Archive for August 18th, 2007

source: BBC News

Southern African leaders have inaugurated a military standby force to help with peace and security.

It is the first of a number of regional forces on the continent which will act in support of the African Union.

The launch took place at a ceremony in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, the venue for the leaders’ summit which is discussing the crisis in Zimbabwe.

South Africa’s leader is expected to report on efforts to mediate between Zimbabwe’s government and opposition.

President Thabo Mbeki has been trying to facilitate talks between the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Another report is also to be presented in a closed session on how to turn round Zimbabwe’s ailing economy and prevent it affecting the rest of the region.

It is not known whether the reports will be made public after the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit’s closing session.


The BBC’s Peter Biles in Lusaka says the leaders of all 14 southern African countries watched as members of the newly formed brigade put on their first public display.

The idea of a [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
17 August 2007

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday told his counterparts from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that round table talks between Zanu (PF) and the MDC are the next item on the agenda of his slow moving mediation talks.

However, the report on Zimbabwe that Mbeki presented in a closed-door session of the 27th SADC summit in Lusaka on Thursday might not be made public, according to South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad. According to reports, Pahad told journalists in Pretoria, South Africa, that it was up to the leaders to decide what to do with the report – keep it under wraps or make it public. The deputy minister denied that the Mbeki report had laid a substantial share of blame on former colonial power Britain for the situation in Zimbabwe.

The two-day summit ended Friday. Observers were eagerly anticipating word on two reports regarding efforts to resolve the crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe. But as expected, not much information has been available. This is in line with Mbeki’s controversial policy of “quiet diplomacy”.

There are accusations the 14-nation SADC bloc is being too soft on Robert Mugabe. SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao told a news conference on Wednesday the regional group would consider options including a ‘hard line’, ‘quiet diplomacy’ or a ‘different’ method. Salomao presented his report on Zimbabwe’s ailing economy, including a proposed turnaround plan, to the Heads of states.

A source told Newsreel from Lusaka that the Zimbabwean issue had caused so much tension at the summit it had become a divisive subject among delegates. The veil of secrecy surrounding the talks seem to have stemmed from accusations that intelligence officers from Zimbabwe authored and leaked a document purporting to come from Mbeki.

In the document that circulated among delegates, Mbeki blamed the British government for [continue reading]

source: BBC News

Southern African leaders are putting no public pressure on Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe to solve his country’s dire political and economic crises.

After a two-day conference in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, delegates said only that they welcomed “progress” in talks between Zimbabwe’s rival politicians.

The US called on the region’s leaders to “press vigorously” for an end to the country’s “man-made crisis”.

Inflation stands at about 4,500% in Zimbabwe and food shortages are common.

Peace plea

Increasing numbers of Zimbabweans are fleeing to neighbouring countries, leading some analysts to suggest that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit would put pressure on Mr Mugabe.

But the communique issued at the end of the conference made no mention of the country’s economic problems.

Instead, the declaration welcomed efforts by South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between Mr Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

It called on both sides to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

16 August 2007
Posted to the web 17 August 2007

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) last Sunday held the party Secretary General’s strategic retreat at Notwane Farms north of Gaborone.

Following that retreat, BDP executive secretary Dr Comma Serema was reported on Btv indicating that the party has resolved to improve lines of communications with the media, particularly the independent media. We welcome the ruling party’s new vision and the way of doing public business.

This is a welcome development in that the ruling party’s government has always tended to treat the independent media as political adversaries, and at times literally equating them to the opposition. More often than not, the BDP has characterised the independent media as an integral part of the opposition body politic.

On the other hand, we have been at pains to try and ally the ruling party’s fears. It is a generally accepted understanding that any ruling party, anywhere in the world, is bound to attract scrutiny and criticism from the media than the political parties outside power. This is simply because the decisions of a ruling party have direct and immediate impact on the lives of the governed.

As a matter of fact, we have always proudly regarded ourselves as partners in development, together with government. And we take that [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

16 August 2007
Posted to the web 17 August 2007

Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe

The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Ponatshego Kedikilwe joined President Festus Mogae on Monday afternoon to receive representatives of two Indian diamond cutting and coal mining companies at the Office of the President.

Sudir Mehta of Torrent and Dilip Mehta of Rosyblue proceeded to hold talks with other relevant ministries later in the day.

Sudir, whose company is also exploring opportunities of investing in power generation, met with officials of the Botswana Power Corporation. Torrent is keen to mine coal in Botswana mainly for export to India where Sudir says demand is “enormous”.

After the exploratory meetings, Sudhir, who is the Chairman of Torrent, said after learning of Botswana’s vast coal reserves, his company was ready to invest $500 (approximately P3.1 billion) to develop a mine here.

Torrent is currently involved in power distribution in the Indian state of Gujarat where it supplies three cities – Ahme Dabad, Surat and Ghandi Nagar.

“We want to mine coal here and ship it to India where the demand is very high,” Sudir told Mmegi. “We also have a keen interest in generating and distributing electricity in Botswana.

“We are ready to invest at least US$500 million in the project as soon as possible.” Sudir added that Torrent, who are [continue reading]