Archive for February, 2008

source: SW Radio Africa

By Tererai Karimakwenda
25 February, 2008

The MDC have reported that incidents of violence and arrests of their candidates, polling agents and supporters have intensified around the country as we get closer to the harmonised elections on March 29th. The latest reports were received from Muzarabani, where on Monday the houses of several MDC activists were burnt down. Exact numbers have not yet been determined. However, it is believed 2 ZANU-PF youths were arrested in the incident.

On Sunday, also in Muzarabani, ward election agent Muchemwa Chihota and MDC activist Munyaradzi Nyama were arrested. It is not clear what they are being charged with but it is believed they held a meeting to discuss election strategies.

Dozens of MDC officials have been arrested around the country for engaging in activities related to the March elections. This includes activities such as conducting private meetings, putting up posters, trying to obtain voter registration details and singing on a MDC campaign music album, all of which are all legal activities.

Luke Tamborinyoka, MDC information and publicity secretary, said: “What is clear here is that ZANU-PF has not changed its spots. ZANU-PF remains ZANU-PF, regardless of the pretense of holding free and fair elections.

Regarding the recent violence and arrests, Tamborinyoka confirmed that [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

THE future of the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) hangs in the balance, even as engagement takes place at the highest political level to save the world’s oldest customs union from collapsing.

Sacu was split last year when Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland broke ranks with SA and signed an interim economic partnership agreement (EPA) that would govern trade with the European Union (EU).

Now, angered by the other members’ decision to initiate the pact, it is feared that SA might use their move as a reason to break up the union.
This would have grave economic implications, especially for Lesotho and Swaziland, which rely heavily on revenues from the customs pool.

It is understood that EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is to meet President Thabo Mbeki this week to discuss [continue reading]

source: The Times (SA)
Sapa Published:Feb 26, 2008

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Southern African Development Community and the European Union was high on the agenda of talks between South Africa and Botswana on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma met her Botswana counterpart Mompati S Merafhe in Kasana, Botswana on Tuesday for a bilateral ministerial meeting, the Botswana Department of Foreign Affairs said in statement.

It said the ministers discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues including the controversial EPA-agreement.

“The ministers acknowledged the urgent challenges that have emanated in the ongoing EPA negotiations… they reiterated their commitment to address these challenges in a [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

26 February 2008

An estimated 6-7% of all foreign tourist arrivals to South Africa in 2007 were made up of business tourists, translating to about 550 000 business tourists compared to 470 000 in 2006, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Meetings Africa Business Tourism Conference in Johannesburg, Van Schalkwyk said this figure was sure to grow even more in the lead-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and that the industry’s vision of doubling this figure in the next three years was “not overly ambitious”.

The estimates are that year-on-year growth in business tourist “bed nights” was around 19% in 2007, following 18% growth in 2006, the minister said.

Business travel – ranging from small meetings and leadership breakaways to major conferences and exhibitions – is a lucrative sector of the market. Business travellers spend on average [continue reading]

The Pain of the Train

source: allAfrica
The Voice (Francistown)

26 February 2008
Posted to the web 26 February 2008

Maphisa Maphisa

Long suffering rail commuters will have to wait even longer as the long disrupted daytime link between Francistown and Gaborone will not reopen anytime soon, Botswana Railways have revealed.

The inter-city service was suspended in October 2006 after a train was derailed in suspicious circumstances at the Madiaela Lands crossing near Palapye. The accident, which is still being investigated by police, caused damage of P4.4 million when the locomotive and six coaches left the track.

Alina Masenya, BR Public Relations Manager, said that the damaged locomotive had been restored to service, but the coaches are still awaiting repair.

“The work cannot be done in-house and we are yet to secure the services of a company that is able to do the job,” Masenya said.

Despite a reported loss in revenue of 8.7%, in figures that compare earnings in a period seven months before and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

This week, the German-based Bertelsmann Foundation released Bertelsmann Transformation Index (“BTI”) Report for 2008, which ranks Botswana at third place in global management and in the top 20 for the country’s “advanced” economy and democracy.

The report, which is released on a biannual basis, is intended to provide a comprehensive view of the status of democracy, governance and socially responsible market economics, as well as the overall quality of political management in non-OECD countries.

The report’s consolidated Management Index is a measure of political leadership and public management in building democratic institutions and sound market economies.

In the Index, Botswana was ranked third out of 125 countries on all continents. First position was taken by Chile, followed by Estonia.

Focus areas falling under [continue reading]

source: IOL

February 25 2008 at 04:13PM

South Africa is to cull elephants for the first time since 1995, lifting a moratorium on the practice to bring ballooning populations under control, the government said on Monday.

“Our Department has recognised the need to maintain culling as a management option, but has taken steps to ensure that this will be the option of last resort that is acceptable only under strict conditions,” Environmental Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said in a statement.

Since the government introduced a moratorium on culling in 1995, the number of elephants rose from about 8 000 to over 20 000, compelling the government to consider culling to halt their unsustainable population growth in game parks.

“The issue of population management has been devilishly complex and we would like to think that we have come up [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

BY BAME PIET
STAFF WRITER

LOBATSE: The High Court was on Friday forced to extend the provisional liquidation of Lobtrans and Lobatse Cash Store (LCS) after the company’s lawyers said they were not prepared to continue with the case.

They said their client had just furnished them with papers on Friday morning in which they oppose liquidation. The case was postponed to April 3 and Justice Ian Kirby advised the parties to file their papers on time. Attorneys for Barclays Bank Botswana who took Lobtrans to court said that they want the joint liquidators to involve creditors. Kirby advised them to make an application to the court so that a decision could be taken.

There have been reports of looting at the Lobtrans compounds in Lobatse and Gaborone.

Lobtrans and LCS were placed under [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Botswana is in a power mess because the country chose to over-rely on cheap imported electricity from South Africa’s Eskom, hindering the country from generating enough power from its resources locally, it has been revealed.

But the honeymoon for cheap electricity bills could soon be over for domestic and commercial users as government moves to correct its decision of over-relying on imports for a long time.

During his roller-coaster crisis meetings with stakeholders, including the press, the business community and legislators in the past few days, the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, took the blame for the current situation.

“I take the blame because I have been part of this government for a long time,” Kedikilwe told [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa

By Tererai Karimakwenda
25 February, 2008

The border towns of Beitbridge and Mussina were buzzing with activity this weekend as Robert Mugabe celebrated his 84th birthday at a lavish party on the Zimbabwe side and youth activists demonstrated against his regime on the South African side.

Nkathazo, a Zimbabwean activist who was at the border taking part in a demonstration organised by the Zimbabwe Revolutionary Youth Movement (ZRYM), said he crossed over to Zimbabwe and back to South Africa easily because of all the traffic. This allowed him to witness events from both sides.

Disturbing reports came from the Zimbabwe side, where many villagers flocked to Mugabe’s birthday party when they heard there was free food. Nkathazo said he saw youth militia forcing people who were [continue reading]

source: BOPA
18 February, 2008
posted on the web: 25.02.2008

GABORONE – President Festus Mogae has already moved to his retirement home in Phakalane two months before his official retirement date.

The president will put the tools down end of March after 10 years of running the country.

The Press Secretary to the President, Dr Jeff Ramsay, confirmed to BOPA that Mr Mogae had moved most of his items to the retirement home situated in the up-market suburbs of Phakalane Golf Estate.

Dr Ramsay said that the president was spending most of his time at the multi million-Pula house.

He said the state house in the meantime was being refurbished for the next president. He said there were a number of defects at state house [continue reading]

Sebetela cheers Goya

source: Mmegi

RYDER GABATHUSE
STAFF WRITER

PALAPYE: It is a cool evening on Saturday February 16 and my clock registers well after 11pm.

The results have just been announced with Moiseraele Master Goya declared the undisputable victor of the re-run of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primaries in Palapye. He had previously won the first round of the primaries before the results were protested.

Despite a warning by the Selebi-Phikwe West MP, Kavis Kario that there should be no celebrations, ululations, dance and song have reached the highest point by now.

The second time loser, Professor Sheila Tlou has just made a speech accepting her loss. “The elections were free and fair and that is what we wanted under [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
24.02.2008 12:22:39 P

Aviva Corporation Limited, the Australia, Botswana and London listed company, gave the markets the much needed cheery saying that its resources at Mmamantswe—near Mochudi—will produce over a billion tones of coal.

The move comes at a time when the southern African region is in dire need of energy to power its economies.
In a statement released to the Australian Stock Exchange recently, the resource find is based on the information compiled by an internationally acclaimed expert based in South Africa.

“The information relating to Mmamantswe resource estimate is based on information compiled by [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

WANETSHA MOSINYI
STAFF WRITER

Botswana’s business community has welcomed South Africa’s Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s R60 billion state vote for Eskom’s R343 billion capital investments over the next five years.

Tebogo Rapitsenyane of BOCCIM says the move breathes confidence into the business community in Botswana as the country largely relies on Eskom for power supply. He was speaking to Business Week after watching Manuel’s presentation of South Africa’s R635 billion 2008/09 budget on television at that country’s High Commission in Gaborone on Wednesday.

However, BOCCIM’s PRO warned that Botswana should not relax but must continue to seek ways of generating its own power supply. “This assures us that at least Eskom will continue to supply us in accordance with what has been agreed,” he said, “but we must not relax because their budget shows that they have injected billions for the development of their economy, therefore their own demand for power is going to increase.”

The CEO of the Botswana Insurance Fund Management (Bifm), Victor Senye, welcomed the [continue reading]

source: IOL

February 24 2008 at 09:45AM

Motorists are facing a record petrol price shock with increases of R1 a litre in prospect within the next two months.

Economists have warned that motorists might have to cough up around R8,50 a litre by April, sparking fears that the country may not be far from paying R10 a litre for fuel.

Four years ago when fuel was hovering at R4 a litre, the Sunday Tribune reported that economists were warning of the R5 a litre barrier being breached because of rising oil prices.

In March 2005, the Tribune raised the likelihood of R7 a litre. Now R10 a litre is fast approaching.

Gloomy expectations of big cost rises ahead were echoed by [continue reading]