|News Round Up
Soldiers Kill Guinea President
|The Late Joao Bernardo Vieira Photo:Courtesy|
Renegade soldiers shot President Joao Bernardo Vieira of Guinea Bissau dead following the death of the country's Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Batiste Tagme Na Waie, who was last Sunday killed in a bomb explosion. Vieira was assasinated when he was planning to flee his private house.
The army denied there was a coup in the country, but confirmed that the killing of Vieira was a reprisal to Waie's death.
Portugal, Guinea Bissau's colonial master, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union (EU) and Africa Union (AU) have condemned the killings, describing it as "undemocratic, cowardly and heinous." ECOWAS Chairman, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, has directed a delegation comprising ministers from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, the Gambia and Senegal to promptly intervene.
Nigeria Senate Seeks Phased Withdrawal of Fuel Subsidy
The Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) has opted for phased withdrawal of petroleum subsidy, as against the planned full withdrawal, saying the deregulation was being done without proper consultation with stakeholders. Meanwhile, the stakeholders' consultative meeting on the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry scheduled to hold in Abuja yesterday failed to hold due to its postponement. No reason was given for the postponement of the meeting which was initiated by the Petroleum Minister, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman. The Senate Committee chairman, Emmanuel Paulker, told the press that the Federal Government owed Nigerians the responsibility to improve their welfare, saying the Committee was afraid that the planned full deregulation would hinder that objective.
Water Rations, Higher Tariffs in South African Pipeline
The government is considering a form of water rationing and higher tariffs in a new push to curb industrial, domestic and agricultural water use as part of long-term efforts to avert a water-supply crisis. With Eskom's recent bad experience with electricity supply shortages in mind, the water affairs and forestry department is set to implement consumption cutbacks and revise allocations to various sectors of the economy in its long-term strategy to reduce water demand and ensure future water security.
Water experts have warned that due to SA's worsening water stress and erratic rainfall, water demand would far exceed supply by 2013 unless drastic measures are taken. To avoid a crisis, SA has to reduce consumption now or find new water sources to augment existing supply schemes.
War against Rebels in DRC, Rwanda Not Over
The war against the rebel Forces démocratique pour la libération de Rwanda (FDLR), based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is not over, despite last week's withdrawal of Rwandan troops from the Congo's North Kivu province, according to IRIN report. "We shall not rest, the fighting is still on," Rosemary Musemenali, Rwanda's Foreign Minister said in the capital, Kigali. The Rwandan troops' withdrawal came after nearly two months of joint military operations with the DRC against the FDLR, which is largely blamed for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Although thousands more FDLR rebels remain elusive, Musemenali said, improved political cooperation between Rwanda and the DRC had been instrumental in the battle against the group.
Decentralisation' - Code for Recovering Costs From the Poorin Namibia
Rural water supply - affecting half of Namibia's 2 million people - touches on a sensitive apartheid legacy. The South African Water Act of 1956 tied water rights up with land tenure, thus restricting access to boreholes. Communal farmers received water for free, a policy that was designed - successfully - to create dependency on the regime. By repairing pumps and supplying diesel, the colonial government ensured loyalty from the rural population.
The main focus of the rural water supply reform programme, started in 1997, was cost-recovery of operation and maintenance of boreholes. Although ecological sustainability is mentioned in many policies, protection of resources seems secondary to the decentralisation process, say experts. "The reform is meant to empower people by giving them ownership of the infrastructure, they will manage resources more sustainable", says Timo Katumye, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in Rundu.
Water Point Associations (WPAs) were started all over the country and formalised by the Water Resource Management Act of 2004. Under this legislation, water is still owned by the state, but the WPAs are responsible for collection of levies and repair of infrastructure. Of the 7731 communities using a water point, 5213 have established a WPA.
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