Four members from the ruling Swapo Party were yesterday sworn in as members of the National Assembly (NA) following the resignation of its members. The newly sworn-in members are Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun; Joel Kaapanda; Festus Marenga and Ephraim Nekongo. They replace former Ministers of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau, Justice, Sacky Shanghala, Sports, Youth and National Service, Jerry Ekandjo as well as former Kavango Governor Sebastiaan Karupu. During the swearing-in ceremony, Speaker of the NA Peter Katjavivi said in terms of Article 48 (2) the Swapo party has nominated prominent businesswoman Namundjebo-Tilahun, retired politician Kaapanda and Marenga to fill the vacancies in the NA. He noted the Swapo Youth League Secretary Ephraim Nekongo was appointed by President Hage Geingob as a non-voting member as per article 32, replacing former Minister of Home Affairs Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana who has become a voting member now. NAMPA 2 (JOHANNESBURG, 07 JAN, XINHUA) – With the newly appointed power utility Eskom’s CEO Andre de Ruyter starting his tenure yesterday, he is urged to urgently resolve rolling blackouts problems because of the disastrous effects they have on the economy, said a South African expert. Jannie Rossouw, Head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, said Eskom’s power shut-offs were costing South Africa’s businesses millions daily. The first issue is to figure out why South Africa is load shedding again and what must be done to prevent power cuts. The economy will really suffer severely if load shedding continues, resolving load shedding must be the one priority, he said. When South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 3.2 per cent in the first quarter of last year, economists blamed Eskom’s power cuts for the decline. XINHUA 3 (ALGIERS, 07 JAN, XINHUA) – Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune yesterday received an invitation from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to attend an international conference on Libya due to be held in Berlin. Tebboune received a phone call from Merkel during which the two officials exchanged views on developments in Libya and prospects for restoring peace in the North African country, local media quoted a presidency statement. Algeria and Germany share identical views on the Libyan crisis as they both favour political solutions and urge an immediate cessation of armed clashes and put an end to foreign military interventions, the statement added. Merkel’s phone call coincides with a visit to Algiers by Head of the Libyan Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj, who is due to meet with President Tebboune to discuss developments in Libya and ways to overcome the current crisis. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is also due to pay a two-day visit to Algiers later yesterday with the Libyan issue figuring top on the agenda of talks. XINHUA 4 (DUBAI, 07 JAN, AP) – In a rare display of emotion from the typically reserved and measured supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cried openly yesterday at the funeral of slain Gen. Qassem Soleimani, his most important military commander with whom he shared a deep bond. Khamenei’s voice cracked under the weight of the moment during a funeral procession unlike any in Iran’s recent history. Police said attendees numbered into the millions. The funeral showcased the depth of the bond Khamenei had with the slain general and gave insight into how Soleimani’s death is being felt personally by the supreme leader. It could also impact how Khamenei responds to the United States. The U.S. killed Soleimani, other Revolutionary Guard members and a senior Iraqi militia leader in a stunning attack on their convoy, shortly after Soleimani had arrived at Baghdad’s international airport. The killing, ordered by President Donald Trump, has dramatically heightened the risk of war as senior Iranian figures vow to strike U.S. military targets in response. AP 5 (UNITED NATIONS, 07 JAN, AFP) – The United States yesterday slammed Russia and China for their failure to condemn an attack last week on its Baghdad embassy by pro-Iranian demonstrators. While congratulating the 27 of the 193 member nations that did issue statements condemning the December 31 attempt to storm the compound, the US mission to the UN said that Russian and Chinese silence undermined the Security Council. Not allowing the United Nations Security Council to issue the most basic of statements underscoring the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises once again calls the council’s credibility into question, the US statement said. Washington said that voicing support for the 1961 Vienna convention that protects diplomatic missions should not be controversial or warrant courage. The attack on the Baghdad embassy, which did not result in any injuries, was meant to protest against a US airstrike against Ketaeb Hezbollah (KH), an Iranian-backed militia which the US had blamed for rocket attacks on its facilities in northern Iraq that resulted in the death of a US contractor.

Source: African News Agency