Zimbabwe HIV/AIDS Rate Drops

December 12, 2009

Zimbabwe’s HIV/AIDS infection rate has dropped to below 14 percent.

According to Voice of American, Zimbabwe’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, which started at least 23 years ago, used to record infection rates of more than 25 percent of the population,but  a demographic survey conducted in 2006 found the infection rate had dropped to 18 percent.

Now, health care authorities, say it is at 13.75 percent.


Mobile phone operator Econet launched a new phone this week in Burundi with aims of reaching more subscribers in the small country of 8 million.   The new phone, a rechargeable solar handset, could prove beneficial to an area prone to frequent power outages.

Business Day reported that Econet’s general manager, Darlington Mandivenga said, “If you look at the target market or the level of demand that is there, without doing any further marketing it is about 800,000 people who will benefit from this innovation.”

It is marked to sell at $39.

Rwanda has declared a war on government corruption and has fined and jailed more than four of the country’s top leaders to prove they mean business.

The UK’s Telegraph writes, “Most African governments like talking about their fight against corruption, seen as one of the biggest barriers to development on the continent, but Rwanda, most notably for the past two years, has been putting its money where its mouth is.”

According to AFP, close to 1,000 people have been investigated for corruption in this small central African nation.

Rwanda ranked top amongst central and eastern African countries and 89th worldwide in the 2009 report of Transparency International, which compares the anti-corruption efforts of 180 countries.

The chief prosecutor for Rwanda, Martin Ngoga, is leading the crusade against economic and financial crimes in politics.

Ngoga, despite the high praise from world organizations, states,  “I am keen not to be complacent about our very modest achievements. Even if Transparency International says that Rwanda is less corrupt, it is not a very good position. It is still a comparison among the corrupt.”

Rwanda has earned the unique distinction of being the first country in the world to be declared free of landmines through the Ottawa Treaty recognition process.

Ben Remfrey of the Mines Awareness Trust, which supervised the clearance, told the BBC World Service, “Rwanda has made history by becoming the first country in the world to be officially declared free from landmines.  Rwanda had a problem, it wasn’t huge but it was still significant… and had a big social and economic impact.”

Landmines were laid in the years leading up to the 1994 Rwanda genocide, killing or severely injuring hundreds of people. But, over the past three years more than over 9,000 have been destroyed by Rwandan soldiers.

In a UNICEF press release, representative, Joseph Foumbi congratulated Rwanda, stating, “This declaration is extremely significant as it shows to the world that a poor country, which has been devastated by war, can still take strong action to ensure the rights, lives and well-being of its children.”

The Mirror focused on another benefit of being declared ‘landmine free’.  Gareth Thomas, Africa Minister at the Department for International Development, wrote the newspaper, said, ” Removing landmines means will a massive boost to the farming industry, and this will mean a brighter future for people of Rwanda.”

About 70 countries remain affected by landmines, which claimed nearly 5,200 casualties around the world last year, according to Relief Web.

Posted in The Huffington Post, this video taken from CCTV footage, shows a meteor lighting up the sky over South Africa almost two weeks ago .

“There was sudden flash. Like an orange stripe in the sky, followed by a very bright explosion where the sky lit up as if it was daytime,” one resident described to Eyewitness News.

Zulu Ritual Remains Intact

December 4, 2009

Every year during a thanksgiving ritual known as Ukushwama, young members of the Zulu tribe kill a bull using their hands.  Animal Rights Africa, however, has been trying to ban the bull-killing ritual in South Africa. But Judge Nic van der Reyden of the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) province disagrees and ruled this week against the animal rights group.

Digital Journal reported  van der Reyden stating, “the bull was killed to transfer powers to the king, if this is stopped, the symbolic powers would be stopped. In effect, you are killing the king.” Also likening the prevention of the event as “ tantamount to telling Catholics not to take communion”.

ARA claims the ritual takes upwards of 40 minutes and involves dozens of men forcefully trying to break the bull’s neck with their hands and feet.

Meanwhile, Inkatha Freedom Party Member of Parliament, Albert Mncwango told the BBC that the killing “doesn’t even take a minute”.

New sagency Xinhua reported Zwelithini’s spokesman, Nhlanhla Mtaka, comments on the court proceedings, in which he stated, “We view this as nothing but a publicity stunt aimed at seeking donations.  It will be interesting to see how many donations they (ARA) have received after taking this matter to the media.”

R. Kelly to Perform

December 4, 2009

American R&B singer R. Kelly will be performing in Kampala, Uganda next month.

East African Business Week reported that Zain, the concert promoter,  has invested almost $2.5m in the R. Kelly “I believe” concert at Kampala’s Lugogo indoor stadium.  Fred Masadde, the External Relations Manager at Zain, said, “How much we have put into the concert is not the issue. What is important is, this “I believe concert” will rock the whole of East Africa and it will be a concert that will be legendary.”

40,000 people are expected to be in attendance.

The company has previously contracted Akon and Wyclef Jean to perform.