other areas to be covered are rural livelihoods, natural resources, rural infrastructure, energy, water supply, and technical and vocational education and training.
As far as the reconciliation programme goes, Germany committed to promote and support reconciliation between the peoples of the two countries through preserving memory work of the colonial era, in particular the 1904 to 1908 period, support for research and education, cultural and linguistic issues, and encouraging exchanges between the two nations.
Allocation of the funds
The two countries' governments agreed for the funds to be allocated over 30 years as followed:
- 50 million Euro for reconciliation
- 130 million Euro for renewable energy
- 150 million Euro for vocational training
- 100 million Euro for rural roads
- 130 million Euro for rural water supply and sanitation
- 540 million Euro for land acquisition and training
The agreement struck between the two governments has come under heavy criticism from the affected communities who feel that particularly the monetary compensation falls far short of the mark.
Traditional leaders from these communities have rejected Germany's money offer, and instead are now demanding N$8 trillion to be paid over a 40-year period, as well as a pension fund.
Opposition parties in parliament yesterday also denounced the agreement, and the declaration, accusing the Namibian government of having “sold out” and as having excluded the affected communities from the negotiations.
The affected communities suffered another defeat when the US Supreme court declined to hear the Ovaherero and Nama petition in a case brought by these communities against the German government there.
The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) in a statement on Monday (7 June 2021) acknowledged defeat, stating: “This marks the end of our legal campaign in the courts of the US but most certainly not the end of our struggle to achieve restorative justice for our people.”
The OTA called for a trilateral negotiating platform where the descendants of the Ovaherero and Nama communities are represented by their own chosen leaders, and “not by a proxy in any shape or form”.
Photo: Ovaherero captives of German imperial troops. Namibia National Archives
Appointments to Security Commission
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Loide Kasingo, has recommended the reappointment of Swapo Party MPs Evelyn !Nawases-Taeyele and Leevi Katoma on the Security Commission.
President Hage Geingob has the power to appoint the two ministers.
The commission makes recommendations to the President on the appointment of the Chief of the Defence Force, the Inspector-General of Police, and the Commissioner-General of Correctional Service, and other functions assigned to it by an Act of Parliament.
Clarity sought on perks after retirement
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani wants to know how many former senior civil servants and political office bearers are entitled to perks after retirement.
Venaani wants to know how many retirees are exempted by the executive powers to use perks they are ordinarily not entitled to, and asked that Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila quantify by detailed account all beneficiaries of perks in retirement.
“What are the entitlements of the first and second ladies of the Republic? How many vehicles in total are in use by retired officials of the state and what is their monetary value?” Venaani asked.
Green scheme tender award under spotlight
Landless People's Movement (LPM) MP Henny Seibeb is suggesting that a N$32.4 million green scheme tender has been wrongfully awarded to a company called Aloe Agricultural Trading.
He charged that Aloe Agricultural Trading has no experience in green scheme installations, and that two other companies with the relevant experience and have far lower tendered prices – N$19 million each – were both ignored.
Seibeb said the registration of Aloe Agriculture Trading with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) in 2018 conveniently coincided with the approval of funds by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
“How come this company was given the tender? Was there insider trading?” he questioned the Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta.
A N$130 million project is funded by the GCF through the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) for the Implementation of Improving Rangeland and Ecosystem Management (IREMA) in the Kunene region.
Seibeb said upon receiving the funds, the EIF management decided to adjust the approved project activities by introducing the Design, Build, Operate and Transfer (DBOT) of Warmquelle and Khowarib green schemes.
Aloe Agricultural Trading was appointed to renovate and install new green schemes facilities at Warmquelle and Khowarib.
In addition, the EIF gave a 20-year concession to Aloe Agricultural Trading to operate and manage the two green schemes.
Seibeb said Aloe Agricultural Trading will generate income and make profits for the shareholders from the two green schemes for the next 20 years while not investing any of its own money into the ventures, while the GCF investment was supposed to directly benefit the people of Kunene as per the funding proposal.
Consultant considers feasibility of rail-connectivity
The Ministry of Works and Transport has appointed MR Technofin Consultants to do a feasibility study for the railway extension, or link, on the Trans-Kalahari railway line.
The 12-month contract was signed on 10 March 2021.
The Namibian government has received a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the implementation of its Transport Infrastructure Improvement Project (TIIP).
One of the project's components – the feasibility study for the railway link between Namibia and other SADC countries - is being co-funded by the Namibian government and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Works minister John Mutorwa said the objective of the study is to consider the Trans-Zambezi extension of the railway to attract additional freight from Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern DRC, and Angola to the Port of Walvis Bay.
The largest commodities targeted are minerals exported from the region, complemented by other imports and regional trade.
The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) during the 2019/21 financial year has allocated N$959.3 million to previously disadvantaged Namibians, an increase from N$483.5 million in the previous financial year.
N$121.7 million approvals supported women-owned businesses, and N$149.5 million approvals went to youth-owned enterprises.
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi said the approvals are distributed across all 14 regions of the country, with Khomas taking up 41.9%.
He said the bank finance is projected to create 8'130 new permanent jobs lasting more than three years, and 1'693 temporary jobs. Of these, 645 permanent jobs are projected in small-and medium enterprises.
Shiimi said the reduction of collateral requirements is now provided for under the collateral guarantee scheme for SMEs, and a skills-based lending facility for youth entrepreneurs has been launched.