Archive for March 23rd, 2007

Posted to the site on 23rd March 2007

The Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) says that it has granted the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) a new 15 year service neutral licence.

The new licence marks the transition from the existing licensing framework which makes distinction between the various telecommunications services to a service-neutral structure with the view of accommodating technological convergence. Therefore it will allow BTC to provide, among others, mobile telephony, fixed telephony and internet services under one licence.

It is hoped that the licence will not only address problems associated with blurring distinction between services and technologies but will also facilitate introduction of new services which were otherwise not catered for in the old licensing structure.

Awarding the licence, Mr. Thari G. Pheko, the BTA Chief Executive said, “I expect that BTC has made all the necessary preparations to roll-out new services especially mobile and data for the benefit of communications consumers. I hope with the offering of additional services real competition would emerge in the telecommunications sector and more importantly the lowering of tariffs for the benefit of consumers”.

source: BOPA
23 March, 2007

PARLIAMENT – Parliament has continued being steadfast in its demand to have an oversight function over the Security and Intelligence Services.

Most MPs, who had so far voiced their submissions regarding the Security and Intelligence Services Bill, were in unison that there was need for the Directorate of Intelligence and Services (DIS) to be established, with the only point of departure being on the checks and balances for the spy agency.

Parliamentarians fear is that history was awash with examples of how such an institution had been abused by politicians in power against their opponents, as well as rogue elements within the organisation harassing innocent citizens with the advanced technology at their workplace.

There ought to have been sufficient preparatory work on the role of Parliament regarding this Bill because presently it lacks the minimum standard of accountability and oversight, argued Dumelang Saleshando of Gaborone Central.

He submitted that fears that the intelligence department could be used for political witch-hunting against opponents were not misplaced because it had, on several occasions been alleged to while it was also documented at the National Archives.

Mr Saleshando cited a paper that he said originated from National Archives records, which suggested that in the 1970s, the Botswana Peoples Party, which was then the strongest opposition, was under strict surveillance from the police secret service operatives at the behest of the BDP although they posed no threat to national security.

He also cited recent incidents where it was reported that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
23 March, 2007

The Ministry of Works and Transport is in the process of engaging contractors to carry out repair works on Lecheng-Malaka, Matolwane, Goo Tau-Manaledi, Ratholo-Majwaneng-Moeng and Lerala roads.

Answering a question in Parliament, Minister of Works and Transport, Mrs Lesego Motsumi said on March 1, approval was obtained from the ministerial tender committee to negotiate with Haas Consult to prepare tender documents and supervise the works.

On the Lecheng-Malaka Road and in Matolwane village, Ms Motsumi admitted that there were culverts, which were severely damaged and need repair.

She said the drainage in the village of Lecheng and Malaka needed improvement. In Goo-Tau, she said there were some culverts that discharge water into homesteads and there were some signs of underlying seepage.

The minister said the road in Manaledi was in good condition and it only required bush clearing. She further said the Ratholo-Majwaneng-Moeng Road had severe potholes and thick bush while in Lerala there were some potholes to be patched.

She said the remedial works on all these access roads were planned to be carried out at the [continue reading]

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
March 21, 2007
Posted to the web March 22, 2007

Onalenna Modikwa

The countdown to the Sefhophe by-election this weekend has already begun. If the weekend activities in the dull and sleepy village are anything to go by, then the ruling Botswana Democratic Party looks set to retain the council seat. Not only did the BDP command the largest following in rallies, the divided opposition seems a lost lot even before the campaigns go into second gear.

The BDP has already beaten the opposition in two by-elections this year and looks set to carry the day in Sefhophe. But the situation could have been completely different if a united opposition contests in Sefhophe. In the general election, the BDP won the seat with a slim margin of 14 votes ahead of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). This means the opposition parties have a good chance to get the seat from the BDP if they are united. Last weekend, both BDP and BCP had some of their heavyweights in the area canvassing for votes but [continue reading]