LIBYA: Africa frozen out of peace efforts?

With the world’s major powers increasingly meddling in Libya, the African Union (AU) has found itself sidelined from initiatives aimed at ending the almost decade-long conflict in the oil-rich state.

The latest sign of Africa’s loss of influence came as a flurry of high-level diplomatic activity took place in Istanbul, Moscow and Berlin to end a conflict that has raged since a popular uprising, backed by a Nato bombing campaign, led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.

“African capitals complain, with good reason, that Libya has become a toy of various powers,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a Libya analyst at the Netherland-based Institute for International Relations think-tank.

“The conflict is seen from a European, Persian Gulf and increasingly a Russian and Turkish vantage-point, ignoring the basic fact that Libya is an African country,” he added.

“We should not have allowed Western countries to attack Libya [in 2011]. We could have intervened, even militarily. Africa could have intervened and taught those people a lesson,” Mr Museveni said.

“If Africa wants to chase the invaders, we can chase them. We defeated the Portuguese, the Boers,” Mr Museveni said, referring to the Afrikaners who were in power in South Africa until 1994.

But analysts say that while Africa has been sidelined by Western powers, it also has itself to blame.

Mr Nguessa chairs an AU committee on Libya, which has held a series of meetings to resolve the crisis – the most recent of which was after the Berlin summit – but it has so far failed to achieve much.

Gaddafi was well respected in the AU, which he financed heavily. He campaigned for pan-African unity, and gained popular appeal by attacking “imperialists”.

The popular uprising against him sent shockwaves across Africa, and there was a strong racially-tinged backlash against black Africans in Libya who were accused of being “mercenaries” trying to prop up Gaddafi.

Tarek Megersi, a Libyan analyst with the UK-based European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, said Mr Museveni’s comments reflect that that some African leaders have not yet come to terms with Gaddafi’s fall.

“During the 2011 revolution, the AU was seen as a Gaddafi supporter and there was a negative view of it among Libyans. People felt it was bought off by Gaddafi. So, comments like Mr Museveni’s cheapen Africa’s potential role as a neutral mediator,” he said.

Yet there was a need for greater African involvement to end the conflict because the continent has suffered economically since the fall of Gaddafi, and the unrest in Libya has had serious knock-on effects further south.

“One day, you had hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Africa as investments by the Gaddafi regime. Then it dried up,” Mr Megersi pointed out.

“You also had remittances from migrants who came to work in Libya from countries such as Nigeria because salaries and the exchange rate were good. That also stopped.”

Mr Megersi said that worryingly, some African states had now become a recruiting ground for the belligerents in Libya.

Unrest in Libya spreads south

The unrest in Libya has been widely blamed for leading to a flow of both weapons and Islamist fighters across the Sahara desert to countries such as Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Mr Harchaou added that France had tried to get its former African colonies to endorse Gen Haftar, but has faced resistance from Chad’s President Idriss Déby, who commands a strong army and is a lynchpin in efforts to tackle militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaeda in West Africa and the Sahel, a semi-arid region on the fringes of the Sahara desert.

African lessons for Libya

Mr Mergesi said Africa’s influence within Libya was weakened by the fact that some of its leading powers – including South Africa – were seen to be allied with the remnants of the Gaddafi regime.

“There has always been a strong suspicion among Libyans that the man known as Gaddafi’s accountant knew where Libya’s assets and gold reserves were. He fled to South Africa, and liquidated the gold assets and funnelled the money to build a military force to come back to power in Libya,” Mr Mergesi said.

“African states also nationalised Libyan assets, like hotels, rather than handing them back to the Libyan Investment Authority,” he added.

This has tarnished the reputation of many African states in Libya, even though they could help play a vital role in ending the protracted conflict.

“Africa is not playing to its strengths in Libya. Countries like South Africa and Sierra Leone came out of conflict, and achieved reconciliation. They can offer valuable lessons to Libyans who have more in common with Africa than Europe,” Mr Mergesi said.

Mozambique elections key to country’s peace and stability

MAPUTO, Mozambique
Mozambique’s elections on Tuesday are almost certain to be won by the ruling party, Frelimo, and President Filipe Nyusi — but it is unclear if the results will establish badly-needed stability and economic growth.
Mozambique, with a population of nearly 30 million people, has a strategic place in southern Africa with a 2,470 kilometer (1,500 mile) Indian Ocean coastline and substantial deposits of natural gas. Pummeled by twin hurricanes earlier this year, it has also been troubled by sporadic violence from opposition rebels and a new spate of attacks by suspected Islamic extremists.
Frelimo has never lost a national election since 1975 when it overthrew Portuguese colonial rule, though its leaders have never clung to power beyond the maximum two terms.
Although the main opposition party, Renamo, is unlikely to win the national elections, the party’s new leader, Ossufo Momade, has been unexpectedly effective.
Momade “has been a big, big surprise on the campaign,” said Fernando Lima, veteran journalist and head of independent media house Mediacoop. “He speaks in very straightforward language — very populistic — and he benefits from Renamo’s popularity, particularly in the countryside.”
This is also the view of Alex Vines, head of the Africa Program at British think tank Chatham House and a veteran Mozambique-watcher.
“Momade’s magic is that he is drawing a large following in Nampula and Zambezia provinces,” said Vines, who is in Mozambique as part of the Commonwealth election observation mission.
Renamo is doing well enough to worry Frelimo, said Vines — particularly after last year’s municipal elections saw an increase in turnout but a decline in the Frelimo vote.
“That is an indicator for a worse performance in the national elections,” Vines said. “Frelimo knows this and has less resources to splash this time — and this is why this looks to be an ill-tempered and nasty election.”
There have been killings — most notably of Anastacio Matavel, who headed a consortium of local election observers in Gaza province, a Frelimo stronghold where a suspiciously high number of voters were registered. Matavel was gunned down by a gang of five assassins, police said, admitting that four were members of the police’s own elite rapid reaction force.
There have also been confrontations between the main parties up and down the country, with the opposition frequently complaining of being prevented from campaigning by Frelimo dirty tricks — ranging from physically blocking roads in the country’s largest city, Matola, to booking out the municipal square for the whole campaign period, in the ruby mining town of Montepuez, in northern Cabo Delgado province.
Nyusi’s first term in office has been dominated by an economic crisis caused by a $2 billion corruption scandal known as the hidden debts.
Companies set up by the country’s secret services and the Ministry of Defense borrowed $2 billion in secret, with the help of then finance minister Manuel Chang, to set up maritime projects that never materialized, but which allegedly enriched a range of local and foreign players. Chang is currently jailed in South Africa resisting extradition to face trial in New York in connection with the scandal.
Mozambique is now trying to legally disavow part of the debt and restructure another part which the country will be repaying for years to come. The debts have triggered economic problems felt by ordinary voters.
The deals were cooked up before Nyusi became president — but while he was defense minister, meaning questions of his involvement have never gone away and remain an electoral liability.
“Frelimo will be tested electorally as never before,” says Vines. “An angry electorate frustrated at widespread delivery failings and the undisclosed loans scandal have resulted in significant numbers of voters wanting change.”
Nyusi’s supporters point to his success in signing a peace deal with Renamo, but the longed-for “definitive peace” still seems elusive. A group of Renamo rebels who reject Momade’s leadership threaten violence in Mozambique’s center. Since the peace deal was signed in August, there have been a number of attacks believed to be by the self-styled Renamo Military Junta, although it has not claimed responsibility.
Nyusi can also claim credit for the $25 billion Mozambique Liquid Natural Gas project controlled by France’s Total. But a bloody insurgency in Cabo Delgado, the northern province where the gas is located, overshadows any optimism there and has contributed to a delay in a final decision on a nearby larger gas project by ExxonMobil.
In recent days, the government has stepped up its offensive against the insurgents, who began attacking Cabo Delgado coastal communities in October 2017. Little is known about the rebels, who are blamed for killing more than 400 civilians and military, including many beheadings. Recently the Daesh group has claimed alignment with the rebels.
This elections will also see provincial governors elected for the first time — a key Renamo demand which will allow the opposition to administer provinces where it wins a majority. Previously all governors were appointed by the ruling party.
However, Frelimo has established a new management layer, a provincial Secretary of State, which will be appointed by the president and will take on many of the powers that governors have had up to now.
The provincial elections will be hard-fought. Renamo’s Momade is expected to become governor of Nampula province — his home province and the country’s most populous — but it is harder to predict the outcome in neighboring Zambezia province, the second-most populous and another opposition stronghold.
“Frelimo seem to be working hard in Zambezia — but in private their strategists are pessimistic about Nampula and Zambezia,” Lima says. “Clearly the Renamo campaign is much more vibrant in Zambezia than Frelimo.”
In its traditional heartlands in Mozambique’s center, however, Renamo could find the going tougher. “Splits in Renamo may punish the party in Manica and Sofala provinces — and I worry that Renamo is saying that it will win impressively across the country, and that’s unlikely,” Vines says.
Electoral results far below the expectations of opposition supporters could create a volatile post-election atmosphere — but Lima says the solution is largely in the hands of the ruling party.
“In the environment that we have, with the problems in Cabo Delgado, and in central Mozambique, and the strong sense of suspicion within Renamo, if Frelimo plays all the fraud tricks it has done in the past this will be a very poisonous recipe for trouble,” concluded Lima. “So, Frelimo should try to play clean, by the book.”

Why i study the most dangerous animal on earth!

Find out why Fredros Okumu catches and studies these disease-carrying insects for a living

https://www.ted.com/talks/fredros_okumu_how_i_study_the_most_dangerous_animal_on_earth_the_mosquito?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread&fbclid=IwAR2IvRK9B2XeIZQ7tanqwXjuZF2GXr2iXph2Biw5fLk4fay_KaLzRDeUAtI

Is Ethiopia taking control of the River Nile?

Look at Egypt on Google Earth and you will see a green line snaking through a sand-colored landscape, fanning out into a triangle in the north.

This emerald ribbon is the vegetation that grows on either side of the Nile River and around its delta. It is Egypt’s only fertile land — and testament to the country’s reliance on this fabled waterway.

Peace and Security in the Postwar South Sudan

By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey

The Kenyan protest on 12 October 2018, commits the Republic of Kenya to the peace deal, Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), of 12 September 2018. Behind the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Sudan. There is, therefore, no surprise to see Kenyan asking, in a peaceful demonstration, their government to take appropriate measures against anti-peace politicians living in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Central Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo to go home and rebuild from the wreckage left of their country.

Three issues came up in the demonstration, (a) R-ARCSS must be supported and fully implemented (b) Accountability of those accused to have committed crimes of murder and against humanity and (c) Politicians, Military Generals and citizens accused of money laundering and corruption. These issues, if implemented in isolation from the spirit of peace-security, reconciliation, and healing, peace will not be successfully restored as people want.

In my opinion, steps taken by President Salva Kiir Mayardit in issuing general amnesty to those who rebelled against the state from 2013 to 2018, is the correct approach to permanent peace and security. This precedence is becoming an African customary approach to a successful settlement of political conflicts. It was the peace approach in South Africa in dismantling the apartheid, in Sudan and South Sudan to secede, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Zimbabwe and the racist Ian Smith, and all throughout Africa. Meaning that reconciliation and forgiveness are the only blues for ending wars.

It is time to turn to the national dialogue, reconciliation, healing, apologies and confession, and national forgiveness. The proposal by protesters to bring politicians who have signed the R-ARCSS accountable and face justice shall be negative and could jeopardize peace and security. Let’s forgive and not forget in the benefit of peace and security in our country.

This should be pushed to the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee and the Church leaders in all the Denominations.

Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey is a Former Government Minister at Sudan and South Sudan and works for Member of Parliament (1967-2018,Ex-Government Minister and several ministerial position at Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya currentl and Chief Administrative Officer at The Nile Explorer – The Mirror of Africa

RELATIONSHIPS & ABUSE

In recent news, we have been hearing more and more cases of love gone bad with brutal endings, some leading to physical abuse, or even loss of lives. Stress levels have escalated to couples taking their issues out on each other. It’s become a more and more disturbing issue that i felt it would be important to know  if your in an abusive relationship. Speaking to someone in a professional counseling position will guide in making better decisions and perhaps even secure your life and even those of your dependents. What people don’t know is before physical abuse ever shows its face, there was some form of emotional abuse. From there, one can pick up a trait.

Abuse is genderless

One survey revealed that the majority of people view abuse committed by women as less serious than if a male were the emotional or physical abuser in a relationship. Basically, cultural norms tell us men are always the aggressors – not females – but the reality isn’t always so. Abuse comes in all different forms and can happen to anyone.

Signs of emotional abuse

If you feel there’s something not right about your relationship but aren’t sure what, here are telltale signs of emotional abuse that may be at the root of your romantic struggles.

#1 Hypercriticism. Who doesn’t love a little sarcasm in a relationship? This wry humor can add fire and spunk to any relationship, but be wary when innocent ball-busting turns into humiliation. If your partner is hypercritical about everything you do and makes a habit out of putting you down, it’s time for a change.

#2 Disregarding your opinions. Do you feel like your partner is constantly disregarding your opinions? A relationship consists of two people with differing thoughts and opinions. That’s what makes them interesting!

You don’t want to date a clone of yourself, do you? If your mate does not consider your thoughts and feelings about something, and downright disregards your beliefs, kick them to the curb.

#3 Lack of empathy or compassion. A lack of compassion for you, your friends and family, and your problems is a definite sign that your mate is a total a**hole who needs some therapy. This lack of empathy shows that they do not respect your life and the things going on within it. This is a form of emotional abuse. [Read: Reasons empathy is important in relationships]

#4 Constant affairs. Abusers are selfish in nature, and what is more selfish than infidelity? Affairs or threats of affairs are done with a disregard for your feelings and desires.

Affairs also show a level of power from your abuser and may even be done specifically to hurt you. While not all cheaters are abusers, cheating is by definition a form of emotional abuse to a faithful partner. In case no one has said this to you recently, you deserve way more than a two-timer.

#5 They control finances. Control is a large part of psychological abuse, and one way they can physically control you is by being the only one with access to your finances. This ensures you literally can’t survive without them.

Bills, groceries, car payments – all of them are done by your abuser. This is one way in which you will be treated like a child who they feel like they can control.

#6 Family and friends alienation. One of the major emotional abuse signs is isolating their victims. An abuser wants their victim to feel alienated from friends and family so that all they have to rely on is their partner.

Take note: there’s a huge difference between your boyfriend being bored at your grandma’s annual turkey dinner and him telling you, in no uncertain terms, that you will not be hanging out with your mom tonight. If he doesn’t have a good reason for you not to see your friends or family, it may be a sign of emotional abuse.

This is where subtlety can come in. Phrases like, “Why don’t you stay here and hang out with me, instead? I miss you when you’re gone,” seem sweet at first, but this may be a subtle tactic to draw you away from your loved ones.

#7 Threats of suicide. One tactic of emotional abusers is to threaten suicide if you leave. This is a major scare tactic and an outright form of manipulation. If you feel like their threats have merit behind them, then inform their close family or friends, but don’t stay in this relationship.

#8. Guilt trips. Car won’t start? She’s unhappy with her life? Hasn’t rained in a while? Must be your fault. Emotional abusers are going to blame you for basically everything they can, even when it doesn’t make sense.

What’s more, if you constantly feel guilty when you are around your partner, that’s a sign it’s time to call it quits.

#9 Unrelenting jealousy. A healthy jealousy is normal in most relationships. This is a simple sign that you are attached to your partner and don’t appreciate when the hot waitress hits on your man.

That being said, when jealousy goes from an annoyed eye roll to your partner outright blaming you for the outside attention you receive, emotional abuse is definitely cropping up.

#10 They withhold sex for control. If your mate is looking to hurt you on an emotional and physical level, they may try and use sex as a weapon. Withholding sex is a powerful way to get your partner’s attention. This is also a passive-aggressive way to hurt you or express anger.

Withholding other forms of physical contact and affection is another way abusers try and control you. Their lack of affection can create a spiral of self-doubt in their victim that can degrade their self-worth.

#11 Constant calling and texting. Even though your partner is painting you as worthless, you’d best believe they’ll be blowing up your phone the minute you spend a night away from them. Texting your partner when they’re gone is usually a cute sign that you miss each other.

But emotional abusers are going to take it that extra mile. Either they will force you to be in a constant conversation with them via text, or they will try to pick a fight with you/guilt you, and try to get you to come home.

Raiding Safaricom: Will mobile money interoperability kill M-Pesa?

by Njenga Hakeenah
Mobile money penetration exceeds 70% of the population and the country has emerged as a blueprint for financial inclusion

Effective October 4, 2018, M-Pesa and T-kash customers will seamlessly send and receive money directly to and from their mobile wallets.

This comes almost a year after the first phase of the mobile money interoperability began with Safaricom and Airtel.

Kenya has been hailed as a global giant in the financial inclusion space as a result of its vibrant mobile money scene.

Mobile money penetration in Kenya exceeds 70% of the population and the country has emerged as a blueprint for financial inclusion.

With the country embarking on mobile money interoperability, the second decade of the country’s mobile money scene is expected to change heralding a new era for the sector.

Mobile money interoperability was launched in March 2018 by Kenya’s main mobile service operators, Safaricom, Telkom and Airtel.

The three telcos came together to integrate the mobile money ecosystem through mobile money transfer interoperability.

This initiative greatly enhances the customer experience by bridging the different platforms and presenting a seamless experience for sending and receiving money from other from one server to another.

The convenience of wallet to wallet transfer enables customers to receive money sent from another operator directly into their own.

Previously, customers would receive a voucher indicating that a different number from a different operator had sent them money.

As a result of the interoperability, the customer no longer has to struggle with having to cash the voucher within seven days, or consequently have the funds reversed to the sender.

The three providers have committed to maintain the p2p pricing between on net and off net transactions.

This implies that there will be no difference when sending money to another network.

With the advent of interoperability, customers can send and receive money from customers on a different network. The money received from a different network is directly added to the customer’s account balance the same way it would have been sent from the same network.

The benefits of this that the customer can use the money to pay bills, make purchases or make withdrawals from their own network agent.

To enjoy interoperability, the customer must be registered for my Airtel money or M-Pesa.

Those not registered on any mobile money will continue to receive a voucher code.

The first phase of the interoperability began with Airtel and Safaricom and Telkom becomes the second operator to integrate its mobile money platform T-kash to M-Pesa.

To avail a complete ecosystem, the last leg of the mobile money interoperability between Airtel and Telkom will be launched later.

Source – The Exchange

 

 

6 PICKS; TRAVEL DESTINATIONS THIS SEASON

Malta

How strange it seems now that this former British colony was, until recently, considered most remarkable for expat retirees and red phone boxes. Though its fortified, honey-gold capital, Valletta, is in the spotlight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture, top tastemakers have been quietly rediscovering the history-soaked Mediterranean island of Malta for a while, knocking it to the top of our ‘best-holiday-destinations-2018’ list. Cool kids come for Annie Mac’s Lost & Found festival – pitching up for a third go-round this year, with Diplo and Jamie XX in tow – and stay for a sceney new bundle of forts-turned-clubs and what our writer Juliet Rix calls ‘centuries-old palazzi transformed into high-design hotels‘. The most visionary of these, Iniala Harbour House, opens in January. Millionaire philanthropist Mark Weingard enlisted a trio of designers to reimagine several townhouses, flaunting original features like stone walls, cupola ceilings and basement vaults. For the guest who thinks they’ve seen everything: in-room ‘experience-ometers’ can be set to desired activity levels; the hotel plans an itinerary to suit.

 

 

The Seychelles

The Seychelles’ brand of barefoot luxury is that bit wilder, more elemental, than its similarly Eden-esque neighbours, the Maldives and Mauritius. Primeval jungle fringes white-coral sand; postcard-blue surf pounds dramatic black rocks. The Indian Ocean archipelago zealously lends itself to castaway fantasies: local lore about buried treasure and haunted sea caves abound. But paradise comes at a price: marooned 1,600km off Africa’s east coast, reaching this remote refuge can be an ordeal. Not so in 2018, when British Airways launches the UK’s first non-stop flights to the Seychelles from March.

There could hardly be a better time to go. As Condé Nast Traveller magazine’s senior editor Peter Browne reported, several islands have smartened up their resort game: self-sustaining Frégate, a conservation success with its own hydroponic farm, recently rebooted its villas; the beach lodge on North Island, where William and Kate honeymooned, has been refurbished with glamorous embellishments (soft silk rugs; hand-beaten brass headboards). Not forgetting the splashy new Six Senses Zi Pasyon, scattering vast villas across densely forested Félicité. Go get lost.

 

Japan

It’s an interesting time for this fiercely insular island nation. Long-entrenched traditions are suddenly hot in the West: reverence for nature (in Japan,’shintoism’); a meticulous eye for design; precisely crafted food; fearless fashion. Call it a millennial’s Pinterest board made flesh. And boy, has Gen Y figured that out: tourism to Japan doubled in the past three years alone. The challenge, then, is to discover the country’s dual draws of quiet spiritualism and frenzied urbanisation a touch further from the well-worn trail. Sapporo, capital of northern Hokkaido, teems with trends: brewpubs pairing beers and gyoza; repurposed subway passageways and abandoned basements turned galleries; a new outdoor Art Park. The parallels with sister city, Portland, Oregon, are plain. And as Charles Spreckley wrote for us, undervisited Kii Peninsula is ripe for a pilgrimage to shrines on misty mountains and hilltop farmstays – not to mention the Kaatsura fish market, where the tuna is fresher than Tokyo’s.

 

Bologna, Italy

Forgotten for Florence. Rejected for Rome. Passed over for Pisa. Bologna is forever overlooked in favour of flashier Italian brethren. That’s a mistake: this terracotta-hued town doesn’t just have history – medieval towers, porticoed walkways, cobbled piazzas – but a spirited present to boot. Via Pratello’s annual April street party is a motley melee celebrating resistance, communism, and gay pride (though Pratello buzzes year-round with modern osterias serving slow food and organic wine between dives). Progressive and rebellious, Bologna’s nickname, La Rossa, is a play on both the ubiquitous red brick and a penchant for socialism.

Its other claim to fame is food – though they’d prefer you call spaghetti bolognese tagliatelle al ragu. Much-hyped new opening, ‘foodie theme park’ Fico Eataly World, offers a 20-acre complex of gastro workshops, rides and restaurants. Better still, seek out that counterculture: in the hip little art bars of the Jewish Ghetto; at art-squat-turned-warehouse-club Link; or the yearly Robot digital arts and music festival. Co-working collective Kilowatt recently turned the Giardini Margherita park’s derelict greenhouses into fairy-lit spaces for live music, film screenings and cool cocktails; nearby, a converted 14th-century convent makes boutique lodgings

 

Bali

In Canggu, boho Bali is reborn. Or, as Brigid Delaney quipped in our recent feature on the Indonesian island’s hottest new hangout, Canggu, you might call it ‘Brooklyn-On-Sea’. Tanned hotdeskers tap at MacBooks in airy cafes serving vegan breakfast bowls and cold-pressed espressos; come sundown, they’re mixing hibiscus martinis with old-school hip-hop at laid-back beach club The Lawn. And where beautiful nomads go, hot hotels follow. The Slow’s retro-modernist suites make a tough booking, but soon face competition from COMO Uma Canggu, where duplex penthouses come with rooftop pools. It’s a new energy, and a new Bali.

Not to be outdone, in 2018 Bali’s other big-ticket haunts step up. Capella Ubud, where luxury tents have accompanying Jacuzzis, is all spiritual-wellness tucked into tangled rainforest; upcoming Six Senses Uluwatu perches Balinese villas atop a spectacular cliff south of Kuta

 

Botswana

Harry’s chosen spot to woo Miss Markle on that all-important third date was a masterstroke: who could fail to fall for a prince in Botswana? The Southern African nation’s vast inland Okavango Delta overflows with wildlife, offering not only one of the continent’s greatest safari destinations, but also a rare chance to track the Big Five by dugout canoe. Having converted 30 percent of its total land to protected park or game reserve, this isn’t a country in which you’ll struggle to see what you came for. But following the royal’s revelation about his whirlwind getaway in an internationally syndicated TV interview, it may yet be a destination you’ll struggle to book.

Wilderness Safaris picked a fine time to open its all-new Qorokwe Camp on the banks of an Okavango lagoon. There are just nine luxury tented suites, all bleached timbers and rust and brass, with private decks; located on the border of Moremi Game Reserve, guests have their pick of walking, boating and 4×4 sojourns. Plus, the whole joint runs on 100 percent solar power. A camp fit for a fifth-in-line-to-be-king.

 

Courtesy Conde Nast Traveler

 

I have ready market for my snails, thanks to foreigners

By ELIZABETH OJINA

Usoma Beach in Kisumu County was once a quiet neighbourhood years ago, but that was then.

Increased activities at the nearby international airport have seen its airspace become busier as planes land and depart from the facility.

And it is all for the good of farmers like Michael Muchilwa, who live near the airport, as he hopes that one day the planes would transport his farm produce to different parts of the world.
Muchilwa, a snail farmer, is dressed in a maroon checked shirt and a pair of khaki trousers when Seeds of Gold visits him.

A 10m by 10m greenhouse – the snail farm – stands conspicuously in his compound. Muchilwa has partitioned the snail house into four rooms and each contains several plastic basins covered with fine wire mesh to keep predators at bay.
Inside the basins are several snails moving about as they feed on sukuma wiki (collard greens).

“This is my second year in farming snails. I developed interest after attending a trade conference in Ghana. While walking on the streets, people were hawking snails as a delicacy,” recalls Muchilwa.
Giant African land

Interested in the business, he ploughed Sh40,000 from his savings to set up his snail farm in September 2017. The money went into the buying of greenhouse polythene, wire mesh and 100 plastic basins at Sh80 each. He then got a permit from the Kenya Wildlife Service at Sh1,500 and ventured into the business.
The father of six keeps 2,000 snails of the Giant African land variety (Achatinide fulica).

“After getting the KWS permit, I hunted for 50 snails locally. They are big snails measuring 20cm in length when they mature,” says Muchilwa, who has relied extensively on the internet for farming information.
The variety has a dark brown shell with vertical stripes of matching colour. It has two short tentacles and another two long ones with eyes.

Lifespan of a snail
The snails have an average lifespan of 5-7 years, but with good management, they can live up to 10 years.

Giant African snails thrive in hot and humid environment like that in Kisumu. The plastic container has sterilised soil, a bowl of clean water and feeds.

“The soil is sterilised to avoid contamination or bacterial infections. One has the option of burning the soil or solarising it in the sun to kill pathogens,” says the 48-year-old, noting the variety is a nocturnal animal as during the day it remains dormant, buried beneath the moist soil to stay safe from predators.

Muchilwa feeds the slimy creatures on vegetable leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and tree barks once in a day. Their slippery nature calls for constant supply of water.
“We also feed them egg shells for calcium to strengthen their shell. We boil the egg shells to kill any pathogen, crush into fine powder and sprinkle on the soil.”

Productivity of a snail

Giant African land snail are hermaphrodite, which means that they have the reproductive organs for both male and female. A snail produces 300 to 500 eggs in three months, which hatch after 11 to 15 days, enabling one to increase their population faster.

According to him, snails mature after six months. They grow big, but after another six months, their growth stagnates again.
“I sell a kilo of snail from Sh2,000 to Sh2,500. The demand is high among foreigners,” says the farmers, who sells at least 5kg of snails weekly.

The snails are a common delicacy among communities in West Africa and the farmer has found a niche market among Nigerians, Ghanaians and Asians in the country.
“They love them for their white meat which is rich in proteins and tastes like gizzards. It is easy to prepare. One needs to boil it for five minutes to get rid of the mucus. Once boiled, you can fry it with tomatoes and onions,” says Muchilwa, who has employed two workers to help him run the venture he has christened Agribiz Connections.

Challenge of rearing snails

The challenge with snails he says is their susceptibility to predators.

“Enemies of snails include rats, caterpillars, ground beetles, termites, lizards, spiders and flies. Some like flies lay eggs and the maggots end up eating the snails. One should be keen on pest control to avoid losing the whole stock,” says Muchilwa, who is the Kenya Association of Fundraising Professional chairman.
Christine Boit, a senior KWS official, says the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 allows communities to farm animals such as snails, ostriches, snakes and crocodiles.

“Before venturing into these kind of farming, you need to get a permit from us. We normally send a research team to access facility one had before a permit is given.”
She says part of the task of KWS involves periodical monitoring of the management of the snail farms.

“Before selling snails for consumption in hotels or for the export market, one has to be certified. In addition, farmers have to make quarterly reports to KWS.”

First Published by NMG

The Dialogue and Reconciliation

These days, there are Regional and international moves to bring positive and lasting peace to the Republic of South Sudan. To achieve just, inclusive and permanent peace, the mediators: Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Troika (the US, UK, and Norway), with the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and South Sudan’s National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee, complimentary support, should exert collective efforts to reconcile the parties’ leaders now in war among themselves

The SPLM, SPLM IO, and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) leaders need to come together on serious national issues, such as security arrangements and the power-sharing mechanism, in relation to the executive’s harmony, cooperation and “collective responsibility.” Collective government’s responsibility glues the members of different parties to commit and respect the constitution, the anticipated agreement and the law.

Once the ongoing High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), under IGAD, succeeds and secures the ARCSS revitalization agreement, the eruption of violence of 8 July 2016 in the cabinet’s meetings, involving the President (head of government) and Vice President must be save-guided and avoided.

The divisions among the warring parties are far from being ethnic, social, economic or modern ideological values to the left (socialism) or right (capitalism), a political philosophy responsible of the dichotomy between Western Europe and Eastern Europe. What divides the warring politicians in South Sudan, for now, could be identified as (a) political individualism, ignorance and greed, (b) favoritism, (c) naivete, (d) dictatorship, (e) political anarchy (f) exploitation and extraction of resources, and (g) corruption.

The above principles could be traced back to medieval, communism and military dictatorships, before and during the cold war from 1945-1991. That system of government had ended. It had ended because it was/ is incompatible with the liberties, freedoms, human rights, democracy, the rule of law, inclusive political and economic institutions and good governance.

Adopting these modern principles can mean reconciliation, normality, peace and security in South Sudan. Let’s go for peace and security. Peace and security are good for us all and the country. Our eyes and hopes are focused on Addis Ababa’s ongoing peace process