Archive for July 19th, 2007
source: The Financial Gazette (Harare)
Kumbirai Mafunda Acting Political Editor
Surprise reshuffle signals shift to radical policies
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe might announce a surprise reshuffle of his Cabinet anytime soon, which ZANU PF insiders said would signal a further shift towards even more radical economic and political policy, as his government seeks to retain power in next year’s harmonised elections.
Highly placed sources said the veteran nationalist, who has all but secured a fresh mandate to represent the revolutionary party in the presidential race, signalled the impending reshuffle when he appointed and re-assigned permanent secretaries and heads of department on Monday.
The last Cabinet reshuffle was in February, in which the most notable development was the dropping as Finance Minister of Herbert Murerwa, who had been widely seen as one of the few reformists in government.
Events have however, turned for the worst since the February Cabinet changes, with inflation soaring to a new high of over 4 500 percent, while basic foodstuffs have disappeared from supermarket shelves following a three-week crackdown on business.
This week, President Mugabe appointed two new permanent secretaries to the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, and another for Economic Development, while re-assigning two others and one principal director.
Official sources say the appointments are a precursor of changes to be made in more senior positions. The lower level appointments have caused panic among Cabinet ministers, most of whom had sub-contracted their responsibilities to subordinates so as to direct all their energies to their fight for political survival in their constituencies in next year’s elections, which were brought forward by two years.
President Mugabe usually reshuffles his Cabinet after elections, and a reshuffle just months ahead of next year’s polls will revive old stories about in-fighting, and more recent speculation about divisions within his team over the price blitz, which has dashed any remaining hopes among less radical sections of government that they could still push for some economic reforms.
Sources said the Cabinet tinkering, will also afford the ZANU PF strongman room to rethink government policy on the price war, which has hastened the collapse of the country’s economy.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba said he was not aware of [continue reading]
19 July, 2007
GABORONE – Botswana shares the global concern on the disappearance of animal species, which is a serious threat to food security says SADC Senior Programmes manager (Livestock Development) Mr Beedeeanan Hulman.
Officially opening a one-day consultative stakeholders workshop on Farm Animal genetic Resources at Sebele, Mr Hulman said in order to solve this problem Botswana must take great interest in trying to address and safeguard these resources for future generations.
He said farm animal genetic resource was an answer to future food security particularly in the SADC region, which was hard hit by shortage of food.
Mr Hulman said causes of disappearance of livestock breeds included the wide spread indiscriminate crossbreeding, livestock deaths from disease outbreaks, droughts, wars and neglect.
He said this posed a challenge to all stakeholders to explore how to overcome these threats at national and regional levels. He said there was need to evaluate how indigenous livestock breeds could play a mitigating role particularly in marginal environments where production with high input breeds was not practical.
Mr Hulman said genetic resources were therefore, among the most valuable and strategically important assets that a country possessed, adding that this was particularly true for Botswana where livestock sub-sector contributed about 80 per cent of the agricultural sectors GDP.
He said many countries had indigenous animal species and breeds that could potentially contributed more to food and agriculture production and met much wider human needs than they were currently contributing.
On other issues, Mr Hulman said there was need to [continue reading]
July 19 2007 at 09:10AM
Police have warned the public and businesses to constantly be alert for criminals who devise new methods of committing commercial crimes.
Banking details and personal information such as identity numbers, computer log-on details, credit card or cheque information must be guarded closely.
The warning on Wednesday came as police said arrests for commercial crimes were made daily and the culprits, some working for syndicates, were both career and opportunistic criminals.
While Sea Point, Kloof Nek, Thibault Square, Greenmarket Square, Loop and Long streets and St George’s Mall were identified as hot spots, criminals were also moving their trade to townships, police said.
“People must protect their pin and never accept help from anyone at an ATM. Do not post cheques and refrain from doing online banking at internet cafes,” police commercial branch crime prevention head Jerome Hardenberg said.
He said emails from strangers should not be opened, and account-holders should verify [continue reading]
Business Day (Johannesburg)
19 July 2007
Posted to the web 19 July 2007
EFFORTS made by a small, dedicated and committed group of former world leaders working independently could help resolve the seemingly intractable problems the world faces today, former president Nelson Mandela said yesterday.
Mandela was speaking at the launch of The Elders, a group of former leaders who have undertaken to use their unique skills to achieve peaceful resolutions to long-standing conflicts and articulate new approaches to global problems that may be causing immense suffering.
The think-tank also plans to “share wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world”.
Mandela believes the success of the new initiative will stem from the fact that members of the group will not face the same restrictive pressures as do the world’s current leaders. “Members of this group have no election to win, have no career to build or constituency to please.
“They can, therefore, speak freely and [continue reading]
July 19 2007 at 10:44AM
Taxi violence may soon be snuffed out through technology, if a pilot project in August to monitor vehicles by satellite to eradicate pirate operators, succeeds.
The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) announced the Electronic Fare Collection and Management System (EMS) will be rolled out on a single route between Pretoria and Johannesburg. It will be followed by a mass roll out to all provinces in 2008, with planned completion in late 2009.
“The EMS was developed in South Africa by SurePaw Technologies in close co-operation with Santaco and according to the requirements specified by the national department of transport.
It will revolutionise the operation of the taxi industry and taxi travel, bringing numerous benefits to the commuters as well as to the taxi owners and drivers,” said Santaco.
According to Santaco, the EMS will continuously monitor a vehicle’s position along its licensed route.
“During the fare collection shift [continue reading]
The Voice (Francistown)
17 July 2007
Posted to the web 18 July 2007
Botswana’s best selling and most popular newspaper, The Voice, was last week awarded the highly coveted Professional Management Review (PMR) Diamond Arrow Award.
The award ceremony was held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) to honour companies that were doing their best to stimulate the country’s economic growth and development.
According to the organizers of the leaders’ awards, winners were chosen from an annual survey in Botswana, which looked at the country’s achievers and most admired companies and individuals in the industry and government.
In total 6 526 ratings and nominations were sourced and these were largely based on perceptions of the respondents, according to the PMR.
The respondents were asked to rate or nominate companies in Botswana, which were doing most in their sector over the past 12 months to stimulate economic growth and development in the country.
Among other things the respondents were asked to nominate the company that they felt had done the most overall to stimulate growth and development in the country as well as nominating the best parastatals in Botswana.
Your favourite weekly newspaper, The Voice scooped first prize under the ‘Local weekly newspapers’ business sector, followed by Mmegi.
Other business sectors which were under [continue reading]
19/07/2007 09:54 – (SA)
Cape Town – Despite South Africa’s serious skills shortages and high unemployment, the country is still among the lowest ranks of those training workers to improve performance.
And some of the management decisions taken – like appointing the best engineer to a management post are often poorly thought through and can see a company lose the benefits of a great engineer and create a bad manager.
The challenges are significant; despite a strong economy with rapid growth not enough jobs have been created to serve as a serious dent in 40% unemployment (Iraq at 60% unemployment is one of the few countries with worse statistics).
Recently the Department of Home Affairs announced 34 825 work permits for skilled foreigners in 53 job categories ranging from agricultural economists to civil engineers, bioengineers, mechatronics and autotronics technicians to welders.
With massive infrastructural development ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, economists say more strains will show.
Yet research by the World Bank’s Investment Climate Survey shows that [continue reading]
19 July, 2007
GABORONE – The June national year-on-year inflation stood at 6.4 per cent, the same rate as in May. A report from Central Statistic Office says the town and rural villages inflation rates recorded decreases of 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points respectively.
The town inflation rate according to the report was 5 per cent in June, down from 5.2 per cent in May. The rural villages inflation rate moved from 9.2 to 9.1 per cent between the two months while the urban villages inflation rate was 7.1 per cent up from 6.5 per cent, says the report.
The report says the national Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded an increase of 0.6 per cent between May and June. The June CPI was 104.7, up from 104.0 per cent in May. The urban villages rose by 1.1 per cent from 103.9 in May to 105.1 in June.
Also the report said the rural villages index went up by 0.5 per cent between the two months from 105.7 while the town index moved from 103.2 to 103.6 over the period, an increase of 0.4 per cent.
Group indices showed stable movements between May and June, according to the report. All group indices recorded changes of less than one per cent over the period expect the food and non alcoholic beverages group index.
The report said food and non-alcoholic beverages group index recorded an [continue reading]
19 July, 2007
GABORONE – Abattoir operators and related facilities have been advised to apply for registration and an approval of their premises as required by the new Livestock and Meat Industries Act of 2006.
The Ministry of Agriculture says in a press release that any person who intends to construct, alter or make additions to an abattoir must apply to the Director of Veterinary Services, in writing, for permission to do so.
Members of the public and the operators of abattoirs, cutting premises, cold stores, farmed game handling facilities and farmed game meat plants will be affected. The law comes into effect on August 1, 2007.
To expedite the processing of the applications, the ministry advises [continue reading]
19 July, 2007
JWANENG – Botswanas beef industry is not progressing as the population of cattle is fluctuating between two and two and a half million while demand is increasing.
Central Statistic Office (CSO) figures indicate the cattle population reached its highest number of over three million in 2002, but the number plummeted to just under two million in 2003.
The Acting Director in the Department of Animal Health and Production, Dr Phillemon Motsu, attributed this to challenges such as drought, transboundary diseases and HIV/AIDS.
He said unreliable and erratic rainfall pose a great challenge to the industry, adding that the situation is aggravated by the communal extensive management system that relies on open rangeland grazing.
He said supplementary feeding is limited because of the high cost of imported livestock feeds.
He said due to globalisation there is an increased risk of the regional spread of cattle diseases such as Foot-And-Mouth and Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumania (CBPP).
However, Dr Motsu said the country currently has enough cattle for the domestic and international markets. He added that as more cattle producers adopt commercial farming practices, the number of cattle will increase to meet the domestic and international demand.
The department continues to work with [continue reading]
19 July, 2007
FRANCISTOWN – The president of Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Mr Bernard Balikani, said labour relations in Botswana are at their worst ever, especially that the Employment Act empowers employers against employees.
Officially opening the partys 47th annual conference at Tsamaya in the North East District during the Presidents Day holidays, Mr Balikani said employers fired workers with impunity yet the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government was not doing anything about the issue.
The BDP government is helpless as it is controlled by big businesses which finance their political campaigns, he said. As such employers have no respect for trade unions whose leaders have often been dismissed in order to weaken the voice of the workers, and this has led to exploitation of workers.
However, Mr Balikani urged workers to join trade unions to improve their bargaining power at [continue reading]
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
18 July 2007
Posted to the web 18 July 2007
The prospect of a newspaper polemic about the qualities of the socialist and capitalist models of development is, to put it mildly, quiet uninviting.
Newspapers are for news. Hardly not for classroom discourse on the personal predisposition of a columnist and a sub-editor towards ideological positions about world views that have been discussed since the Industrial Revolution.
My immediate job as a sub-editor is to give a reader-friendly appearance to the comments of the columnists, however ill-informed I should view them to be.
So, I will abstain from inconsequential detail.
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party, by its own definition, is not a socialist party.
In fact, it shares the views of the anti-communist, who apparently craves for personalisation of this exchange so that it reflects his name.
It is therefore silly to suggest that a capitalist Domkrag could have ever wanted to shape Air Botswana as some kind of socialist enterprise.
It is even more silly to suggest that Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Tse Tung sit on the board of directors which shapes the policy that directs the operations of Air Botswana. Even sillier, is the definition which seeks to equate state intervention to socialist enterprise, and by so doing to suggest that business conducted by the capitalist state, represents the same thing as socialist enterprise.
It should be pointed out that the size of Botswana’s economy would most likely rule out Air Botswana as a target for state business except under the conditions referred to in my earlier intervention:-
*protection of the national airline against more vigorous and stifling competition from more monied private and national airlines from abroad,
*security considerations which would seek to protect the leaders of Botswana from murder by the then apartheid regime and enemies of the anti-colonialist movement represented in the Frontline States, the OAU and others.
Even the capitalist state, under the government of the BDP, would have found those to [continue reading]
July 19 2007 at 09:32AM
More than 3,000 striking workers at two mines owned by platinum miner Aquarius Platinum have been dismissed, the firm said on Thursday.
The strike stemmed from demands for a bonus made by employees and followed the dismissal of 108 load-haul dumper operators in May. The rest of the contractor workforce went on a sympathy strike.
In a statement, Aquarius said its primary underground mining contractor at the mines in the country’s North West province – Murray & Roberts Cementation (MRC) – dismissed 3,250 of its employees on Wednesday.
“These employees embarked on an unprotected strike on Sunday evening”, the firm said.
Aquarius said operations at its Kroondal mines were continuing, while operations at its Marikana mine was unaffected.
Kroondal, which is a [continue reading]
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
18 July 2007
Posted to the web 18 July 2007
Scarce building materials, earmarked to rehouse victims of Zimbabwe’s Operation Murambatsvina, have been diverted to other projects, including work on a mansion for President Robert Mugabe in an exclusive suburb of the capital, Harare.
In the winter of 2005, informal homes and markets were demolished in the ZANU-PF government’s Operation Murambatsvina, aimed at clearing slums and flushing out criminals, but which left more than 700,000 people homeless or without a livelihood.
Uprooted families, many of whom are now spending their third winter without adequate housing, were told at the time to return to their rural villages, but many who had nowhere to go, including the descendants of immigrants, were forced into government-sanctioned resettlement camps on the outskirts of urban centres, with no source of employment.
International condemnation followed, and United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka pointed out that the operation breached both national and international human rights law. The government then launched Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Operation Have a Good Life) and committed itself to rebuilding homes and vending stalls.
A visit by an IRIN correspondent to Hopley Farm, a government camp 25km southeast of Harare, for internally displaced people who lost their homes during Operation Murambatsvina, found all construction activities had ground to a halt.
Local government officials responsible for [continue reading]
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
18 July 2007
Posted to the web 18 July 2007
President Festus Mogae has said that the outcome of proposals adopted for the privatisation of Air Botswana will first be taken to Parliament as proposals in the form of a bill. Speaking at the opening of the 32nd Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress, Mogae stated that previous attempts to sell the airline in the past five years have borne no fruit.
“I want to assure the nation that no law will be breached or disregarded in this process,” he said. He added that there is no justification for jumping the gun and stalling negotiations. “Time and tide wait for no man,” said Mogae as he quoted Shakespeare. He took the opportunity to hit back at his critics within the party saying that it was naive and unrealistic for members to speak ill of each other and still win support. He clarified that this does not mean the party and government cannot be criticised.
“It would be inexcusable, in fact intolerable, for any member of our party, however important they may consider themselves to be, to behave like a bull in a china shop and destroy the very policies on which BDP roots are anchored,” he said. He lectured that BDP members had to guard against the the words and opportunities they use to criticise. He said criticism has to be constructive.
Mogae took a swipe at Botswana Congress Party (BCP) for its [continue reading]