Beef deal up in smoke

front 02 DECEMBERrNamibia’s acceptance of Chinese conditions for the export of its beef to the Asian country has come back to haunt it, as it emerged this week that the country might never be able to comply with the set requirements.

Home Affairs defies Supreme Court

front HOME AFFAIRS 02 DECEMBERrThe Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration continues to issue non-Namibian birth certificates to children born to foreign parents who are legally resident in the country, the Windhoek Observer has established.

Zimbabwe engineers feel used

front GOIEMANN 02 DECEMBERrZimbabwean engineers, who have been in the country since 2012 on five-year contracts to work for the Ministry of Works and Transport, say they were shocked to read about the non-renewal of their contracts in the media, before the decision had been communicated to them officially.

‘Team Hage’ dismantled

front 09 DECEMBERrSWAPO regional coordinators countrywide have denied wild allegations by a local weekly that they are being bribed ahead of the party’s 2017 elective congress, amid speculation that ‘Team Hage’, which swept President Hage Geingob to power, has now split into different groups.

Country split on Swartbooi apology

front swatbooi 09 DECEMBERrAnalysts and ordinary Namibians are split on whether Deputy Land Reform Minister, Bernadus Swartbooi, should be forced to apologise for his recent comments, including that his senior at the ministry, Utoni Nujoma, should be called to order for resettling people from as far as the Zambezi region, on land in the South.

Honeymoon over for SOEs

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are facing a raft of funding cuts, amid increased frustration over their continued gobbling of billions in taxpayer money over the years, including annual government bailouts.

SWAPO Party politburo split over Swartbooi

front swatbooi 09 DECEMBERrThe ruling SWAPO Party politburo on Monday night failed to reach consensus on what action should be taken against under fire Deputy Land Reform Minister, Bernadus Swartbooi, after he failed to heed calls from President Hage Geingob to apologize within 24 hours over utterances made against his senior, Minister Utoni Nujoma recently.

Swartbooi not fired – Kapofi

front Bernadus 13 decPresidential Affairs Minister, Frans Kapofi, confirmed to the Windhoek Observer on Tuesday afternoon that Deputy Land Reform Minister, Bernadus Swartbooi, has been asked to resign, after failing to heed President Hage Geingob’s instruction that he apologise over statements he made against his senior in the ministry, Utoni Nujoma.

Govt mulls MTC listing

front JOOSTE 16 DECEMBERrGovernment is moving ahead with its plans to acquire the remaining 34 percent stake in Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) that it does not own,

Swartbooi’s sacking raises tribalism storm

front Swartbooi 16 DECEMBERrPolitical analysts have warned that President Hage Geingob’s treatment of former Deputy Land Reform Minister, Bernadus Swartbooi, is likely to divide the nation further along regional and tribal lines.

Battle ragesat NamPower over Hangala tenders

 
front nampower 16 DECEMBERrA battle is raging between the outgoing NamPower board and the power utility’s Managing Director, Simson Haulofu, over the awarding of tenders to Consolidated Power Engineering Namibia (CONCO), a company co-owned by businessman Leake Hangala.

I was nasty to Hage - Geingos

front geingos 23 DECEMBERrFirst Lady, Monica Geingos, has lifted the veil on her courtship by President Hage Geingob, candidly admitting that she had a lot of nasty things to say to him, before finally agreeing to their Valentine’s Day wedding in 2014.

  Govt gives nod to SOE job cuts

front LEON 23 DECEMBERrTHE Public Enterprises Ministry says it has been given the green light to shed jobs in the civil service as Government moves ahead with plans to make parastatals more viable.

Time for the voice of reason

front Diescho 23 DECEMBERrThe Namibian nation’s identity will for a long time be wrapped in the narratives of the liberation struggle - for better or for worse. Thousands of young people entered the struggle as individuals, out of the conviction that the harsh experiences that their elders lived through were unacceptable.

We are sayin’ nothin’ about corruption

There is an old James Brown soul music song, where he sings:   “Like a dull knife - [that] Just ain’t cuttin’, Just talkin’ loud; Then sayin’ nothin’.”  That is the situation in Namibia regarding the issue of corruption. 

This December, do something different

It’s that time of the year again. The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes merriment, joy, gift-giving, family, friends and the thing that unites us all - food! But for a newlywed like me, I’ll probably look forward to the honeymoon…LOL

A faithful revolutionary  

In my tribute to the late HH in October 2016, I said that a person’s name influences that person’s behaviour.

Fidel Castro in context

. . . The revolutionary’s achievements in the face of US meddling made him a powerful symbol of resistance against hegemony.

Empower yourself: read

For goodness sake people out there, read the documents put in front of you before you sign.  Know the conditions of service and the salary before you accept the job.  If someone is doing work for you, know what they expect to be paid before the work starts.

Spreading my wings through logistics

Education is often said to open doors that were closed before. Dreaming of a career and making a difference I became interested in logistics and started dreaming of faraway places.

Outgoing Gambian President Jammeh caused his own demise

The long-string of titles of His Excellency, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa belies his unadulterated love for power.

Response to “Blurred lines” editorial

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the editorial of the Windhoek Observer of 2 December 2016 in relation to the One Economy Foundation’s link to the Invest in Namibia Conference 2016.

Beware of revisionists

It is so easy to forget history, particularly when we fail to repeat it to our children, and when it is not aggressively incorporated in school curriculums and annual celebrations. 

Please don’t shoot the messenger

Journalists are not crybabies. We have thick skins. It is a necessary attribute, as we pursue our calling of reporting without fear or favour.

Aore Axatse!

Bernadus Swartbooi is apparently not the Deputy Minister of Land Reform anymore.

Concession speech by outgoing Ghanaian President John D. Mahama

Good evening my fellow countrymen and women. A few minutes ago, I made the most difficult phone call I have made, and may ever make, in my life.

We must give attention to the downside

Certainly, if the economy cannot sustain it, government tenders should be halted or postponed as part of an overall recovery/rebuilding strategy. 

Beating the ‘Januworry’ blues

As 2016 enters its swansong, most of us will throw all caution to the wind and spend like tomorrow will never come.

Otavi residents want answers

There have been a series of allegations against the Otavi Town Council and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), with regard to the way he is running the affairs of the town.

Open letter to Ambassador Xin

Dear Ambassador Xin Shunkang, during the past few weeks, several Chinese nationals have been apprehended and charged with wildlife crimes, including the illegal possession of rhino horn, ivory and pangolin skins and scales.

Indongo acclimatising well in Russia

Sports 2 DecemberrBoxing promoter, Nestor Tobias, who is currently in Moscow, has urged local fans to keep their fingers crossed for the much-anticipated bout on Saturday between Julius ‘The Blue Machine’ Indongo and his Russian opponent Eduard Troyanovsky.

Silence around rewards an insult to Paralympians

As we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, we need to take cognisance of the fact that the official government rewarding of our Rio Paralympics medallists has still not taken place, following the September global sporting spectacle.

New Athletics boss pushes transformation

Recently elected Athletics Namibia President, Erwin Naimhwaka, has laid out his plans to transform the sport code to the level where it used to be during its former glory days.

Volleyball gets shot in the arm

The Namibian Volleyball Federation (NVF) has announced a landmark partnership with Refuse Solutions and The Dome Swakopmund, as part of its continued work to develop volleyball in the country.

All systems go for John Arnold Sport Festival

Organisers of the annual John Arnold Sport Festival say preparations for the three-day event, which takes place from 2 to 4 December in Omatako in the Otjozondjupa region, are going on smoothly.

Uushona reaping fruits of Salute move

sports 9 DecemberrNewly-crowned World Boxing Federation (WBF) welterweight world champion, Bethuel ‘Tyson’ Uushona, says his move to Salute Boxing Academy earlier this year was a prudent one, despite a chorus of detractors initially saying that his career would go downhill.

No rematch for Troyanovsky

There will be no rematch for former International Boxing Federation (IBF) and International Boxing Organisation (IBO) super lightweight world title holder, Eduard Troyanovsky, after he was humiliated in his home country of Russia by Julius ‘The Blue Machine’ Indongo last Saturday.
The MTC Nestor ‘Sunshine’ Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy said this week that there was no rematch clause included in the fight contract, and therefore Troyanovsky would not get the chance to avenge his first round demolition by Indongo in Moscow.
Indongo’s win last Saturday trigged ecstatic scenes, as Namibians celebrated what is arguably its best sporting performance of all time.
Although both fighters went in the bout undefeated, Indongo’s 40 second knockout of Troyanovsky came as a huge surprise to most pundits.
Saturday’s bout was Indongo’s 21st consecutive win as a professional boxer, while it was Troyanovsky’s first defeat after 26 fights.
Indongo has now become the first Namibian to hold world titles from two different sanctioning bodies at the same time.
His promoter, Nestor Tobias, paid tribute to the supporters and sponsors, during a media conference held upon their return from Russia this week.
He said the fans and sponsors had boosted Indongo’s spirit and vigour.
“We signed a closed contract with the Russian boxer’s promoters, which does not allow for them to have a rematch.
“As for now, we are still not yet sure of the next bout that he will take part in, as we have just come back from Russia, and all the excitement has to settle down before we can start talking about it.
“It is also too early to say what the future holds, but we will definitely look for the best fights, and we have to decide on the when and where.
“We will convene a meeting soon and let the public know where we stand regarding the next matches, but as for Troyanovsky, we will not have a rematch with him,” said Tobias.
Indongo, who also calls himself the ‘Guantanamo boxer’, said he was focused and determined when he went into the ring on Saturday, since he was fighting in his opponent’s backyard.
“I was much more focused, because as you know, fighting someone in their backyard is tricky; so I gave it my all from the start and… I was concentrating on every punch I threw.
“When I entered this fight, and prepared for it, I was very focused and the commitment was there, so all the punches that I threw, I was aware, but I never knew that it was going to destroy him, even though when I threw it I knew it would catch him.
“I first threw him an uppercut that led him to come inside, and when he came, I wanted to give him a hook, so that is when I released a left hook, and that was it,” said Indongo. 
 
 
 
 

Mandi’s passion is rallies

Amanda Danae Hugo is just 15 years old, but her passion for rally navigation is undeniable.

Jones looks to build Currie Cup success

Sports 16 DecemberrNewly-appointed Namibian Currie Cup team head coach, Lyn Jones, has called on local coaches and players to come together to share ideas in an effort to reverse the team’s fortunes in South Africa’s premier provincial rugby competition.

Govt bungle sours regional volleyball tourney

Transport woes, brought about by government bungling, have resulted in a Rundu school team, Noordgrens Toxic, being disqualified from the Zone Six Volleyball Championships, which kicked off in Swakopmund on Monday.

Mudslinging is not a path to success

As we draw the curtain on 2016, and take stock of our achievements in sport this year, it is important to remember that no matter which local team or management structure we belong to,

Changes expected for Desert Dash race

Organisers of the Nedbank Desert Dash are planning to bring some changes to the event next year, the Windhoek Observer has established.

Outdated Boxing Act to be modernised

sports 23 DecemberrThe Namibian Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) has embarked on a process to repeal and revamp the current Boxing Act of 1980, to bring it in line with modern day realities.

German trip hangs in balance

Only one of the three Namibian players, who secured invitations for trials at the German International Soccer Academy and Agency, has managed to scrape together the N$15,000 needed for the return trip.

Tugela laid to rest

Former Civics player Tulongeni ‘Tugela’ Tuyeni, who died in a car accident last Friday, was buried on Thursday at Onekwaya Cemetery, in the Ohangwena region.

Zero festive cheer for NPL players

As we get into the swing of Christmas, the country’s 600-plus Namibia Premier League (NPL) players are braced for doom and gloom, amid the festivities.

2016 sporting highlights

Namibian Paralympic sprinter, Ananias Shikongo, stole the show when he scooped three medals at the Rio Paralympics in September – a gold medal in the men’s T11 200m and two bronze medals in the T11 100m and 400m races.

Jaleel’s Ever  Sins Eve

eNTERTAINMENT 2 DecemberrEvery few years there comes a talent that changes the game in the music industry; they set their eyes on reaching greatness and make sure that their name is on everyone’s lips.

Festival of praise uplifting

The Southern Times, organizers of the Festival of Praise, which took place last Saturday at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek, have described the event as a great success.

A thousand wishes come true

Written and directed by Michael Pulse, a Thousand Wishes is a local play which tackles the subject of mental illness head on.

Melba’s toast: The tooth of the matter

While oral hygiene has a lot of impact on our health in general, it is also important to have a dazzling smile.

The beasts are simply fantastic

Quite frankly, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the best film I have seen in several years.  I am going to see it a second time this weekend; it is THAT good. 

Ras Sheehama and friends perform at the Warehouse

The legendary reggae artist, Ras Sheehama, will this Friday perform at the Warehouse Theatre together with some of Namibia’s most talented artists, in a show dubbed, “Ras Sheehama in Concert.”

Confessions of a Couch Cat:  Stinky bathroom smells

We’ve all smelled it and we’ve all done it… that’s right, I am talking about the unpleasant and embarrassing topic of stinking up the bathroom. 

Slow cooker chicken and dumplings

This dish is another one of our cheap and easy eats.  

Kathy is shaping tomorrow’s world

entertainment 9 DecemberrOwner of Kathy’s Joinery and Renovations cc, Kathy Namunjebo, says that we should move with the times when it comes to home and office furniture.

Money scrum taints Pumumu unveiling

After much anticipation and a bit of organizational confusion, Namibia’s Kwaito King Gazza unveiled his eleventh studio album Pumumu, to cheers and the enthusiastic acceptance of a sizeable crowd at the University of Namibia’s stadium last Saturday.

The Loft: a seductive sundowner spot

The Old Breweries building complex has a new air of sophistication with urban artistic flair to add to its already busy and cool night scene.

‘The Dogg’ rocks World Aids Day

His energy is infectious and his message is life changing. Celebrity Kwaito artist ‘The Dogg’ needs little introduction, and he certainly pumped up the volume during the recent World Aids Day Celebrations held in Swakopmund, where he got the crowd going with a lively, but short appearance.

Melba’s toast:  Let’s accessorize our hair

We all have bad hair days, whether it is because we are too strapped for cash to get a new hairdo or because we simply don’t have the time or energy to fix our hair when it looks like we just woke up from a bad dream.

The business of fashion

The Image Consultants International Academy (TICIA) based in Windhoek is an institution which provides training for individuals who wish to become professionals in the image industry. 

Confessions of a Couch Cat:  Give without expecting to receive

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa-la-la-la-la; ‘Tis the season to be broke, Fa-la-la-la-la.

Watermelon Rosé Slushies – Pink Christmas snow

It was so hot this past weekend that my daughter and I wanted to drink something that wasn’t too alcoholic that it would make us pass out into sweaty, uncomfortable naps, as we decorated the house for Christmas. 

The Dogg opens up about ‘retirement’

Entertainment Dogg 16 DecemberrKwaito singer The Dogg says plans are on track for him to retire from the music industry next year, after the release of his final album between April and May next year.

Toivo shares ‘My everyday life’

Assistant tour guide Toivo Shiwembe’s journey to unlocking a deep and lasting passion for photography, started when he received his first camera from a tourist.

Surviving Namibia

While most people dream of a life of luxury and comfort, there are some who exist solely to head off into the unknown, challenging themselves to what others believe to be superhuman feats of endurance, whether in the name of adventure, survival, science, education or pure fame.

Melba’s toast: Island trends

Whether you are lucky enough to be jetting off to an island this holiday or you will simply be spending time in the North or South, where temperatures soar to beyond unbearable, island clothing is for you.

A festive mix of new local sounds

Are you sick of listening to Boney M albums over and over again, as is customary in Namibia this time of the year? Are you struggling to relate to some Christmas carols, even though your parents listen to them from the 1st of December?

Confessions of a couch cat: Forced to be a host

It is holiday time now and the season for visiting family and friends is here.  But here are some things to keep in mind.

Christmas clam linguine? Why not

At holiday time, food usually has one of the starring roles.  As I get ready to prepare all sorts of the regular Christmas dinner foods, like glazed ham, roast turkey, giblet stuffing, cranberry sauce,

Mediclinic poised for increased market share

BUSSINESS 2 DecemberrPrivate hospitals group, Mediclinic International, says it’s looking to its renovated and upgraded local hospitals to further its share of the increasingly competitive sector.

2016: A wild year for entertainment

Entertainment23 DecemberrFor the local entertainment industry, 2016 was a bit of a wild year, filled with lots of drama that gave nbc’s new drama series, The Third Will, a run for its money.

Cession boost for NamibRe

Changes to the Namibia Reinsurance Corporation Act, which now requires all insurance companies to cede a portion of every insurance policy issued, either in or outside the country to the Namibia National Reinsurance Corporation (NamibRE)

Gifts for under N$100

It’s the festive season, so it is likely that you will have to fork out for gifts for family and friends.

FNB speaks on acquisitions

FNB Namibia, which is in the process of completing its acquisition of Ebank and PointBreak Holdings for an undisclosed amount, says any acquisition normally creates a bit of fear and apprehension amongst customers and employees, thus the need for the process to be open and transparent.

Festive things to do in Windhoek

By now the capital should be quieter than usual, with many people leaving for the coast, the North or even travelling outside the country.

Bond notes: Zimbabwe’s answer to cash woes?

It was still not clear on Tuesday whether the introduction of a new currency, bond notes, would stave off the collapse of Zimbabwe’s fragile economy.

Christmas tree trends to brighten any home

 
Ho, ho, ho, it’s time to add some much-needed Christmas cheer to your home, by putting up your Christmas tree.

Telepassport eyes early 2017 network launch

Telepassport Communications (Telepassport) is set to launch its mobile virtual network (MVN) early next year, with the network already in its testing phase.

Rogue One ties it all together

For Star Wars lovers all over Namibia, Director Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the film for you this holiday season.

Telepassport weighs opportunities, risks

For over 11 years, Telepassport has provided telecommunication solutions in Namibia. The company has also been linked with plans to launch a mobile virtual network (MVN), partnering TN Mobile.

Swakop fair heralds festive cheer

A December visit to the coastal town of Swakopmund would be incomplete without making a turn at the Summer Holiday Fair, to soak up the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas.

SMEs get N$6m cash injection

Recipients of the N$6 million in funding, awarded by the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) through its Innovation Challenge, had their first information sharing session in Windhoek this week.

Confessions of a Couch Cat:  Don’t you just love Christmas?

Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I am sure I speak for many of you when I say that. 
Being born and raised in Washington, D.C. and experiencing my yuletide holidays in the snow with the beautiful lights twinkling all over everyone’s homes, bedecked Christmas trees with fancy glittering balls and bobbles, hearing Christmas music on every radio station and smelling the baking of all kinds of foods and desserts coming from the kitchens in the houses that I visited - that was Christmas to me back then, and now.
Having family and friends come over and visiting others - that was also Christmas to me.  Mom was a teacher and dad worked two and sometimes three jobs to pay for travel, food, new clothes, toys and games and all the ‘stuff’ of the holidays, just to make us smile and I will always love them for that.
My siblings and I watched all of the holiday television shows like A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Rest Nosed Reindeer, It’s a Wonderful Life, Frosty the Snowman and Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol and various ballet renditions of The Nutcracker.  My sister has all of those old favourites on DVD and I still watch them each time I come to the United States for my holidays. 
Growing up in the black community, particularly in the radical late 1960s and 70s, we were well aware that Santa Claus was a European creation.  But my parents assured us that ‘Santa’ looked like whatever people wanted him to look like, black or white, American Indian or Asian. 
He wasn’t a person, he was a human image of the season of love, laughter, gifts, fun, food and songs, and the stories and poems about him were for fun and entertainment, not legal truth or fact.   In our community, whatever ‘Santa’ images we had, were all of a rotund black men with a red suit and white beard and jolly visage.
Needless to say, kids in my hood knew very well that there would be no white man with a white beard coming down a chimney (we didn’t even have a fireplace!) or sneaking any other way into our house to give us free gifts.  We were clear that mom and dad worked hard to earn money to buy every single thing we enjoyed.
Throughout my childhood, I loved when my mom regularly read us stories and poems and bought us books of all kinds (including poetry) to read for ourselves as we got older.  All of that information helped me imagine what a wonderful, huge world this truly is.  
I thought this was a very Christmas setting to share my favourite holiday poem with you.

A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
 
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
 
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
 
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
 
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
 
Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem, which he named "A Visit from St. Nicholas," was published for the first time on December 23, 1823 by a New York newspaper, the Sentinel. Since then, the poem has been reprinted, translated into innumerable languages and circulated throughout the world. 
 
 
 
 
 

Namdeb moves ahead with Oranjemund transitioning

Namdeb has partnered with the Oranjemund Town Council and the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) to ensure the smooth transformation of the southern town into a model town.

Exercises to do in your airplane seat

Do you enjoy flying? Of course you do, especially if flying takes you to your vacation hotspot, or back to see your loved ones.

Insurance industry not oversaturated - Namfisa

Business 9 DecemberrThe Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) believes there is growth potential in the country’s insurance sector, as statistics indicate that penetration rates still remain low.

Things that should remain in 2016

Just like any other year, 2016 came with its own fair share of drama, feuds, fights and trends.

Gvt fingered in construction industry ‘collapse’

The Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) has accused Government of contributing to the “collapse” of the sector after the State failed to service its N$1.7 billion debt, resulting in 1,008 employees being retrenched.

Your holiday gig guide

Not looking forward to spending the festive season sitting in your grandmother’s living room and making small talk? Well fear not, as we have you covered with our list of fun activities to keep you and your family entertained.

BoN swaps N$8.9bn to bolster reserves

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) managed to swap assets worth N$8.9 billion when it concluded its programme last month, aimed at bolstering the country’s international reserves.

P’conn pie for the holidays

I usually do most of the family baking for the holidays.  My best recipe is probably my sweet potato pie, followed by my apple pie with my pumpkin pie bringing up a tasty, spicy third. 

NEEEF proposal applauded by employers

Namibian Employers Federation (NEF) says the recent statement by President Geingob clarifying that the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) would also require black Namibians to comply with the regulations, is fair.

GCR affirms Capricorn Investment Group and Bank Windhoek Limited’s ratings

Global Credit Ratings has affirmed the national scale ratings assigned to Capricorn Investment Group Limited of AA (NA) and A1+(NA) in the long term and short term respectively; with the outlook accorded as Stable.

The Linen Warehouse: Quality and comfort for every bed

The Linen Warehouse & Décor is based in Windhoek and offers a multitude of high quality and affordable products for the hospitality industry, as well as for regular household consumers. 

Ensuring good governance, compliance in banking

Good corporate governance and compliance structures create value and provide accountability and control systems, through which risks can be monitored and managed.

National Road Safety Council outlines festive season safety plans

In light of the upcoming festive season, the Windhoek Observer (WO) interviewed National Road Safety Council (NRSC) Executive Secretary, Eugene Tendekule (ET), to find out some of their plans, as far as road safety is concerned.

Katti scores big in tin deal

Business Katti 9 DecemberrA consortium of companies, which includes Knowledge Katti’s Havana Investments, is set to clinch shareholding in London-listed Bushveld Minerals Limited, in exchange for a 49 percent stake in the Uis Tin Project.

Uranium price headache for Namibia

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) has warned that the continued decline of global uranium prices could negatively impact on the mining sector, as well as the domestic economy as a whole.

Experts applaud govt for tax amnesty

Tax expert Gerda Brand, a Director at Deloitte Namibia, has applauded Government’s decision to write off the interest and penalties on outstanding taxes owed by Namibian taxpayers.

Kadhikwa appointed to Bannerman board

Xwama restaurant owner, Twapewa Kadhikwa, has been appointed as a director of Bannerman Mining Resources (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd.

IMF head Christine Lagarde found guilty of negligence

imf 19 decFrench judges found International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde guilty of negligence on Monday for failing to challenge a state arbitration payout to a businessperson in 2008 when she was French finance minister, but they did not punish her.

Tough times stalk uranium sector

business 23 DecemberrUncertainty continues to stalk the local uranium sector, as prices remain depressed, reaching a 13-year low at the beginning of this month, when the mineral resource traded at around US$17,75 per pound.

Tullow Oil demands N$7m from Pancontinental Namibia

Pancontinental Namibia has received a demand for more than N$7 million from Tullow Oil, in connection with the costs it incurred during the time it operated Namibian licence PEL 37.
Pancontinental said on Monday that it had received the cash demand on 16 December.

NamPost postal orders terminated, bets on technology

NamPost and the South African Post Office (SAPO) are due to terminate their agreement regarding the issuance of postal orders, starting early next year, citing a lack of viability of the service.

Money supply contracts - BoN

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) says the growth in the country’s money supply (M2) contracted both year-on-year and quarter-and-quarter at the end of the third quarter of 2016, which stemmed from a decline in corporate sector deposits, coupled with moderated growth in the credit extended to the private sector and households.

Namibia’s current account deficit improves

Namibia’s current account deficit remains high, although improving both on a year-on-year and quarterly bases, attributed primarily to a declining merchandise trade deficit.

Tips to spend your bonus wisely

A bonus at the end of the year is a pleasant addition to one’s salary, during a time when one spends the most money.

ECB implements net metering rules

Electricity Control Board (ECB) Acting Chief Executive Officer,  Rojas Manyame, says the country’s new net metering rules, which were gazetted last month, are now at the implementation stage.

Blurred lines

Once again, we feel compelled to mention our concerns about the role of a first lady in governance in Namibia.  Last June, we probed the sensitive issue of the role of the first lady and many of our readers responded to that discussion.

Apologise for what?

We come firmly down on the side of the Deputy Minister of Land Reform, Bernadus Swartbooi, and the substantive issues he addresses on resettlement and encourage him to resist all efforts to undercut his principled position. 

‘Little presidents’ syndrome

According to President Hage Geingob’s much talked about Harambee Prosperity Plan, a new culture of efficiency and accountability is critical to fostering the change that the country wishes to see.

Are we heading for a Mbeki moment?

Considering our historical, and more importantly, economic linkages to South Africa, one of the truly seismic events in that country to have fundamentally affected Namibia, was the resignation of President Thabo Mbeki on 20 September 2008.

Noose tightens around festive traffic offenders

As the festive season spirit takes hold across the country, traffic and police officials have warned of a zero tolerance approach to road offences, especially drunk driving.

Geingob ditches bodyguard

 
NATIONAL 2 DecemberrPresident Hage Geingob’s bodyguard and head of his security detail, Deputy Commissioner Johan Ndjaronguru, has been excluded from the presidential delegation travelling to France, Cuba and the United Kingdom, after allegedly falling out with First Lady Monica Geingos, a source close to State House has claimed.

City bosses accused of ‘hiding shady deals’

The last council meeting of the year of the City of Windhoek was called off on Tuesday after some opposition parties councillors expressed their anger at the “ambush” tactics used by the city’s management.

‘Mercenary’ CEOs milk parastatals

DTA Treasurer General, Nico Smit, says that Namibia has created a culture where individuals heading parastatals are allowed to demand huge salaries, without being required to meet even the most minimum performance standards.

Agriculture finally gets new PS

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has confirmed the appointment of Perci Msiska as its new Permanent Secretary.

Haufiku wants condoms at roadblocks

Health and Social Services Minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku, has called for the distribution of condoms and HIV/AIDS brochures at “every road block and every gathering place this festive season”.

Mass casualty crashes claim 114 lives

About 114 people have died in 19 mass casualty road crashes between 1 January and 22 November 2016, while a further 120 people were injured, the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund has said.

Devious learners destroy hostels

Ill-disciplined high school learners are causing irreversible damage at government school hostels, running into millions of dollars, Khomas Education Director, Gerard Vries, has said.

Drought-ravaged community shares Devil’s Claw windfall

A plant, which has been a part of the San traditional medicine cabinet for thousands of years, is finally beginning to yield dividends for Namibia’s oldest indigenous tribe, thereby improving their livelihoods amid severe drought.

Sampofu accused of torture, murder

National 9 DecemberrAccusations of atrocities committed during the liberation struggle, continue to haunt Zambezi Regional Governor, Lawrence Sampofu, after it emerged this week that he allegedly tortured and killed innocent Namibians, while he was Chief of Intelligence at the Tobias Hainyeko Training Centre in Angola during the 1970s.

Venaani questions poverty drop

DTA leader McHenry Venaani has described the preliminary results of the Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey for 2015/16, which showed that poverty levels in the country are decreasing, as baffling and not a true reflection of the realities being experienced on the ground.

Naanda’s NamPower role under scrutiny

Cabinet is said to have approved the appointment of a new NamPower Board of Directors, which includes axed former TransNamib Chief Executive Officer, Sara Naanda, the Windhoek Observer has established.

Kapana sellers must explain source of meat - Ndeitunga

Namibian Police Inspector-General, Sebastian Ndeitunga, says that he wants kapana sellers and butcheries across the country to explain their sources of meat.

Immanuelre-elected as Walvis Bay mayor

Walvis Bay Mayor Wilfred Immanuel has been re-elected for a second term at a final council meeting of the year, which took place this week.

Bentheim shares beekeeping passion

While many would cringe in fear at the idea of working with bees, Roland Graf Zu Bentheim has made beekeeping his life.

PM raises alarm over infant malnutrition

Malnutrition in children under six months is on the increase, largely because of HIV/AIDS and inappropriate infant feeding practices, Prime Minister Sarah Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has said.

Drunk drivers face holiday in jail

national 9 DecemberrWalvis Bay Chief Traffic Officer, Eben Platt, says he has asked court prosecutors in the coastal town to oppose bail for drunken driving offenders over the festive season.

NamPower drags feet on Xaris

NamPower is still to conclude an agreement with Xaris Namibia over the implementation of a planned 250MW stop-gap measure power plant in Walvis Bay, despite government approval for the project last year.

Jooste unveils SOE transformation plan

The Ministry of Public Enterprises says it will launch a transformation project early next year, which will seek to address the effectiveness and efficiencies of the country’s parastatals.

FAO comes to the rescue of drought-hit farmers

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is working together with Government to assist almost 30,000 households affected by the ongoing drought in the hardest-hit regions of Kunene, Omusati and Erongo.

Accident campaign yielding results – MVA Fund

The 2016/17 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign, which kicked off on 22 November, seems to be yielding the desired results, with the number of road accidents, injuries and fatalities so far declining, compared to the comparative period last year.

MET – off with its head!

In 2016, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) hit three huge icebergs, sinking low, with Community-based Natural Resource Management, the Directorate of Scientific Services, the Directorate of Tourism and other survivors clinging on to credibility for dear life. 
The grade for 2016 for MET and its sharply dressed Minister, Pohamba Shifeta, is a D-, and this is being generous.
In our view, the minister should be held accountable for his ministry’s successes, as well as its abysmal performance in 2016.  Weighing the two, Shifeta should be fired. 
Of course we know that ministers in Namibia don’t get fired for losing millions to the Kora Awards criminal from Benin, rising poaching figures (rhinos, elephants, cheetahs and lions) and the questionable phosphates clearance certificate, unless they say something the ruling party or State House doesn’t like.  Tens of millions of dollars wasted is okay, but speaking negatively in public about another minister is not. 
The reasons for this low grade for MET are obvious. 
In spite of interventions from security forces, increased training for diligent park rangers, new equipment and public support for the ministry’s efforts, poaching has escalated to levels that are beyond alarming.
Elephant tusks, as well as rhino horns and the skins of various animals (endangered or not) are still being confiscated at Hosea Kutako International Airport, en route out of the country.  One cringes at the illicit animal trade products that actually make it out of the country.
Namibia’s national heritage is being exploited for a pittance, so that foreign businessmen can steal massive profits from our natural resources; it is like apartheid and colonialism all over again. 
Namibians participating in this rape of their country must be held accountable and all ill-gotten gains stripped away.  The middlemen fuelling these cartels must be hit in the hardest way legally possible for what they are doing.
On Shifeta’s watch, our precious and world-renowned wildlife is being slaughtered.  He must be held accountable.
 
Phosphates
 
The entire debate and debacle around phosphates does not need much of a rehash and further explanation.  Environmental Commissioner, Theofilus Nghitila, likely under pressure from the powers that be, who have profits to be made from phosphates, issued a controversial clearance certificate, paving the way for the mining to begin, even though the process for deciding whether to do this was incomplete. 
Procedures were not followed to the letter, a fellow ministry was not informed through Cabinet channels, and yet a letter was quietly issued a full month before the public was made aware of this. When it came to light, the time had lapsed for objections.
The smell of conspiracy, as well as actions not in favour of protecting the environment, which is the exact constitutional mandate of MET, as reiterated beautifully by the Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma, permeate through this entire affair. 
Shifeta must be held accountable.  At the very least, the environmental commissioner should be sacked to pay the price for selling out the nation, not following processes, acting without a letter to cover his backside (a letter from the minister ordering him to issue the clearance) and trying to do so under cover.
The Kora debacle and the minister’s failure in this regard, are well reported.  The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) was used as a conduit for MET to transfer N$24 million as a payment for supposed television commercials and advertisements to be aired during the mythical awards event. 
Sources confirmed that the NTB directors opposed any NTB role in the payment, as TV ads are not a part (nor have they ever been) of the marketing strategy for the company. Most importantly, the amount required represented nearly 100 percent of their annual budget from Government.  Thus, MET transferred to NTB the funds required, which are ring-fenced in the NTB budget.   NTB then onward transferred the funds, using the instructions and information provided by MET.  Those funds were payment in full, before a single service had been rendered. The payment was made to a foreign account, with no control over withdrawals by the NTB.  The money was subsequently stolen.  Expensive legal and investigatory actions have yielded the truth that we all knew at the start:  that the money is long gone and will never come back.
While the board and chief executive officer bear responsibility for any fiscal decision of their parastatal, Minister Shifeta, who proudly announced the Kora Awards arrival in Namibia as early as June 2015, back-peddled and blamed the NTB for everything, when things blew up in March this year.
On a different note, according to sources within the tourism industry and interviews with officials in MET, it can be ascertained that the Directorate of Scientific Services, all staff working with communal conservancies and NGOs assisting them, and the vaunted park rangers and MET staff stationed in the parks, have done outstanding work in 2016, as in years before.  
MET has released several outstanding statistical reports on tourism arrivals, national investment strategies and a national growth plan.  These documents, though late in their release, are well-researched and analysed, and give statistics and analysis of the sector that are drastically needed.  These are all achievements that Minister Shifeta can take credit for, as they happened under his stewardship.
We note Namibia’s failure to get the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) to lift the sales ban on ivory, even for a once-off sale of existing stockpiles, as was done in 2008.  Budgets to fight poaching, train the rangers, get updated equipment, educate the public, investigate suspects, get accurate wildlife counts and other statistics are strained. 
Interestingly, the United States government, which was once wrongly and mischievously accused of trying to usurp Etosha’s ownership, is now fighting the good fight and is paying for a significant portion of Namibia’s anti-poaching training and equipment efforts. 
At this year’s CITES gathering, Namibian and Zimbabwean efforts fell flat, as their lobbying and cajoling of other African nations was inept.  As Namibia’s ivory stockpiles rise and the United Kingdom calls for the wasteful, ridiculous and banal symbolic action of burning them, the chance to use that properly obtained resource to benefit MET strategic goals must wait another cycle, for the next CITES meeting.  Shifeta should shoulder the blame for this.
NTB’s budget was cut by 20 percent, when they need to intensify marketing efforts to bring more tourists to Namibia.  Sources say that Shifeta did not fight the good fight against Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein’s budget axe.
They claim that he did not defend NTB’s needs vociferously, from an informed, statistical standpoint.
The private sector laments the evaporation of good relations between MET and those in the industry that are actually bringing tourists into the country.  Previously, there had been better relations between NTB, MET and the private sector, under former Environment and Tourism Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, which led to the Adventure Travel World Summit being held in Namibia and increased private sector investment in communities. Things are back to the ‘white tourism industry vs GRN’ unproductive, suspicion and fear game that existed before.  Shifeta’s desired distance from the private sector is blamed for this situation.
Complaints about NWR’s facilities, maintenance, booking system, customer service and value for money are on the increase, yet again.  Its Managing Director, Zelna Hengari, has still not signed a contract and its budget is still in the red, with a presumed ‘bailout’ request on the cards in the near future. 
When the appropriate legislation is adjusted, the Ministry of Public Enterprises will step into the role of the line ministry for NWR, but for now, this errant and indebted parastatal (that hasn’t submitted audited financial statements to parliament – in contravention of the law- in several years) is in the hands of Minister Shifeta.
 
 

The invisible gender ministry

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has largely been an invisible and voiceless entity during 2016, and therefore deserves an F grading.

Grim Reaper takes huge harvest in 2016

Grim Reaper takes huge harvest in 2016

Grim Reaper takes huge harvest in 2016

The year 2016 has been tragic on many fronts, including a plethora of deaths locally and on the international stage.

Ndeitunga cries foul over budget cuts

national 23 DecemberrPolice Inspector General, Sebastian Ndeitunga, has revealed that the police are feeding an average of 3,500 suspects per week in their holding cells across the country, resulting in a massive strain on law enforcement resources, which have already been cut to the bone.

Fishcor in N$500m boost for Walvis Bay

The National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) took a huge step this week towards the realisation of a N$500 million horse mackerel onshore processing plant in Walvis Bay, when it signed a sales agreement with Etale Properties (Pty) Ltd for the purchase of its assets in the harbour town.

OPM shines despite negative news

From spoiled bags of maize, donated for drought relief by South Africa, to a controversial N$1 billion tender for its new offices, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has certainly had an eventful year in the media.

Challenging year for thankless service

In a country faced with an orgy of crime, and violence especially linked to alcohol abuse over weekends, the Namibian Police Force often faces a thankless task, when it comes to upholding law and order.

An egg-on-your-face year for AG’s office

The Office of the Attorney General (AG), headed by Sackeus Shanghala, has experienced a torrid time this year, in terms of the legal advice it has given government, which more often than not led to egg ending up on some very embarrassed faces.

Haufiku steadies health ministry

The Ministry of Health and Social Services, under the stewardship of Minister Bernard Haufiku, who is a medical doctor by profession, continues to be relevant and vocal about the health challenges facing the country.

Economic Planning needs to grow a pair

No one in their right mind would argue against the notion that 2016 has been a tough year for the Namibian economy.

Tribalism, nepotism continue to haunt NDF

It is a sad indictment when the biggest news generated by a ministry for the year is that its political head had paid back N$186,000 of a N$630 000 bill, he had incurred while staying at Safari Court Hotel for six months.

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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