Friday, 31 May 2013


The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Angola Chapter has sworn into office new members of its governing structures, which will be headed up by freelance journalist Alexandre Neto Solombe.
The ceremony, held in the amphitheatre of the journalists’ training centre, CEFOJOR, in Luanda on 10 May 2013, was attended by MISA Angola members, journalists, as well as selected national and international guests.
Tomas de Mello, Radio Ecclesia’s Margareth Nanga, New Newspapers’ Ana Marly and Zenilda Volola were among the new members elected into office.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Solombe pledged the Chapter’s renewed commitment to the principles enshrined in the Windhoek Declaration, stating that he would faithfully accomplish the responsibilities of his term and ensure that the Chapter adhered to its founding statutes.
Following his inauguration, Mr. Solombe received the electoral commission and the 29th general ordinary assembly reports. He was further issued with the office’s instruments of power, namely the hall stamp from the outgoing general assembly chairperson.
The ceremony included the investiture of the Chapter’s newly appointed General Assembly Chairperson, Salvador Freire, by his predecessor, Isaac Neney, who further reported on the Chapter’s activities during his tenure.
MISA Angola has extended an invitation to MISA’s Windhoek-based Regional Secretariat to assist the Chapter in rolling out a programme in Angola.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


The Zambia Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA) has announced that the cotton marketing season has commenced - with ginning companies setting their own individual prices for cotton this year.   
Although not involved in price-making decisions, the ZCGA noted that current prices of around KR1.8 to KR1.9 per kilogramme are reasonable based on world lint prices and that farmers should begin delivering their crop.
ZCGA Executive Secretary Bourne Chooka further said that prices being offered in Zambia compete favourably with regional producer prices, and urged farmers to take advantage of early trading to ensure prompt payment for their cotton.
“Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the onset of the cotton intake to deliver their crop promptly to the designated ginners' buying points,” he said. Overseeing high standards in Zambia’s cotton industry, he added that any cotton delivered containing foreign body contamination such as water or sand will be confiscated without payment.
“It is important that Zambia continues to improve the quality of cotton which is retailed on an international market,” he said. “Appropriate action will be taken against farmers responsible for such contamination, and only quality, clean cotton will be bought,” he added.
Throughout Africa, the price of seed cotton is tied to the international price of lint - raw cotton after ginning - in US$ per kilogramme, and determined by global stocks. This phenomenon can be best illustrated by remembering what happened in 2011, when flooding in Pakistan, bad weather in China and India among other factors wiped out roughly a quarter of the world’s cotton crop, triggering a shortage on the international market and pushing seed cotton prices to record highs.  
World lint prices then crashed the following season with excessive production worldwide due to the previous price-high and have since stabilised. Considering that the price of lint is determined by factors outside of Zambia, the price currently being offered to farmers of between KR1.8 to KR1.9 per kilogramme is in line with other countries in the region.
This year, ginners have invested roughly ZMW 87 million in advance loans to farmers in the form of inputs and more in training farmers in improving cotton yields and quality. Cotton is a very important crop for the 300,000 Zambian farmers and roughly 1.5 million families who depend on it. 
Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s fourth largest cotton exporter, accounting for almost 10 percent of the world’s cotton, placing it among the region’s most important agricultural exports together with coffee and cocoa. Today, Zambia’s cotton industry contributes US$ 60-70 million to the economy every year. ENDS.
Note to Editors:
Pictures attached
The Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA) is a body registered under the Societies Act Cap 119 of the Laws of Zambia. The body’s main objective is to provide a framework for cotton ginning companies to self regulate their activities and to establish, promote and manage integrated seed cotton pre-financing, production and marketing. It regulates ginning companies in respect of out grower schemes for the cultivation of seed cotton in Zambia and allocates members to represent ginners on the Cotton Board Zambia and Cotton Development Trust as well as other bodies. The body is also responsible for addressing financial losses caused to Members by practices such as pirate buying, side selling and partial pre-financing of inputs.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Yesterday, I joined non-governmental organization (NGO), community, and health care leaders at a ceremony held to honor those whom we have lost to AIDS in Tajikistan and throughout the world.  This year in Dushanbe, the International AIDS Memorial Day ceremony was conducted for the second time at a public City Health Center, rather than at an NGO or AIDS Center, marking a growing acceptance by front-line health care workers of the key populations at higher risk who come to their facility for services. The ceremony was a time to mark the many steps Tajikistan has made in the fight against AIDS, but it was also a time to remember the suffering and loss experienced by many and to call on the community for greater acceptance and support of those in need.
Health care workers and community members
honor the lives lost to AIDS in Tajikistan.
Photo Credit: USAID
Since 1991, over 800 people in Tajikistan have died due to AIDS-related illnesses. As pointed out by Sevar Rahimovna Kamilova, a brave woman who leads an HIV-focused NGO here in Tajikistan, “Those lost to AIDS come from all genders, ages, religions, social strata, and professions.” Ms. Kamilova also shared that in Tajikistan now, almost 5,000 people are officially registered as HIV-positive. Of these, less than a third receive anti-retroviral therapy. Pulod Jamolov, director of a local NGO that supports people who inject drugs, movingly described why so few HIV-positive individuals are tested and receive treatment. “Discrimination and stigma directed at HIV-positive people result in a reluctance to do anything that would make their status known – including discussing risks with health care workers when they have medical needs, seeking out an AIDS Center to get tested, or receiving the free treatment offered by the government through support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.” This fear, combined with ignorance of available options, means that many people will die who don’t have to.
Yesterday’s ceremony brought home to me yet again the importance of the work that USAID, PEPFAR, and its partners are doing to reduce stigma and discrimination in Central Asia and to support key populations to access testing and treatment. As the event came to a close, the crowd kneeled as they were led in prayer by a local imam. I looked out at the many white-clad medical workers in the crowd – each braving the noonday heat to honor a group of people that, perhaps just years ago, they would have disdained. International AIDS Memorial Day is indeed a sad day, but it is also a day of hope, courage, and possibility.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


African presidents on Sunday supported a petition calling on the International Criminal Court to drop crimes against humanity charges facing President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
The leaders want the trials sent back to the national courts.
However, an international human rights NGO was on Sunday pushing back, asking the African leaders to reject what they saw as an attempt to shield Kenyan leaders from justice. The motion for the petition was brought by Uganda and was said to have the support of 53 presidents.
Formal communiqué
Only the President of Botswana opposed it, arguing that the ICC should be allowed to handle the case in accordance with its mandate.
President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are charged at the ICC in connection with the 2007 post-election violence in which more than 1,000 died and 600,000 others displaced.
African leaders are attending the 21st ordinary session of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which also marks 50 years of the Organisation of African Unity, later renamed the African Union.
At the time of going to press, the presidents had not issued a formal communiqué which, together with the details of the vote and resolution, is expected on Monday.
Speaking in Addis Ababa, the President of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, Ms Sophia Akuffo, said there are ongoing processes to expand the jurisdiction of the court to include certain types of international crimes.
She said the court does not have the instruments to handle such cases.
“Kenya has not applied for the transfer and even if it does, there are absolutely no procedures in place on how to make that possible currently,” she said.
The African Union membership roster contains 54 states.
Amnesty International opposed the Ugandan petition and asked the AU to throw out the resolution calling for the ICC cases to be referred for trial in Kenya.
“The African Union must reject Kenya’s attempts to shield its leaders from being held to account for the human rights violations that took place in Kenya in 2007-2008,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director, in a press statement.
Earlier, Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kuteesa, who pushed the motion to have the resolution adopted by the Heads of State, pushed for an end to the cases.
Have raised concern
“We are asking the ICC to stop the prosecution... if not, then they should re-investigate the cases because there are a lot of falsehoods that led to the prosecution of these individuals.”
The AU might also want an assurance that President Kenyatta will not be humiliated when he goes to The Hague for the opening of his trial scheduled for July 9, a matter which is said to have raised concern among Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) member states.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni is said to have told Heads of State from East and Horn of Africa meeting under the umbrella of Igad on Friday night that the ICC was not sincere on the Kenyan case.
“ICC should tell us if they plan to detain [Mr] Kenyatta. They should give us an explanation if he is going to come back to Kenya because the information we are receiving is different,” Mr Museveni was quoted as saying.
During the talks, Zambian President Michael Sata told Kenyans to deal with their problems locally.
“Where was the Hague when Africa was fighting for independence? If you find a Kenyan or Zambian President at fault, let the Kenyan or Zambian people deal with him, not the Hague,” he said.