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Cornered guerillas downed a chopper in Vic Falls

cornered guerillas downed a chopper in vic falls

The Chronicle

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Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, a popular international tourism destination was once a battleground of fierce wars between freedom fighters and the Rhodesian army.

One freedom fighter that operated in Victoria Falls in the 1970s, Cde Davision Ndlovu, whose war name was Skuza, narrated some of the famous battles fought in the resort area that are hardly spoken about.

Cde Ndlovu said in one of the battles, a Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) detachment, which had just crossed the Zambezi River from Zambia in September 1979, shot down a Rhodesian army helicopter after being cornered by soldiers in Kalisosa, inside the game park on the outskirts of Victoria Falls.

The detachment had been dispatched by ZPRA Northern Front 1 (NF1) regional commander Retired Colonel Watson Tshipha to reinforce freedom fighters in the Ndlovu area.

This was one of the last battles before the ceasefire in 1979.

Cde Ndlovu said freedom fighters also fought fierce battles with the Rhodesian army on the Zambezi River in 1976, Lumbora and Mbizha in 1977, and BH57 and Milonga in 1978.

Born in 1957 in Halisupi, Gwanda, where he did his primary education up to Grade 7, Cde Ndlovu crossed the border into Botswana in 1974 enroute to Zambia to join the armed struggle.

He had just returned home from South Africa where he spent six months working at a mine after dropping out of school when Cde Jewel Sijiye, who was responsible for mobilising recruits for ZPRA in Gwanda, took him and other youths to Selibe Phikwe in Botswana before they were flown to Nampundwe in Zambia.

From Nampundwe Cde Ndlovu said they were transferred to Mwembeshi training camp during the time the then Organisation of Africa Unity (now African Union) set up the Zimbabwe People’s Army (Zipa) to unite Zpra, Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) and Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe (Frolizi) freedom fighters.

Cde Ndlovu said they were briefly taken to Mgagao where they were under the command of Rex Nhongo (the late General Solomon Mujuru), who was deputised by the late Alfred Nikita Mangena, but Zipa was disbanded because of some challenges.

“ZPRA fighters were then moved to Morogoro in Tanzania where we completed training before being deployed to the frontline in December 1976,” said Cde Ndlovu.

He said he was part of a platoon of 30 that were deployed to Kazungula base near Chief Mukuni area from where they crossed the Zambezi River to make sporadic attacks on the Rhodesian army.

In Kazungula they were welcomed by Ret Col Tshipha, who was the unit commander at that time.

“We were also responsible for recruitment and would assist recruits to cross through Jambezi to our base in Kazungula. We had recruited 96 people and used an 8-seater boat to cross Zambezi River, which took us the whole night. In the morning around 9am a spotter plane spotted us and in no time, jets were flying above us spraying bullets and bombs.

“All recruits had crossed to the Zambian side and the last boat carrying 12 freedom fighters was still in the middle of the river and they all perished there. We fought with the soldiers until evening and few recruits died. That became one of our first battles,” narrated Cde Ndlovu.

He said in 1977 they fought Rhodesian soldiers in Lumbora Village where they ambushed the white soldiers and killed a number of them.

In the same year the freedom fighters faced three helicopters and another plane in Mbizha and Cde Ndlovu said they survived by using guerrilla war tactics by constantly shifting firing points thereby outsmarting the Rhodesian soldiers.

Some freedom fighters lost their lives in the battle of Lumbora while the Milonga battle saw some villagers also being killed and their homesteads torched by the soldiers.

He said villagers were punished by being forced to carry corpses of white soldiers that had been killed by freedom fighters.

Cde Ndlovu said freedom fighters depended on villagers for information about soldiers’ movement, type of weapons they were carrying and how many they were so they could strategise.

“In 1979 Ret Col Tshipha had been promoted to regional commander and I was now sector commander and he invited me to Zambia for a strategic meeting. He wanted to send a battalion to Plumtree and Tsholotsho. We were also supposed to get two detachments for reinforcement in Victoria Falls in preparation for an attack on Jambezi and Airport camps and we were recruiting more youths.

“I came back with a detachment and weapons from the meeting, while a second detachment crossed through Kazungula and was supposed to join us at the base in Victoria Falls. When they got to Kalisosa they planted a landmine and that’s how they attracted soldiers’ attention after one vehicle was hit,” said Cde Ndlovu.

He said there was a fierce exchange of gunfire between soldiers and the freedom fighters, who had crossed Victoria Falls-Kazungula road and now heading towards Victoria Falls.

Cde Ndlovu said he mobilised 30 men and set off for Kalisosa for reinforcements.

He split his men after meeting some villagers carrying some injured freedom fighters in scotch carts

“The battle was fierce and the freedom fighters had taken down an army helicopter. Unfortunately, the soldiers had local informers, who told them that I had some reinforcements and they tracked us. They caught up with us around 5am, but the men I was with fought gallantly and we managed to kill some soldiers,” he said.

Cde Ndlovu was shot on the arm during the battle while trying to rescue one of his men, who had been shot.

He was taken to Jubilee Hospital in Botswana via Pandamatenga before Ret Col Tshipha drove to pick him and take him to Kazungula Hospital where he was treated and then transferred to a Zapu health institution in Makene, Zambia.

He was one of those who later gathered at Gwayi and later Llewellin (now Lookout Masuku) Barracks for demobilisation.

His wife Cde Promise Nyoni-Ndlovu was also among the first freedom fighters to train at Mkushi camp and fought on the war front.

Cde Ndlovu is national secretary for indigenisation in the war veterans’ association and vice-chairman of the organisation in Matabeleland North. — @ncubeleon

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KID WAS FORCED INTO MARRIAGE

kid was forced into marriage
kid

THE 14-year-old girl who recently lost her life during
child birth at an apostolic sect’s church gathering in Marange was forced out of
school while doing Form One in Mhondoro to get married to Evans Momberume, The
Manica Post can reveal.

Memory Machaya reportedly died around 9am on July 15 and
was secretly buried two hours later.

Memory, the last born child in a family of six, was having
her first birth.  She left behind a baby
boy who is said to be in the custody of his father. Efforts to get in touch
with Momberume were fruitless as no one had his contact details.

However, information availed to The Manica Post revealed
that the polygamous Machayas were planning to offer their nine-year-old
daughter to their in-laws as Memory’s replacement (chigadzamapfihwa).

Police could neither confirm nor deny the case, with
national police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi saying they
were yet to receive such a report.

“Have you been in touch with our provincial office? We are
yet to get such a report. We will try to get all the finer details,” said Asst
Comm Nyathi.

However, provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxson
Chananda, was not available for comment.

In a telephone interview with The Manica Post yesterday
(Thursday), the Machaya spokesperson, a bitter Ms Alice Mabika, confirmed her
niece’s painful death.

Ms Mabika is demanding justice and says she and Memory’s
mother — Ms Shy Mabika — were barred from entering the church shrine after
their daughter’s burial. The Mabika sisters said their daughter was denied
medical attention at her hour of need.

Ms Mabika said from the information they obtained from
Momberume’s sister (name not supplied), those who attended to Memory on the
fateful day say she complained of a headache.

She said the ‘‘midwives’’ diagnosed that Memory had ulcers
in the mouth and nose and went on to rub her mouth with salt, while pouring
paraffin into her nose.

“We were told that five ‘midwives’ attended to Memory and
rubbed salt in her mouth, while pouring paraffin in her nose. We were told that
she had a seizure and hit her head on the ground.

“She died soon after delivering her baby boy and the church
members went on to bury her without involving us,” said Ms Mabika.

After getting wind of Memory’s death, her mother, a devotee
of the church who had not attended the church gathering in question, teamed up
with her relatives to attend her burial, but the worst nightmare awaited them
at the Marange Shrine.

The family was barred from entering the shrine and a
scuffle ensued as they sought to force their way in after spending the night
waiting to be granted access.

In an audio recording which was availed to The Manica Post,
the Mabikas, who were led by their brother, Patrick, are heard complaining
bitterly about the inhuman treatment they were being subjected to by the
church’s security team.

Said Ms Mabika: “When we arrived at the shrine around 2pm,
we were told to wait until the prayers were done at 6pm. The security team
checked us around 7pm, but they became evasive. Our pleas to be attended to
fell on deaf ears and we had to spend the night in the open.

“We remained resolute in our quest to see our daughter’s
body, but the security details would not budge. We even tried to engage the
service of our relative who is in the police force in Chinhoyi.

“We phoned him and he tried to talk to the church’s
security personnel, but they refused to entertain him over the phone,” she
said, her voice breaking with emotion.

Ms Mabika said her sister — Memory’s mother — was equally
bitter, but cannot do anything about it.

“Memory’s death devastated her and she is bedridden at her
home in Kwekwe as we speak. She cannot do anything about it as she respects the
wishes of her husband.

“People should not be slaves of these religious doctrines.
Our hearts are bleeding and we pray that one day justice will prevail,” she
said.

Ms Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, African Union Goodwill
Ambassador on ending child marriages posted on her social media platforms:
“This child’s death has created outrage. We are all angry because it is not a
single child, thousands of them are being sexually abused in this country. May
the perpetrator of this crime be arrested so that he faces justice? The
accomplices are known — those who gave away the child and those who took her to
the shrine are all guilty . . . ”

Mutare human rights lawyer, Mr Passmore Nyakureba chipped
in: “This story is heart-breaking. It runs against everything that we stand for
and believe in as a nation. This is a violation of the rights of the girl child
committed by paedophiles hiding behind the cover of religion.

“This is a case of child marriage. All those behind it must
face criminal prosecution as the deceased was a minor, the man behind the
pregnancy violated the law by being intimate with a minor. The circumstances
leading to the burial must also be properly investigated as they smack of every
deliberate effort to conceal a crime. I am hopeful that the relevant officials
from the concerned Government departments are leaving no stone unturned in
addressing this issue.”

According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the legal age of
consent for sexual activity is 16, while the minimum age for marriage is 18.
Manica Post

 

 


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Observers say EU leaders Macron and Merkel have ‘blood on their hands’ in Africa after AZ jab doubts

observers say eu leaders macron and merkel have blood on their hands in africa after az jab doubts

The state mortuary is overflowing in the Namibian capital of Windhoek. 

Corpses stacked three-deep in refrigeration units have to be rotated each day with those piled in the corridors, at room temperature.

Horrifying footage has circulated on social media of staff lugging leaking body bags like so many sacks of rotten potatoes.

The south-west African country is in the grip of the Delta variant-driven third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The healthcare system, such as it was, has folded under the onslaught. The country now has the second highest per capita Covid-19 mortality rate in the world, after Tunisia.

If you are a middle-aged or elderly Namibian with an underlying health problem and have caught the virus, you are in the hands of providence. 

The hospitals will not take you. They have to carry out a brutal triage. 

Pharmacist Netti Pitsche told the Mail that not even her extensive network of contacts in the local medical profession could prevent her from losing both her parents in the space of two weeks.

When her 75-year-old father contracted the virus and his blood oxygen level fell dangerously low, Netti spent an entire night calling everyone she knew to try to get him into a hospital and on a respirator. To no avail.

‘The first thing every hospital asked was “how old is he?”’ she said. ‘If you’re older than 50 and have any kind of comorbidity, they will not admit you.’

A week later, her mother also died at home as result of Covid-related complications.

Neutral observers and those within the Oxford AZ programme believe the deadly perception has been caused by cynical politicking in the European Union and the U.S

Neutral observers and those within the Oxford AZ programme believe the deadly perception has been caused by cynical politicking in the European Union and the U.S

Neutral observers and those within the Oxford AZ programme believe the deadly perception has been caused by cynical politicking in the European Union and the U.S

Oxygen supplies to help the stricken are at a premium. 

But most pressing is the supply shortage of vaccines against the virus. And the uptake. 

Less than one per cent of the 2.5 million population have been double vaccinated.

Last week the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the Netherlands was sending to Namibia significant doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. 

The Hague would also be donating the British-developed inoculations to Surinam, Cape Verde and Indonesia. 

The Oxford-AZ vaccines had been languishing in cold storage in the Netherlands, said the report.

This was because the Dutch people preferred the alternative jabs provided by rivals Pfizer and Moderna. No reason was given by NBC for this privileged preference.

But the inference was clear to some in Africa. 

‘We have become a dumping site’ read one of the Namibian comments below the report on the NBC’s news website. 

And that goes to the very heart of an avoidable global tragedy.

‘Dumping’ suggests rubbish. But the Oxford-AZ vaccine is far from that. It is a brilliant achievement. 

It was produced in record time to protect the world – rich or poor- from an existential threat. 

It is being sold not for profit, like others which have come on the market, but at cost price. 

It is the embodiment of a truly humanitarian approach to a global disaster.

This week saw the production of the billionth Oxford-AZ dose – sent now to 170 countries – and the launch of a Barbie doll figure of Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert who led the Oxford-AZ programme.

But the perception in south-west Africa, as well as other parts of the developing world ravaged by Covid-19, is that when they are getting Oxford-AZ they are getting something second rate; what the First World does not want. 

Therefore dangerous. To be avoided.

The perception in south-west Africa, as well as other parts of the developing world ravaged by Covid-19, is that when they are getting Oxford-AZ they are getting something second rate; what the First World does not want. Above: Patients in hospital in Kampala, Uganda

The perception in south-west Africa, as well as other parts of the developing world ravaged by Covid-19, is that when they are getting Oxford-AZ they are getting something second rate; what the First World does not want. Above: Patients in hospital in Kampala, Uganda

The perception in south-west Africa, as well as other parts of the developing world ravaged by Covid-19, is that when they are getting Oxford-AZ they are getting something second rate; what the First World does not want. Above: Patients in hospital in Kampala, Uganda

That suspicion has led to reluctance and then rejection. And that has had fatal consequences in the fight against Covid-19. 

Many neutral observers – as well as those directly involved in the Oxford-AZ development programme – believe this deadly perception has been caused by cynical politicking in the European Union and the U.S. and the critical utterances, unbacked by scientific proof, of one man in particular: French President Emmanuel Macron.

In an interview last month, Adam Ritchie, project manager at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute (which developed the vaccine with AstraZeneca) said it had been made a ‘scapegoat’ at a time when the EU was floundering with its own vaccine programme. 

Macron’s pronouncements on the vaccine would ‘stick forever… the one vaccine that’s not for profit has been dumped on again and again’.

Last night another major figure in the Oxford-AZ development programme went further. 

They told me: ‘Lots of people have died because of Macron’s comments. Southern Africa is the best example [of this]. Astra have effectively given away 10-20 billion dollars voluntarily, by pricing at cost. Yet it gets nothing but criticism.’

The pandemic hit at a time when post-Brexit political relations between the UK and Europe were already in a state of flux, if not mutual suspicion or hostility. 

Britain left the EU in January 2020, with the transition period ending a year later. This was the period during which the Oxford AZ vaccine was fully developed.

One of the UK Government’s rare, unquestionably competent decisions during the crisis was to bet on the Oxford-AZ vaccine programme’s success by investing in it at an early stage and placing large-scale pre-orders for the resulting drug. 

By late autumn last year, when the first Phase III trial results were publicised, this initiative offered a beacon of hope.

Another Covid-19 vaccine had emerged at the same time, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, a German-American collaboration. But there were significant cost and storage differences.

Today, Pfizer charges the EU around $14.70 (£10.59) per dose. The drug also requires long-term storage in specialised freezers at between -80c and -60c. 

The Oxford-AZ vaccine could be kept long-term in an ordinary domestic fridge at temperatures above freezing. 

And AstraZeneca declared that it would not seek a profit during the pandemic. 

Its vaccine would cost around $3 (£2.16) a shot, a fraction of the price of its rivals, and would therefore be affordable across the world (today the Moderna vaccine costs around $18 (£12.97) per dose and the single shot Johnson & Johnson $8.50 (£6.13).

Belatedly, the EU – acting collectively for member states – also wanted in on the Oxford breakthrough. 

But their negotiating approach towards AstraZeneca was unexpected. There was a ‘ferocious’ attempt to drive down the price of a drug, which was already being offered at or near cost. 

And after three months they succeeded. The EU got a price of only $2.15 (£1.55) per dose, below what the UK government pays. But the negotiated deal was flawed.

Overwhelmed by demand, AstraZeneca did not have the capacity to deliver in the quantity and timescale it had agreed with Brussels. 

So were sown the seeds of what would become a full-blown vaccine ‘war’ that would have dire reputational consequences for the Oxford-AZ jab and even more serious ramifications far beyond the boundaries of Europe.

Hostilities broke out at the start of this year when it became clear to the EU that it would not be getting even half the Oxford-AZ supplies it expected. 

The manufacturers were accused of favouring orders to the UK where the public vaccination programme was outstripping that in the ponderous EU. 

In the midst of the pandemic, Brussels decided to sue AstraZeneca — a ‘morally untenable’ action, according to Adam Ritchie. 

The EU said it would block the export of the vaccine that had been manufactured in member states. 

Indeed, it did stop a shipment to Australia. The legal action continues.

There were other EU grumblings about the British wonder drug. 

Only 2.7 million of South Africa’s 60 million population have been fully vaccinated. A Covid patient breaths oxygen in hospital in Cape Town

Only 2.7 million of South Africa’s 60 million population have been fully vaccinated. A Covid patient breaths oxygen in hospital in Cape Town

Only 2.7 million of South Africa’s 60 million population have been fully vaccinated. A Covid patient breaths oxygen in hospital in Cape Town

Not enough elderly people had taken part in earlier clinical trials to satisfy some national regulatory bodies of the vaccine’s efficacy among the aged.

It had since been proven perfectly efficient. But too late to prevent President Macron’s disastrous intervention.

In January, only hours after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved its use on all adults, the French leader told reporters that Oxford-AZ was ‘quasi-ineffective for over-65s’ and that it ‘doesn’t work the way we were expecting [it] to’. 

Under fire because of the huge disparity between the UK and French mass immunisation numbers, he added: ‘The goal is not to have the biggest number of first injections.’

It was a ‘lie’ to tell people they were vaccinated if they had had a ‘first dose of a vaccine that is made up of two’.

‘Current evidence does not suggest any lack of protection against Covid-19 in people aged 65 or over who receive the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca,’ the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) chief executive, Dr June Raine, responded in a statement.

‘The data we have show that the vaccine produces a strong immune response in the over-65s, and that it is safe.’ 

But Macron’s words had gone around the world. A doubt had been created. 

By spring, French doctors were talking of a ‘wave of panic,’ despite French regulators signing off the drug for use in the elderly.

‘Macron’s communication over AstraZeneca has been totally disastrous to the extent that I personally think there were political motives behind it, such as making Britain pay for Brexit or the delay in supplies,’ Dr Milena Wehenkel was reported as saying at one Paris vaccine centre in April.

By then, a new Oxford-AZ scare story had come along. It was being linked to potentially fatal blood clots in the young. 

The chances were minute – one fatal thrombosis had occurred following every 500,000 doses. The EMA conducted a safety review and concluded the overall benefits far outweighed possible risks.

Last month it was reported that researchers from Spain, the UK and the Netherlands compared data from more than 1.3 million people and concluded that those who had the Oxford-AZ jab developed blood clots at the same rate as those who had the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

And those who had Covid-19 developed thromboses at a higher rate than those who had either jab.

But the damage was done. A dozen European countries stopped using the British jab. Some, such as Denmark and Norway, stopped for good. 

The EU thumbs-down was confirmed in June by a piece of political theatre, when the German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a Moderna jab as her second vaccination.

Her first, two months earlier, had been Oxford-AZ. 

The story of her ‘rejection’ went around the world. And as alternatives became more available, European nations began to ‘dump’ their unfairly maligned and therefore unwanted Oxford-AZ supplies where they could.

That meant the developing world, where any protection against Covid-19 was welcome. But even that would change.

Europe’s leaders have behaved with a reckless condescension. As if the developing world won’t discover that the vaccines they are being sent with such apparent philanthropy were the vaccines that had been rejected, as being unfit for purpose, in Europe.

Africa is facing a Covid-19 catastrophe. Only about one per cent of the continent’s 1.3 billion people have been fully vaccinated. 

Health authorities are desperate for deliveries of the Oxford-AZ jab. 

But even modest mass immunisation targets are being undermined by supply shortages, scare stories and international politicking.

In Malawi in May, 19,000 Oxford-AZ doses were incinerated after going past their use-by date. 

The country had received 102,000 from the African Union. But the uptake was ‘low’. People were worried. 

In capital Lilongwe a shopkeeper was quoted saying: ‘I have heard a lot of stories about people getting blood clots and some even dying after getting immunised. 

Are those people telling lies? If it is the truth, why are we being given the same vaccines?’

Another factor was the EMA’s delay in approving Covishield, the Oxford-AZ vaccine produced on licence for AstraZeneca by the Serum Institute of India. 

The majority of EU countries independently recognised the efficacy of the Indian version, which has been given to more than five million Britons (including myself).

But France held out, not changing its stance until late July. Those who had been double-jabbed with Covishield would have to quarantine on entry in the same way as the unvaccinated. 

This was noticed globally. Not just in India, where it caused outrage and was described as ‘ugly racism’, but in Africa.

In Uganda one million Covishield doses were delivered in March, but only a quarter had been administered by end of April. 

People asked if they were getting a ‘bad’ vaccine? Scare stories ‘impact the confidence that people have in their vaccines, especially coming from… presidents of countries. The fear factor is out there,’ said virologist John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the government of the country with the highest number of cases on the continent decided it did not want Oxford-AZ even if available. 

South Africa has sold on its Oxford-AZ supply – some 1.5 million doses – after local tests had suggested that the vaccine had a low efficacy against the Beta variant of Covid-19.

This was an extraordinary move given that it is the Delta variant — against which the British vaccine is proven effective — that now accounts for more than 70 per cent of cases in the country.

Only 2.7 million of South Africa’s 60 million population have been fully vaccinated.

A recent study found 54 per cent of South Africans say they are unlikely to get a vaccine and only 28 per cent trust the government to ensure vaccines are safe.

So no vaccine is apparently better than one of allegedly low efficiency against one minority strain? Tell that to the ‘overwhelmed’ front-line staff in the health care system.

Neighbour Namibia is desperate for any vaccine. It is sticking with Oxford-AZ but for the moment supplies have run out.

They are waiting on the shipment that has been ‘dumped’ by the Netherlands and other vaccines from China.

Last week global pressure group The People’s Vaccine Alliance published a study in which they said that the cost of vaccinating the world against Covid-19 could be at least five times cheaper if pharmaceutical companies weren’t profiteering from their monopolies on vaccines. 

The Alliance accused Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are charging governments as much as $41 billion above the estimated cost of production.

As reported in the Mail this week, Pfizer has projected an income of £21.4 billion over the full year for its vaccine and last month raised the price to countries buying booster shots. 

In contrast, in the second quarter of the year AstraZeneca reported a modest £643 million revenue from its vaccine sales.

Pfizer defends its pricing structure, pointing out high- and middle-income countries pay more than low-income countries. Low and lower middle-income countries pay a not-for-profit price.

‘Pfizer did not receive public funding,’ the company told the Mail. ‘Before we knew whether or not the vaccine would be effective, Pfizer invested approximately $2 billion at risk – meaning that if the vaccine did not work, Pfizer would have borne that entire cost. We decided to self-fund our efforts so we could move as fast as possible.’

Moderna was also asked for comment but did not respond.

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot told us: ‘We are in discussions with the EU to ensure a settlement and want to move on. 

‘Despite all this criticism, we are the second largest supplier of vaccine to Europe.’

In the third wave of the pandemic the UK had 139 per cent more cases than South Africa, but suffered 81 per cent fewer deaths.

That is the impact of a successful vaccination campaign, founded on the Oxford-AZ jab.

‘I believe that many of those South African deaths are attributable to Macron and others who have sowed doubt in the minds of the vulnerable,’ said the figure who was involved in the Oxford-AZ development programme. ‘For that, he should be ashamed.’

Too late, of course, for the parents of Netti Pitsche and thousands of others across the world.

Additional reporting: John Grobler in Windhoek and Amrit Dhillon in Delhi

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Somalia Rejects AU Ideas for Scaling Back Peacekeepers

somalia rejects au ideas for scaling back peacekeepers

The Somali government has formally rejected African Union recommendations for a scaled-down peacekeeping presence in the Horn of Africa country, calling a report and its proposals “devoid of realities.”

“The experts who conducted the assessment didn’t sufficiently consult with the federal government of Somalia,” Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdirizak told VOA Somali, saying the government informed the AU of its position last week. “The report and options are not good options at this point.”

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has provided peacekeepers in Somalia since March 2007, primarily to protect the Somali government, and subsequently helped Somali forces dislodge al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants from all major towns and cities. Five AU countries – Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti – contribute to the current force of 19,400 soldiers. The mission costs hundreds of millions a year, according to the IPI Global Observatory.

Reduce, reconfigure presence

But AU officials, concerned about funding, have sought to draw down and reconfigure the peacekeeping posture. In April, Somali officials agreed to take the lead in security responsibilities by year’s end.

In a report dated May 30, an AU assessment team proposed four options. Its first and preferred recommendation would be a hybrid mission of the African Union and United Nations, with a mix of police (50%), military personnel (35%) and civilians (15%). The AU report did not specify troop strength but recommended a gradual reduction.

The U.N., which conducted its own assessment earlier this year, did not call for a hybrid mission. Instead, it recommended that AMISOM reconfigure and modify its mission – the AU team’s second option.

FILE – Burundian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers stand in formation during a ceremony as they prepare to leave the Jaale Siad Military academy after being replaced by the Somali military in Mogadishu, Somalia, Feb. 28, 2019.

The AU team’s remaining two options were deploying an East African standby force or having AMISOM exit the country. The report’s authors said the latter could be accomplished in six months, but they warned against a hasty exit.

Earlier this year, the United States pulled out most of its troops, repositioning them elsewhere in East Africa. It resumed military airstrikes against al-Shabab militants in Somalia on July 20, after a six-month lull.

The AU report criticized the Somali government and federal member states, saying their failure to resolve issues of constitutional review and the sharing of power and resources had contributed to challenges in stabilizing the country.

“Somali political actors do not respect their own agreements; political actors show deference to the clan rather than the federal constitutional order,” the report said.

Abdirizak, the foreign minister, said his government had devised a Somali transition plan (STP) “that eventually transfers security responsibilities to Somalis. It’s a plan where the leadership of security will be taking their views and orders from the Somali side. This is the best way to transition AMISOM security responsibilities to Somali security responsibilities.”

But, he complained, “none of the four [AU] options currently presented mentions STP.”

AMISOM did not respond to VOA’s request for an on-the-record interview.

Lack of coordination

The AU assessment came amid emerging accounts of miscommunication and poor coordination between Africa Union and Somali military leadership. But several AMISOM and Somali government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, cited tension between Somali Brigadier General Odawaa Yusuf Rageh and Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya, commander of the AU forces in Somalia.

“There is some bad blood between the two,” said a senior AU official in Mogadishu, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The differences between Rageh and Ndegeya – who both declined VOA’s requests for interviews – reportedly stem from a military operation that the Somali National Army (SNA) conducted against al-Shabab in the Middle Shabelle region. The army reported that the six-week operation, which began May 23, accomplished its objectives by clearing al-Shabab from a vast rural area and killing more than 100 militants.

FILE – A Uganda People’s Defense Forces soldier, part of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers, is seen during a nighttime street patrol in Mogadishu, Somalia, 5, 2017.

The senior AU official said that, though AMISOM soldiers operate in the area, Rageh did not inform them of the Somali military operation.

The senior AU official said there was no collaborative planning. He suggested that Rageh “wanted to showcase his ability to execute missions even without AMISOM, and this has backfired.”

The AU official said that midway through the operation, Rageh asked AMISOM for air support – and was refused.

Rageh “wanted choppers to be used to fire” at al-Shabab positions in a forested area but “they did not have area coordinates of the enemy; they had no clear intelligence about the enemy,” which has anti-aircraft guns, the AU official said.

Colonel Ali Hashi Abdinur, spokesperson for the Somali army, denied tensions between the commanders. “The cooperation is going very well. There is no dispute,” he said.

Contention over mobile forces

Abdirizak says his government wants AU forces to play a supporting role, with timely handover of security responsibilities to Somali forces. He is asking AMISOM to provide mobile forces to fight alongside Somali troops.

On Monday, Somali security forces captured two key areas in central Galmudug state. They were led by U.S.-trained commandos called the Danab Brigade – lightning-quick mobile forces capable of operating on multiple fronts. Somali government officials say AMISOM operations need to be modeled after Danab’s mobile operations.

But the senior AU official said AMISOM hasn’t been able to provide mobile support because it’s burdened by running several forward operating bases for which Somalia failed to take responsibility.

When the Somali army demanded a mobile force, “we said, ‘You are the same people who tied our hands,’ ” the senior AU official said.

Lack of coordination is not surprising, said Samira Gaid, a national security expert.

“Ultimately, we are on two different clocks,” said Gaid, who served as security adviser to former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.

Gaid warned that miscommunication could breed mistrust and undue tension between two entities expected to work together.

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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USAID: Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe – The New Dawn Liberia

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The newly arrived Country Director for the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) Jim Wright, has assured Liberians the Johnson & Johnson vaccine donated to Liberia by the United States Government is safe.

“Let me be clear: This is a safe vaccine.  U.S. regulators approved the J&J vaccine last February.  Since then, almost 13.5 million Americans have received this very same vaccine, and tens of thousands more are receiving it every day”, Director Wright said when he joined also newly arrived Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Country Director Dr. Rachel Idowu and Liberia’s Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Kemayah, Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah, along with other dignitaries to kick off the Johnson & Johnson vaccination campaign here Thursday, August 05, 2021.

The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn Liberia
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The new USIAD boss continued, “If you have questions about it, I urge you to visit the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website—www.CDC.gov—to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.”

A release issued by U.S. Embassy Monrovia says the event, which took place at Paynesville City Hall in the commercial district of Paynesville, also included performances by Cultural Ambassador Juli Endee, COVID-19 testing, and launch of the new digital vaccination tracking system.

Director Wright also applauded the Ministry of Health’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia, especially its commitment to vaccinating the Liberian people: “The decision to send the vaccines to Liberia was due in no small measure to Liberia’s successful handling of the first tranche of vaccines”, he is quoted as saying.

Foreign Minister Kemayah urged Liberians to take advantage of the opportunity to protect themselves and their neighbors stressing, “The more people that take this vaccine, the better it is for our community.”

Health Minister Jallah thanked everyone for doing a good job with COVID-19 spread prevention, especially the increased mask-wearing.

 “What we saw a few weeks ago, we don’t want to see that again” she said and continued, “I want to thank everyone who helped make this donation and vaccine roll-out possible, so we can declare to the world: Liberians are being vaccinated!”

Earlier in a special news conference Wednesday, August 4 2021, at the ministry of information, cultural affairs and tourism on Capitol Hill on the eve of the kick off, Dr. Jallah said in accordance with World Health Organization(WHO’s) benchmark,  Liberia is expected to vaccinate 10 percent of her population by end of September.

She noted that Liberia has made tremendous progress in the fight against the third wave of the COVID-19, bringing the country down to Level 3 from Level4, on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ranking.

“The United States, who before put Liberia at Level 4, has brought us back down to Level 3, and after their 28 days revision, we are hoping to come down again”, Dr. Jallah added.

She disclosed that for the next few days, the vaccination process will focus on people who have not taken any jab at all, adding that if those people are vaccinated, this will help to increase the number of people that have been vaccinated in the Republic of Liberia, while putting total tests already conducted at 146,138.

Also speaking at Wednesday’s news conference, Montserrado County Health Offer Dr. Yatta Sickie Yapoe said, beginning August 05, the Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be situated at 40 health care facilities in Montserrado, including 20 market places with 10 mobile teams visiting communities, churches and government ministries, among others.

She also named temporary sites including the Monrovia City Hall, Paynesville Town Hall, Gardnersville Town Hall, Barnesville Town Hall and APM Terminals’ premises respectively, adding that they intend to put a site at Farmington Hotel in Margibi County as well as.

Among market grounds where the vaccines are expected to be available CHO Yapoe says, include  Red Light Market, Gobachop Market, Jacob Town Market, Redemption Day Market, Gardnersville Market, Jogben Town Market, ELWA, Duala, Clara Town, Poetry Market, VOA Market, Duport Road Market, Rehab, Rally Town, Roto Town Market, Barnesville and 72nd Market, respectively.

She added that all of the health districts in Montserrado County are included, not leaving out Todee district and elsewhere.

Liberians at home are taking the Johnson & Johnson doses for the first time, since it was manufactured in the United States.

The country had received an initial donation of 96,000 doses of the AstraZeneca jabs (produced in India) thru COVAX earlier this year which was partially administered, due to lack of adequate awareness and failure by authorities at the Ministry of Health to administer second round of doses as scientifically required.

Health Minister Jallah announced that members of the public who took the AstraZeneca vaccines are not allowed to go for the Johnson & Johnson shots.

On July 25, 302,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the United States via COVAX arrived in Liberia, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  The U.S. Government coordinated closely with the African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to make the donation possible.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-johnson-johnson-jabs-ready/ Editing by Jonathan Browne

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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‘NPP government fulfilling promises’ – NPP communicator

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Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Yaw Preko

The Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Yaw Preko has said his outfit has delivered a significant number of its manifesto promises.

He further disclosed that the governing party has fulfilled a significant chunk of its 2020 manifesto promises.

The Government has also succeeded in working with the African Union to establish the Continental Free Trade Area, with its Secretariat in Accra.

According to him, the Akufo-Addo-led government fulfilled promises on economic, governance, social service, infrastructure, and human capital investment within a period of four and half years.

“80% of our promises have been fulfilled: [the projects are] either 100% delivered or we are delivering. All these projects are on the delivery tracker,” Mr. Yaw Preko exclusively told Reynold Agyemang on ‘Pae Mu Ka’ on Accra-based Kingdom FM 107.7

“Am sure you will agree with me that the worse NPP government is far far better than the best NDC has to offer.

“When we came into office, we were met with huge debts and no money. It is for this reason that we put in place the appropriate measures to strengthen our monetary system, so the development we promised the people can be met,” he added.

He said Ghanaians have also benefited from the government’s ‘Free Senior High School Programme’ and the ‘Nation’s Builders Corp’, which has drastically curbed graduate unemployment in the country.

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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J&J shot effective against Delta variant in large South Africa study

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Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is 71 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and 96 percent effective at preventing death from the Delta variant, according to preliminary data from a massive South African study.

The study, called the Sisonke, involved over 477,000 health care workers who received the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine between February and May of this year. Workers were exposed to both the Beta and Delta variants of COVID-19 as they spread throughout the country.

The Johnson & Johnson shot provided protection against both variants, but there was slightly “greater efficacy against Delta than against Beta,” compared to unvaccinated populations, said Glenda Gray, the president of the South African Medical Research Council and co-leader of the trial, in remarks broadcast on local television.

The shot was 67 percent effective at preventing hospitalization from the Beta coronavirus variant.

The study’s analysis, which has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, also found no additional safety concerns from the vaccine. Out of all the vaccinated participants, only two people experienced the serious adverse event of blood clots with low platelet counts, but both made a full recovery, Gray said.

Background: Johnson & Johnson’s shot is one of three authorized for use in the United States, and has played a major role in South Africa’s vaccination strategy. The company has agreed to provide 400 million doses to countries in the African Union through 2022.

What’s next: Vaccinations in South Africa have increased, with over 8.3 million recipients as of Thursday, Reuters reports.

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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المغرب: المغرب وموريتانيا توقعان مذكرة تفاهم في قطاع التوظيف

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نواكشوط – تم التوقيع يوم الخميس بنواكشوط على مذكرة تفاهم في قطاع التشغيل والتكامل المهني بين وزارتي التشغيل والاندماج المهني المغربية والموريتانية.

يتعلق هذا التعاون بشكل أساسي بسياسات وبرامج تعزيز العمالة ، فضلاً عن رصدها وتقييمها ، والوساطة في مجال التشغيل والاندماج المهني ، فضلاً عن تشخيص سوق العمل.

وبموجب هذه المذكرة ، فإن البلدين مدعوان إلى إبرام اتفاقيات شراكة وتعاون في مجالات تدريب وتطوير الموارد البشرية ، وكذلك في مجالات قيادة الأعمال وإنشاء المشاريع الصغيرة والمتوسطة لفائدة الوظائف. الباحثون.

كما اتفق الجانبان على تبادل المهارات والخبرات والبرامج والدراسات المهنية في المجالات المتعلقة بالتوظيف.

كما نصت مذكرة التفاهم على تشكيل لجنة فنية مكونة من 3 ممثلين عن كل وزارة من أجل وضع برنامج سنوي لمتابعة وتقييم الإجراءات المنفذة ، بالإضافة إلى تبادل الزيارات بين الطرفين.

وفي معرض حديثه بهذه المناسبة ، أكد وزير التشغيل والتكوين المهني الموريتاني طالب ولد سيد أحمد أن توقيع هذه الاتفاقية يشهد على متانة العلاقات القائمة بين الرباط ونواكشوط.

وأشار إلى أن البلدين مرتبطان بعدة اتفاقيات تعاون مكنت من تنظيم رحلات دراسية عديدة وأتاحت الفرصة للعديد من المسؤولين الموريتانيين لاكتساب المهارات المطلوبة.

وأشار إلى أن الوكالة الوطنية لإنعاش التشغيل والمهارات (أنابك) دعمت الوكالة الموريتانية لتشغيل الشباب منذ إنشائها ، مضيفا أن هاتين الهيئتين مرتبطتين باتفاقيات مكّنت العديد من المديرين التنفيذيين الموريتانيين من القيام بزيارات للاستفادة منها. التجربة المغربية في قطاع النهوض بالشغل.

وفي حديثه إلى وكالة المغرب العربي للأنباء ، أكد محمد حازم ، مدير المرصد الوطني لسوق العمل التابع لوزارة التشغيل والإدماج المهني ، أن توقيع مذكرة التفاهم هذه من المرجح أن يعزز علاقات التعاون المثمرة بين موريتانيا والمغرب ، لا سيما في مجالات التوظيف والتدريب المهني. دمج.

وأشار إلى أن المغرب وموريتانيا مطالبان باتخاذ تدابير لإدارة العرض والطلب على العمالة بشكل صحيح بهدف تعزيز هذا القطاع وتحسين قابلية الشباب للتوظيف وحمايتهم الاجتماعية.

وأكد في هذا الصدد دور هيئات الوساطة في ضمان الإدارة المثلى لسوق العمل على المستوى المحلي والإقليمي والدولي ، وكذلك من حيث تنسيق الجهود لتنمية الموارد البشرية بشكل عام والتكامل المهني بشكل خاص.

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Two-Minute Tip: 3 Mistakes That Hurt CEOs’ Relationships With Their Boards

two minute tip 3 mistakes that hurt ceos relationships with their boards
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In this video, EdWeek Market Brief Reporter Emma Kate Fittes breaks down the key missteps CEOs make when it comes to building and maintaining a positive and productive relationship with their board.

The Two-Minute Tip is one of a series of videos offering advice to company officials on how to improve their work and…

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In this video, EdWeek Market Brief Reporter Emma Kate Fittes breaks down the key missteps CEOs make when it comes to building and maintaining a positive and productive relationship with their board.

The Two-Minute Tip is one of a series of videos offering advice to company officials on how to improve their work and the products they deliver to schools. It’s based on a story Emma Kate wrote in which she gathered advice from investors, advisers to boards, CEOs and ed-tech board members about how leaders of education companies can nurture trust and communication.

Those executives talked about embracing tough conversations, keeping the board fresh with new members, and seeking advice from a variety of sources.


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AFRIMA unveils 3 new categories to capture all music aspects 

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The International Jury of All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, on Friday unveiled three new categories for its 2021 edition.

AFRIMA in partnership with the African Union Commission, AUC, is the pinnacle of African music awards globally.

The categories are: Best Soundtrack in a movie/series/documentary film, Best Global Sound and Breakout Artiste of the Year formerly Most Promising Artist.

According to a statement signed by Mr Sola Dada, Head, Media and Partnerships of  AFRIMA, the addition of the three categories brings the total to 40 award categories.

He said that the new categories were approved at a virtual meeting between the International Committee of AFRIMA and The AFRIMA International Jury.

“The new categories were selected to capture all aspects of music including its utilisation in the movie industry and in recognition of the waves being made by African artists in the world.” he said.

The statement quoted a member of AFRIMA International Jury, Hadja Kobele, to have said that  the scope of music industry was becoming increasingly broad with multiple expressions of music and complex production techniques becoming more popular.

“It is AFRIMA’s mandate to support the music industry in Africa, thus, the need to recognise and reward some of these talented productions.

“The category for “Best Soundtrack in a movie/series/documentary” is awarded to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.

“Some pre-existing music is allowed though, but a contending film must include a minimum of original music.

“Best Global Sound will be awarded to the artists who primarily are not African, but whose songs have received widespread recognitions in Africa and around the world.

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“Breakout Artiste of the Year will be awarded to a new artist whose songs have received widespread recognition within their career span,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the notice of the new award categories followed the commencement of submission of entries which would  close on Aug. 20 at www.afrima.org.

The statement advised artists, disc jockeys, music producers, songwriters, dancers/choreographers, and video directors to submit their works produced or released during  the year under  review from June 1, 2020 to Aug. 20 for a chance to be nominated.

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)