Namibia launches program to combat land degradation

Namibia, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), yesterday launched the country’s Dryland Sustainable Landscape Impacts Program project, which aims to use an integrated landscape approach to reduce, reverse, and avoid further land degradation in northern parts of Namibia.

Speaking at the launch, Namibian Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said the region is facing extensive degradation due to deforestation, unsustainable land use, and production practices, worsened by the impacts of global climate change.

The project seeks to transform the management of production systems within Namibia’s Miombo-Mopane Woodlands using an ‘integrated landscape approach’ that is focused on avoiding, reducing, and reversing land degradation, Shifeta said, adding that it will focus on parts of the Oshikoto, Omusati, and Kavango East regions, where land degradation is greatest, over the next five years.

The project seeks to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2040, in line with the goal of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

According to Shifeta, the project is composed of three components, focusing on the enabling environment, practical application of sustainable land and forest management practices, and strengthening knowledge, learning, and collaboration on LDN-related matters.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

NWR wins PMR Award for Conservation and Tourism

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) has won the PMR Africa Diamond Arrow Award for Doing the Most for Conservation and Tourism in Namibia.

The PMR Africa Awards honour excellence across a number of industries in Namibia. It uses a surveying and research process to determine the winners.

In a press release issued on Thursday, NWR Managing Director Matthias Ngwangwama stated that the Diamond Arrow Award is the highest level of recognition that PMR Africa can bestow and demonstrates NWR’s commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism.

He said NWR operates several campsites, lodges and resorts throughout Namibia, all of which are located in or near protected areas such as national parks and reserves.

“Despite the difficulty in identifying a winner, it is always fulfilling to be recognised as doing

something good. Therefore, we are thrilled to receive this award and to be recognised for our efforts in promoting conservation and sustainable tourism in Namibia. We dedicate this award to all our diligent and hardworking employees who, despite various constraints, are ever committed to meaningfully contribute to hospitality and tourism service as well as sustainable tourism,” he said.

The promotion of responsible tourism practices to visitors, as well as the adoption of eco-friendly practices like solar power and waste management systems, demonstrate NWR’s dedication to conservation and sustainable tourism, he continued.

In order to aid conservation efforts in Namibia, the company has also partnered with conservation groups like the KAZA TCI (Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Initiative).

Through these programmes, NWR actively promotes conservation and eco-friendly travel in Namibia, said Ngwangwama.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Man arrested for alleged possession of pangolin skin at Otjiwarongo

A 30-year-old man was arrested at Otjiwarongo on Thursday after he was allegedly found in possession of a pangolin skin valued at N.dollars 50 000.

Namibian Police Force (NamPol) spokesperson in the Otjozondjupa Region, Inspector Maureen Mbeha in an interview with Nampa on Friday said the arrest was intelligence driven.

The man was arrested on charges of possessing and dealing in controlled wildlife products without a permit.

Mbeha said the suspect reportedly travelled from Walvis Bay in the Erongo Region to Otjiwarongo, where he intended to sell the skin to a local businessman for N.dollars 6 000, Mbeha said.

“We seized the skin from him at about 14h40,” she said.

The man was being held at the Otjiwarongo Police Station and police investigations continue.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Namibia Dairies concerned about looming drought crisis in the south

Namibia Dairies, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List Group which owns the !Aimab Superfarm at Mariental, has expressed grave concern about the looming drought in the Hardap region.

The Hardap Dam water levels currently stand at 42 per cent, which increases the likelihood that southern Namibia will experience another drought disaster, which will be detrimental to businesses.

The !Aimab Superfarm currently employs 68 Namibians and has 1 800 cows that produce 35 litres of milk per day, and between 29 000 and 33 000 litres per month.

Group Manager for Corporate Relations at Ohlthaver & List, Roux-Che Locke in a recent interview told Nampa that the lack of water would result in no agriculture, which would have an impact on not only the dairy farm, but also all other activities that support the local economy, and unemployment could increase.

”As part of the business community of the Hardap Region we implore all stakeholders to engage in order to find effective management strategies for our national assets, especially where it affects us in ways such as water conservation and alternative feed sources that can help mitigate some of these challenges,” she said.

Currently, the demand for raw milk in the area is much higher than the supply. South Africa faces the same issue, so this is a current regional problem. The super farm currently supplies around 65 per cent of the current local raw milk supply, according to Locke.

She further said milk is collected in the milk parlour three times daily and tanked to be sent to the manufacturing and processing facility in Windhoek.

The rotary milk plant, which was installed in August 2009, is one of the biggest in southern Africa. It provides raw milk to the Namibia Dairies Manufacturing Plant.

The 250 hectares of land irrigated at the !Aimab Superfarm has its own agronomic arm and is supplied with water from the nearby Hardap Dam.

The farm plants two crops each year: maize in the summer and wheat in the winter, both of which are harvested in May and June.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Suspects arrested with elephant tusks, pangolin skins

A 30-year-old man was arrested at Otjiwarongo yesterday after he was allegedly found in possession of a pangolin skin valued at N.dollars 50 000.

Namibian Police Force (NamPol) spokesperson in the Otjozondjupa Region, Inspector Maureen Mbeha in an interview with Nampa today said the arrest was intelligence driven.

The man was arrested on charges of possessing and dealing in controlled wildlife products without a permit.

Mbeha said the suspect reportedly travelled from Walvis Bay in the Erongo Region to Otjiwarongo, where he intended to sell the skin to a local businessman for N.dollars 6 000, Mbeha said.

“We seized the skin from him at about 14h40,” she said.

The man was being held at the Otjiwarongo Police Station and police investigations continue.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Quantity surveyors an endangered species: Onashile

The president of the Africa Association of Quantity Surveyors (AAQS), Obafemi Onashile, said Friday that quantity surveyors need to be included by the government in the development infrastructure projects in Africa.

The AAQS president said this during a press conference here on Friday, hosted by the Institute of Namibian Quantity Surveyors, to bring awareness to the importance of quantity surveyors to look at the cost of projects so that it has a higher success rate.

He said many infrastructure projects remain unfinished because there is no quantity surveyor on the project team.

“Quantity surveyors should be able to participate in developing infrastructure projects and be developed enough to advise the government on these projects,” Onashile said.

Concurring with this statement, AAQS member Matthew Ngulube said quantity surveyors should advise the government and members of an infrastructure project on appropriate funding.

Ngulube highlighted the importance for the government to introduce a policy to make provision for local contractors to be more involved in projects instead of relying on foreign contractors.

“Foreign contractors often help build infrastructure and then disappear, leaving Namibians behind to deal with the debt,” he said.

He said local contractors in African countries are endangered because their government often turns to foreign contractors to join infrastructure projects.

Onashile added that the agriculture and construction sectors are the most productive, making it one of the most important sectors, especially in Namibia with the green hydrogen projects and oil discovery.

He said that as Africa lags behind in the construction sector, provision needs to be made to use local contractors.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Namibia Dairies enhance the lives of local farmers

Namibia Dairies, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List Group which owns the !Aimab Superfarm at Mariental, has expressed grave concern about the looming drought in the Hardap region.

The Hardap Dam water levels currently stand at 42 per cent, which increases the likelihood that southern Namibia will experience another drought disaster, which will be detrimental to businesses.

The !Aimab Superfarm currently employs 68 Namibians and has 1 800 cows that produce 35 litres of milk per day, and between 29 000 and 33 000 litres per month.

Group Manager for Corporate Relations at Ohlthaver & List, Roux-Che Locke in a recent interview told Nampa that the lack of water would result in no agriculture, which would have an impact on not only the dairy farm, but also all other activities that support the local economy, and unemployment could increase.

”As part of the business community of the Hardap Region we implore all stakeholders to engage in order to find effective management strategies for our national assets, especially where it affects us in ways such as water conservation and alternative feed sources that can help mitigate some of these challenges,” she said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Uutoni appeals to NHE striking employees to resume work

Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, has appealed to the striking employees of the Namibia Housing Enterprise (NHE) to resume work to avoid the NHE ship from sinking.

Uutoni said this to the striking employees on Friday as they handed over their petition outside the ministry to NHE’s Chief Executive Officer, Gisbertus Mukulu, and other ministry employees.

The employees asked Uutoni to intervene on their behalf and ask the NHE management and board of directors to engage in dialogue with them to resolve the industrial action.

Uutoni said unemployment in Namibia is high and he does not want the NHE ship sinking as it would add to the number of unemployed people in the country.

“Let us handle our ship well together so that we do not sink because if we are here outside and there is no income the NHE ship will sink and no one is going to survive. NHE is our baby, they are our employees, so let us all work together,” Uutoni said.

The minister said he will hand over the petition to the newly appointed board of directors and the CEO to analyse.

Public Service Union of Namibia (PSUN) Secretary General, Matheus Haakuria, said NHE does not want to engage in dialogue with the union and employees will not return to work until they receive a letter from the NHE management and board for a negotiation meeting.

“We are not moving one inch. We are going to wait until we see a letter saying ‘Come this day, let’s start negotiating’ from the NHE management and board,” he stressed.

In the petition read by Kaakuria, the employees said NHE has been threatening workers with no work, no pay principles and retrenchment.

“There will be no retrenchment at NHE. If this exercise ought to start, it will be first the removal of the current chief executive officer and his management,” he said.

Mukulu on Tuesday called on the striking employees to return to work as salary increments are not possible due to the challenging economic climate.

The employees have been on strike since 24 February.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Residents of Okakarara allegedly grab land

Nearly 150 residents of Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region allegedly started grabbing townland this week at a rapid speed.

Okakarara Mayor, Asnath Jazukuka in an interview with Nampa on Friday said the portion of land being occupied illegally is situated opposite the Kambazembi Royal Traditional Authority, where members of the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia are also building houses.

Jazukuka condemned the action, saying it is illegal and allegedly politically motivated by those who lost to her during the previous regional and local authority elections.

“We are not going tolerate their behaviour,” she said.

Jazakuka then announced a decision by the town council which was taken Friday morning, of relocating the alleged land grabbers.

She said the suspected land grabbers will be relocated to a portion of land situated between Okakango informal settlement and Pamwe residential area at the town.

She further said the same meeting agreed to charge those who accept the relocation offers N.dollars 5 000.

“The money as a contribution fee towards the local authority’s emergency fund that will be used to channel water and create street roads for the new location, is not negotiable,” she said.

Those who refuse to move will be dealt with individually and forced out using all legal means, said Jazukuka.

Okakarara Town Council management committee chairperson, Golden Katjatako said the local authority councillors are united on the issue and are against any land grabbing.

“We will make sure the decision taken Friday at the meeting is implemented by next week, as some of the suspected land grabbers also attended it,” said Katjatako.

He further stated that the activity which started last week is getting out of control as now a total of 50 temporary structures have been erected by some of the 150 residents on-site.

Katjatako added that some land grabbers who erected structures Thursday night and Friday morning allegedly travelled from as far as Windhoek, Outjo, Okondjatu, Walvis Bay and Okamatapati.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Otavi residents march against increase in drug use

OTJIWARONGO, 03 MAR (NAMPA) – Nearly 30 residents of Otavi in the Otjozondjupa Region on Friday staged a peaceful demonstration calling for immediate action against alleged increasing drug abuse at the town.

The aggrieved residents, the majority of them parents, singled out cannabis, crack cocaine and alcohol as the substances destroying their family members and the futures of their children.

They held a march from the community hall to the Otavi Police Station, where they handed over a petition to the station commander, Chief Inspector Hendrina Amutenya.

In their petition, the residents demanded increased police visibility in residential areas, as well as the monitoring and arrests of all those dealing in drugs.

The community members stated that some houses at Otavi are known to be hubs of different drugs, but the suspects are allegedly roaming freely in town.

They also demanded regular street patrols, mostly over weekends when these activities spike.

The community members further called on the Namibian Police Fore to thoroughly investigate all criminal cases related to drug abuse which they opened at the Otavi Police Station in 2022 and 2023.

“There are also underage boys and girls who are normally hanging at bars, and this is unacceptable, we want to see all minor children barred from entering liquor outlets,” they said.

The community members threatened to take the law into their hands should NamPol fail them or fail to act on their petition.

Chief Inspector Amutenya received the petition and thanked them for staging a peaceful demonstration.

She further promised to forward their petition to the relevant NamPol offices at the headquarters in Otjiwarongo.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Venaani suggests financial aid for flood affected communities

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani has said there is a need to develop a financial aid package for flood-affected communities in northern Namibia.

Tabling his motion in Parliament on Tuesday, Venaani said flood-affected communities need financial aid as their livelihoods are also impacted by flooding.

Heavy rains were received in the north-eastern parts of Namibia in the Cuvelai catchment area during the second week of January this year.

This resulted in flooding in Ondjiva and surrounding areas, where over 670 homes in the Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshana regions were affected.

Over 300 people have been placed in temporary shelters, while countless numbers lost their livelihoods as crops and businesses have been destroyed.

“Most people in the Oshana Region live in rural areas, with their income highly dependent on subsistence farming. Many farmers lose the majority of their annual harvest, as well as their livestock, jeopardising their income and food sources,” Venaani said.

He said Cabinet approved an amount of N.dollars 72 million on 14 February this year for the provision of relief assistance to flood-affected communities. The relief assistance will amongst others include the provision of water, tents, food items, mosquito nets, hygiene items, life jackets, blankets and mattresses.

“Whilst this is certainly a necessary intervention on the part of government, it is not adequate and does not meet the needs of the affected communities,” the PDM leader said.

He added that lives have been uprooted and mosquito nets and tents will not restore these lives, hence the need for Parliament to debate the need for a financial package for the flood-affected communities.

Venaani gave an example of Australia, where the equivalent of N.dollars 600 million was availed as a disaster relief package in 2022.

Of that amount, N.dollars 100 million was for financial aid for the affected communities.

He noted that a similar measure could be put in place for the communities in northern Namibia.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Namibia, Botswana to allow IDs as travel documents at border posts

Namibia and Botswana will on Friday sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will allow citizens of the two countries to use their national identity cards as travel documents when crossing their borders.

The MoU will be signed at the Mamuno/Trans-Kalahari border post in the Omaheke Region.

A media statement issued on Tuesday said this cross-border arrangement will only apply to citizens of the two countries who are in possession of the new identity cards, which have a barcode.

In Namibia the new identity cards, which also do not feature fingerprints, were launched in October 2021.

“These new identity cards will be only used as travel documents between Namibia and Botswana, and citizens of both countries are now encouraged to apply for the new identity cards,” the statement added.

The signing of the MoU is expected to be witnessed by several government officials from both countries.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

NPC looking forward to competing in first-ever African Games

Namibia National Paralympic Committee (NNPC) secretary general, Michael Hamukwaya, has said the stand-alone African Paralympic Games will offer athletes the opportunity to improve their performance ahead of the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.

The first-ever African Paralympic Games are scheduled for 04 to 12 August 2023 in Accra, Ghana. This will be the first time a continental Paralympic competition will be held as a stand-alone event. Previously, the competition formed part of the African Games.

In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, Hamukwaya said the Para Games will make it easy for Africans to compete at home instead of travelling to Europe or elsewhere to qualify for the Paralympic Games.

“America, Asia and Europe have their games. But for Africa, we have always been squeezed into the able-bodied games which meant that events were left out,” he said, adding that the stand-alone games will allow many athletes to compete in different sports codes.

The NNPC secretary general stated that he is happy to see the dream coming to fruition, but noted that more sports codes should be added to future Africa Paralympic Games.

“The Paralympic Games have 24 sports codes and our maiden edition in Africa will have seven codes. This means many athletes are left out, but it’s the beginning and we have to celebrate this milestone,” Hamukwaya said.

Samson Deen, president of the African Paralympic Committee and the National Paralympic Committee of Ghana, recently told Nampa that Morocco was elected to host the African Paralympic Games in 2019, but it did not take place. He said Ghana then took up the challenge and he is confident that they will deliver a great event.

“Being the first-ever edition without any records or framework, it is expected that there will be some initial technical, administrative, logistical and organisational challenges. However, this notwithstanding, I do not doubt Ghana’s readiness and ability to organise and deliver the games,” he said.

Deen added that hosting the first African Paralympic Games will be a gamechanger for the Paralympic movement in Africa.

“The first African Para Games, Accra 2023 will provide African para athletes with the opportunity to experience a multi-para sporting event as a stand-alone event on the African continent,” he said while stating that the games will catalyse further development and the promotion of para-sports in Africa.

He added that the games will also promote social inclusion, and help to break the barrier of stigmatisation against persons with disabilities.

Namibia plans to compete in athletics and powerlifting at the games.

(NAMPA)

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Namibia National Paralympic Committee

Namibia National Paralympic Committee (NNPC) secretary general, Michael Hamukwaya, has said the stand-alone African Paralympic Games will offer athletes the opportunity to improve their performance ahead of the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.

The first-ever African Paralympic Games are scheduled for 04 to 12 August 2023 in Accra, Ghana.

This will be the first time a continental Paralympic competition will be held as a stand-alone event. Previously, the competition formed part of the African Games.

In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, Hamukwaya said the Para Games will make it easy for Africans to compete at home instead of travelling to Europe or elsewhere to qualify for the Paralympic Games.

‘America, Asia and Europe have their games. But for Africa, we have always been squeezed into the able-bodied games which meant that events were left out,’ he said, adding that the stand-alone games will allow many athletes to compete in different sports codes.

The NNPC secretary general stated that he is happy to see the dream coming to fruition, but noted that more sports codes should be added to future Africa Paralympic Games.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

Political parties failing to account for funding and finances: IPPR

Most political parties are still failing to lawfully account for their funding and finances in a timely manner, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has indicated in its latest ‘Perspectives on Parliament’ bulletin.

The IPPR said in the bulletin issued on Wednesday, which is also when the national budget is being tabled, that it is pertinent to note that the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is struggling to enforce the Electoral Act’s stipulations on political party finance.

It said many parties miss reporting deadlines and ignore key provisions of the law intended to ensure accountability.

Sections 139 to 142 of the Electoral Act deal with the declaration of assets and liabilities, records and audit, disclosure of foreign and domestic financing and other obligations by political parties.

Political parties funding for vote 11 received an amount of N.dollars 105 445 925 in 2020/2021 from the national budget, while in 2021/2022, they got an estimated amount of N.dollars 103 860 000.

However, the IPPR bulletin indicated that as the 2023/24 national budget is being discussed, it should not be forgotten that many of these parties are failing to lawfully and properly account for such monies.

“The issue of political party finance has long been a thorny one, as since the passing of the Electoral Act of 2014, compliance with the law has generally been underwhelming and problematic,” it said.

The report indicated that political parties and the ECN, as the mandated enforcement agency, are both at fault.

The IPPR last year approached the ECN for a status update on political parties’ compliance with the relevant sections of the Electoral Act of 2014, as well as what the ECN was doing to enforce compliance.

The electoral body indicated that nearly 50 per cent of political parties and about 23 per cent of organisations had by 25 November 2022 complied with rules requiring them to submit audited financial statements to the ECN for the 2021/22 financial year.

According to Article 139 of the Electoral Act (No.5 of 2014), all registered political parties are supposed to submit a declaration of assets and liabilities to the ECN within 21 days from the opening of Parliament.

The Electoral Commission further indicated that it has on several occasions engaged political parties and organisations, and also wrote several letters to them, emphasising the importance of such compliance.

The ECN gave them several deadlines, which however did not yield the desired results.

They also indicated that they have concluded that some political parties and organisations are having difficulties in complying with the relevant sections of the Electoral Act, which prompted them to have a workshop with the political parties and organisations, where these sections, their importance and the consequences of non-compliance were explained in detail.

This particular engagement, which took place in September last year, was aimed at equipping all registered political parties and organisations with requisite information in order to enable them to better understand and appreciate their obligations and responsibilities in conforming with the relevant legal provisions of the Electoral Act.

(NAMPA)

Source: The Namibian Press Agency