Archive for February 2nd, 2008

source: IOL

February 01 2008 at 08:00PM

Botswana’s government and South African power utility Eskom are to meet in Gaborone over growing problems around the development of the 5000 MW Botswana Mmamabula coal and energy project.

“We will be meeting on Monday,” permanent secretary in Botswana’s energy ministry Akolang Tombale said on Friday, as alternative developers started lobbying.

The $13-billion project had snagged over negotiations on the price of the power and in the face of claimed engineering constraints.

Botswana was hoping the project would put an end to a looming power shortage threatening national development plans. South Africa saw it as a major part of the solution to a current power generation crisis.

Botswana would take up to 25 percent of the Mmamabula power, the rest would be pushed into the regional grid for South Africa.

Eskom, embattled as production from [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Herald (Harare)
Published by the government of ZimbabwePosted to the web 1 February 2008

Hatred Zenenga

INDIVIDUALS and companies can, with immediate effect, write cheques of up to a maximum limit of $10 billion, while transactions that go beyond the new threshold will have to go through the Real Time Gross Settlement system, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono announced yesterday.

In a monetary policy statement released to journalists in Harare, Dr Gono said the new cheque limit was aimed at promoting the use of cheques as an alternative means of payment.

Until yesterday, the maximum threshold clearing house limit was $500 million.

The briefing and release of the monetary policy statement to journalists was a departure from the norm where in the past the statement has been made national and broadcast live on radio and television.

When asked why this was the case this time around, Dr Gono said: “We have chosen a low-key presentation of this monetary policy statement for strategic reasons while we prepare for a comprehensive post-elections policy programme.”

He said the central bank also wanted to minimise travelling inconveniences on the majority of stakeholders who are busy outside the capital with other national political programmes.

RBZ, Dr Gono said, would come up with a post-elections monetary policy blueprint that will cover a 24-month recovery programme stretching from May 2008 through to April 2010.

The programme will focus on, among other things, the removal of pricing distortions in such areas as fuel, agricultural inputs and outputs, multiple interest and exchange rates, electricity, water and other municipal and parastatal service charges.

It will also look at the [continue reading]

source: Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

1 February 2008
Posted to the web 1 February 2008

Dumisani Muleya

SENIOR Zanu PF and opposition figures are pressing the ruling party’s politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa to step forward next week to file nomination papers and take President Robert Mugabe head-on in the critical March elections.

The last-minute bid to rope in Dabengwa follows the failure by Zanu PF officials and opposition activists to propel another politburo member Simba Makoni to the front ranks to challenge Mugabe. This leaves Dabengwa with an outside chance of contesting the poll against Mugabe. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is seen as Mugabe’s main rival but some observers think an opportunity presents itself for Dabengwa.

The Makoni bid collapsed before it could even get off the ground largely because of poor strategy and organisation. Makoni, who could not stand the heat in the cauldron of national politics, ended up going to Mugabe to talk himself out of trouble when it became evident the initiative was a stillbirth.

Sources said key members of the Zanu PF faction led by retired army commander Solomon Mujuru and opposition activists are now pushing for a united front of opposition forces led by Dabengwa.

It is understood that Dabengwa is interested in taking up the challenge provided there is a concrete plan on the table. Meetings to stitch up the plan have been held in Harare, Bulawayo and Johannesburg, but no agreement has yet been reached.

The sources said Dabengwa, a veteran of the liberation struggle and former Zapu intelligence chief, told those who approached him that he was not afraid of challenging Mugabe as long as there were structures to support the bid. It is said he indicated that there was a groundswell of discontent in Zanu PF and the initiative could get serious backing if properly planned. [continue reading]