Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 13 April

Report
from IRIN
Published on 13 Apr 2000
ZAMBIA: WFP to provide emergency aid to refugees
The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said this week that it would provide US $2.6 million in food aid to an estimated 30,000 Angolan refugees in Zambia.

"The food will feed 30,000 new arrivals in the Western and Northwestern Provinces of Zambia as well as 1,000 malnourished under-five children to improve their health and nutritional status," WFP said in a statement.

WFP said that it would distribute 4,909 mt of maize, vegetable oil, beans, salt and a high-energy protein blend.

NAMIBIA: DTA, UDF named as official opposition

Namibia's national assembly speaker Mosé Tjitendero on Wednesday announced that the parliamentary coalition between the Democratic Turnahlle Alliance (DTA) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) was the official opposition, prompting the Congress of Democrats (CoD) to walk out of the assembly in protest, 'The Namibian' said on Thursday.

Tjitendero's announcement brought to an end months of speculation about which party would become the 'official' opposition after the CoD and the DTA both won seven seats in last year's election. The CoD walked out after Tjitendero said his ruling could not be discussed. The CoD was quoted as saying that it would challenge Tjitendero's decision, using all avenues including the courts.

The Directorate of Elections had declared the CoD as the official opposition when the election results were announced.

Tjitendero said the "pronouncements" of the Directorate of Elections had no "effect upon this House (National Assembly)". The speaker said he was entitled to decide the issue based on the Standing Rules of the National Assembly which defines the "leader of the official opposition" as the "person occupying the position of leader of the largest opposition party in the Assembly".

Tjitendero said: "All things being equal, it remains the discretion of the Speaker to recognise a particular party or coalition of parties as representing the official opposition."

NAMIBIA: NBC 'switched off'

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Gabriel Sgihepo on Wednesday barred a television and radio news crew from covering a press conference called by the Congress of Democrats (CoD).

According to 'The Namibian', Shihepo "hauled" two Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) parliamentary journalists out of a press conference held by the CoD shortly after the party walked out of the National Assembly.

NBC Director-General Ben Mulongeni supported Shihepo and was quoted by 'The Namibian' as saying that the journalists were "wrong to take a camera from the National Assembly to the press conference". He said the NBC staff who went to the CoD press conference would face disciplinary action.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Namibian Chapter said it would investigate the withdrawal of the NBC crew. Bridget Pickering, a Misa Namibia board member, said: "NBC is a public broadcaster and we feel that they should cover news events if they feel it is important. The journalists should decide and I don't think they should be penalised for that."

SOUTH AFRICA: IMF forecasts high growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the South African economy to grow at a rate of between 3.8 percent and 4 percent over 2000 and 2001, news reports said. The projections are higher than the government's own forecasts of growth of between 3.5 percent and 3.1 percent for the next two years.

The IMF said the strong forecast growth, was possible because "the fiscal deficit has declined more rapidly than expected, monetary risks have been reduced, and interest rates have fallen, providing a favourable context for the introduction of the planned inflation targeting framework".

The IMF said it expected growth in Africa to reach 4.4 percent this year, and to remain at that level in 2001. "A rebound of activity in three of the largest economies, Algeria, Nigeria, and South Africa, is expected to lead this recovery, but also significant is the continuing strong performance projected for many of the smaller countries including Ghana, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda."

[ENDS]

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