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WOMEN have been encouraged to take advantage of the 30 percent local government quota to enhance gender-sensitive development and social service delivery.

Mashonaland Central which has a 5.6 percent representation of women in local government positions is poised to benefit from the 30 percent women’s quota.

Mashonaland Central Women in Local Government Forum Chairperson Alderman Catherine Mahachi urged her peers to unite and take advantage of the empowerment drive, sentiments echoed by provincial secretary Rain Takundwa.

“We met and encouraged each other let us go and unite and encourage each other and do one thing urging other women to come to local government.”

“The issue of the 50 percent quota is not just about women in local government but enhancing equality.”

Mashonaland Central Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga applauded government efforts in meeting the constitutional requirements of 50/50 representation.

“This is a milestone achievement and is in line with our constitution which we passed in 2013 is talking of 50/50 so we are moving towards that.”

The increase in the representation of female councillors is expected to ensure more gender-sensitive representation and improve service delivery since women constitute a larger proportion of the population.

Source: ZBC News

Travel restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom have dented the tourism hype that is normally associated with the festive season, with bookings being cancelled.

Voice: The United Kingdom and other Western countries announced new Civid-19 restrictive measures after a new variant was detected in South Africa.

Players in the tourism industry have lamented the travel restrictions which have affected the SADC region and coincide with the festive season which is normally associated with a boom in the sector.

Speaking to ZBC News Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe President Wengayi Nhau explained the effect of the travel ban on the local tourism industry.

“The festive season had good occupancy close to 60-80% with most diaspora guests coming home. With the latest flight bans due to Omicron variant, we have started seeing huge cancellations and or postponed travel plans. We are yet to see the full impact of this recent ban but the sad part is we are seeing more and more cancellations of bookings and demand for refunds. This festive season had a good mixture of locals, regional and international tourists booked in our hotels,” he said.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Mat North Chairperson Anald also lamented the travel ban saying it is ill-timed.

“The travel restrictions will have a severe negative impact on the tourism recovery trajectory that we have already started experiencing one in domestic and regional level as a global level. Southern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa were on the recovery path and now that is gone by the fact that the pronouncement were made. We believe that the timing was wrong in the sense that  there was no proper scientific investigations that were done that would have possibly led to a more friendly intervention than a whole blanket ban on movement of passenger traffic  between Europe and  Southern Africa and as well as other African countries. It will be unfortunate if this continues longer than today. We are hearing that there could be a relaxation of some of some of the requirements we maintain they were supposed not to be there in the first place,” explained Musonza.

 He however added that the sector is turning its attention to domestic tourism to minimise the effects of the travel restrictions.

“We believe that if we can manage to keep our domestic tourism open as much as we can, in strict adherence to the COVID-19 laid down protocols, it would alleviate the loss of income, the loss of jobs as well as save our businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector until such a time we have a permanent or more sustainable solutions that would help as far as combating the effects of COVID-19 are concerned,” he added.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has revealed that despite recent improvements, uneven vaccination rates around the world and new Covid-19 strains could impact on the already slow recovery of the sector.

Source: Reuters

Nick Mwendwa has stepped aside as president of Football Kenya Federation (FKF) after being charged with multiple counts of fraud.

In a letter to FKF's national executive committee members, Mwendwa stated he was handing over the reins to vice president Doris Petra because he felt "personally targeted" by his arrest and the subsequent charges, which he denies.

"In light of the frequent arrests and detentions, which have adversely affected my family and personal business, and whilst I am confident I will be cleared of any wrong doing in the end, I have asked my vice president Madam Doris Petra to assume all functions of the FKF president," Mwendwa wrote.

"My decision has been arrived at with the federation's best interest at heart."

On Monday Mwendwa pleaded not guilty to four counts of fraud at an anti-corruption court in Nairobi, having been re-arrested by police on Friday.

The total amount of money Mwendwa and others, who were not present in court, are accused of taking from FKF is about 38m Kenyan shillings ($337,700, £254,500).

Mwendwa, who had been head of the FKF since 2016, is currently out on a cash bail of 10m Kenyan shillings as he awaits trial.

Among the terms of his bail, Mwendwa has been instructed to deposit his passport with the court and is forbidden from accessing FKF offices.

This week's court appearances come a fortnight after Mwendwa was released on bail after a previous arrest.

Last Thursday the FKF announced the case against him was over and the court returned his cash bail of 4m Kenyan shillings - but the Kenyan police later clarified that it was not the fraud case which had been closed.

It meant that the country's Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) continued its investigations and eventually arrested him for a second time, with Mwendwa then being formally charged with corruption.

Source: BBC

Burkina Faso has given details of a major regional security operation launched with Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo last week.

The aim was to stem the jihadist insurgencies ravaging parts of West Africa.

Burkinabe Defence Minister Maxime Kone said almost 6,000 troops had been deployed in the four countries' borderlands, arresting 300 people and seizing vehicles, weapons, ammunition and drugs.

He said dozens of Islamist militants were killed and that five jihadist bases had been destroyed in his country.

The details can't be independently verified, but this week-long operation arose from a security deal the countries signed in 2017.

More than 70 people have been killed in militant attacks in Burkina Faso in November, prompting a public outcry.

Most other countries in the Sahel region have also suffered losses.

Source: BBC

Retirees from the Local Authority Superannuation Fund -LASF- have petitioned Secretary to Cabinet to expedite the payment of the remaining 150 Million owed to them.

Committee Member GIBSON NKOMA says the retirees were only paid a sum of 150 million out of the 300 million Kwacha which was requested last year 2020.

Mr. NKOMA says the retirees are struggling to meet their daily needs due to the hash economy hence the need for Government to look plight.

He explaines that some retirees have died without benefiting from their hard earned money.

Speaking shortly after presenting the Petition to Cabinet Office, Mr. NKOMA said retirees wondered why they have been told that they will be paid after approval of the supplementary budget when they worked for the money.

Mr.NKOMA also thanked President HAKAINDE HICHILEMA for pushing the agenda to their money.

He further appealed to the Head of state to look into the matter and ensure that the retirees are of their money.

 

Source: ZNBC

The Road Development Agency (RDA) has lamented the overloading of motor vehicles on the Zambian roads.

RDA Acting Director Communications and Corporate Affairs Anthony Mulowa said vehicle overloading has become rampant and a major contributor to road damage as well as maintenance costs.

During a stakeholder meeting for Axle Load Control in Ndola on Tuesday, Mr. Mulowa said the objective of Axle Load Control is to preserve the design life span of public roads by regulating the maximum weight of vehicles above 6.5 tons.

He said road infrastructure represents huge investments in Zambia hence the need to protect the road network against misuse and accelerated damage.

“Overloading of motor vehicles is rampant and a major contributory factor to road damage and increased maintenance costs. The Axle Load Management Regime preserves the asset, increases design life of roads, reduces maintenance cost, and enhances safety by restricting overloaded vehicles,” Mr. Mulowa said.

RDA is responsible for the care and maintenance of the entire classified road network of 67,671 kilometers of roads although the agency has concentrated its efforts on a rationalized network of 40,454 kilometers deemed as the core road network.

And Copperbelt Province Permanent secretary Augustine Kasongo who was represented by his deputy Daniel Kamenga observed that overload of trucks causes premature deterioration of the road network as well as road safety deathtraps.

Mr. Kasongo said with overloading there are no equal market opportunities as those that do not overload are disadvantaged as they do not compete fairly with those that thrive on overloading.

Source: Lusaka Times

Former US Vice-President Mike Pence has called on the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade case that legalised abortion in the US.

Mr Pence said the ruling was "a misguided decision" that harmed millions of unborn babies.

If Roe v Wade is quashed, millions of women would lose access to abortions.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. A ruling is expected by next summer.

The ban includes abortions on pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

The law, however, has not been enforced because of a legal challenge from the state's only abortion provider.

 

At a news conference in Washington DC on Tuesday, Mr Pence said he hoped the Supreme Court will "make history" with a full reversal of Roe v Wade.

"We are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v Wade and restore the sanctity of human life to the centre of American law," the former vice-president said.

Additionally, Mr Pence argued that the "fiat of unelected judges" is not reflective of popular opinion in the US.

He believes elected, state-level officials are better placed to write abortion laws for their own jurisdictions.

Media caption,

 

A nationwide ban on abortions is not on the horizon, but states might be given control over their own abortion laws.

Such a move would be "devastating" for low-income women, Katherine Franke, director of the center for gender and sexuality law at Columbia University, tells the BBC.

 

Source: BBC

The EU is to reveal details of a global investment plan that's widely seen as a rival to China's Belt and Road initiative.

 

Insiders say it'll set out "concrete" ideas on digital, transport, climate and energy schemes. It's regarded as part of the West's efforts to counter Chinese influence in Africa and elsewhere.

 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will present the "Global Gateway" initiative on Wednesday. The EU is looking at how it can leverage billions of euros, drawn from member states, financial institutions and the private sector.

Mrs von der Leyen said in her State of the Union speech in September: "We want investments in quality infrastructure, connecting goods, people and services around the world."

 

Wednesday's 14-page document isn't likely to explicitly pitch itself as a rival to China's strategy. The Commission also studiously avoided mentioning China when pressed about the plans on Tuesday. But Andrew Small, a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, says the backdrop is inescapable: "Global Gateway wouldn't exist if you didn't have Belt and Road."

 

For him it marks "the first serious effort from the European side to put packages together and figure out financing mechanisms, so countries considering taking loans from China have an alternative option".

 

Source: BBC

Graduating soldiers will carry sticks at their passing out parades because of a dearth of weapons in South Sudan since a UN embargo three years ago, the president has said.

Yet in recent months the US' acting ambassador to South Sudan has said there's no lack of weapons in the conflict-stricken country - but there is a lack of food.

"We have repeatedly informed the UN system about the negative impact of the arms embargo... all we have received in return are conditions that do not recognise progress achieved so far. We have no option other than to graduate these forces with sticks," said President Salva Kiir at a governors’ forum in Juba on Tuesday.

President Kiir and his former arch-rival, Riek Machar, now First Vice-President, formed a unity government in February last year and agreed, as part of a revitalised peace deal, to form a unified national army of 83,000 forces, a key part of the 2018 peace agreement they are yet to fulfill.

The embargo was due to expire in May this year, but it was renewed for another year.

Source: BBC

Zimbabwe has reimposed a lockdown and mandatory quarantines for all travellers amidst rising Covid cases and to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

The country has recorded over 130,000 Covid cases and about 4,700 deaths since the pandemic began early last year.

Zimbabwe authorities tightened Covid restrictions citing growing public complacency that they believe will only worsen as the festive season approaches.

There is also the fear of a fourth wave.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa reimposed a curfew from 21:00 to 06:00 local time.

All international travellers will be required to be tested on arrival and to quarantine at a state-designated facility all at their own cost.

All businesses will be required to close at 19:00.

The restrictions are a blow to the tourism industry, which had anticipated a normal festive season.

The measures will be reviewed in a fortnight.

Source: BBC

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